200 Books, an Annotated Bibliography
200 Books is an annotated bibliography. Smith talks about how images were made and why he made some of the books, placing them into context of place and his personal experiences. The 200 books are described with over 550 photo illustrations.
Since 1967 Smith has been making books. They range from artist books to poetry, textbooks and dictionaries. He has made over 150 one-of-a-kind artists books, most of which are in his own collection, seen by only a handful of people. Smith has published over two dozen small editioned artists books and book-length poems and written ten small dictionaries to aid structure and vocabulary in his poetry. The only books to have widespread distribution are his eight books-on-books: Structure of the Visual Book, Text in the Book Format, Bookbinding for Book Artists and the five volumes of Non-Adhesive Binding: Books without Paste or Glue, 1- 2- & 3-Section Sewings, Exposed Spine Sewings, Smith's Sewing Single Sheets and Quick Leather Bindings.
This new hard cover bibliography gives a good view of all 200 books Smith made up to May 2000. As well as autobiographical, it technically describes various printmaking techniques he used in imaging some of his books.
Bookbinding for Book Artists
by Keith A. Smith and Fred Jordan
Bookbinding for Book Artists presents a simple approach to binding a book in cloth or leather. It eliminates the skill required to pare leather or to sew endbands.
Household tools are substituted for traditional binding equipment. Instructions for making a simple book press are included.
Three bindings are described in detail:
- Pamphlet Binding with Boards gives a substantial presentation of a book with only four to 32 pages. This hard cover book is presented as quarter cloth, half or full cloth. It is described both with the end sheets as paste-down, as well as exposed cloth hinges on the inside of the boards. This binding gives a substantial presentation for small projects.
- Flat Back is ideal for medium size projects. Shown as sewn onto tapes, it gives a book of 24 to 100 pages. It is most commonly used binding for hard cover artists books.
- Tight Back and the Hollow Back variation are presented as leather bound books, rounded and backed. This gives an arch which structurally allows a book to be bound with hundreds of pages. Yet, this elegant binding can have as few as 32 pages.
Volume I Non-Adhesive Binding:
Books Without Paste or Glue
Volume I is not only about how to bind a book, the first part of this text is about developing an approach to binding. Sewing a blank book or rebinding an existing one differs from creating a book of text and/or pictures. Here, binding should not be an afterthought but an integral part of the statement.
Volume I is an introduction to hand binding:
- Paper, grain, folding, cutting, tearing, marking and piercing sewing stations are explained.
- Folding down sections for a varying number of pages is diagrammed, as well as imposition of page numbers.
- Thread, knots and stitches, and simple tools are covered.
PART 2 of the book gives detailed written instructions for 33 simple to complex bindings, (2), (3), (4), (5). The procedures are also presented as 350 drawings, elaborately diagrammed step by step. In addition, this is followed by a condensed outline of the procedures. All sewings require only needle thread and scissors.
PART 3 describes covers, tape supports, interlocking tabs, turns-in and spine-pleats.
PART 4 contains the references, including a Glossary of Terms, Notes, Index of Terms and Reference of Photographic Illustrations.
Volume I has 137 photographic reproductions of bindings by 37 contemporary bookbinders.
Volume II Non-Adhesive Binding:
1-2- & 3-Section Sewings
This is a thorough text for sewing one, two, or three sections onto continuous support paper or vellum covers. The sewing path of each book creates a decorative sewing on the spine. Described by text, diagrams and photographs, almost all of the 122 sewings were devised as the book was written. In addition, there are 42 photographs of bindings by 22 contemporary binders.
Volume II is a veritable encyclopedia to browse and to choose which bindings to try next. These booklets are ideal for many projects by book artists and calligraphers. Whereas multi-section sewings in Volume III, giving several hundred pages, might not be appropriate for a smaller project. Like the earlier Books without Paste or Glue, Non-Adhesive Binding, Volume I, these sewings require no equipment, only a needle, thread and scissors.
- 1-Section Sewings: These booklets of four to thirty-two pages may have endsheets as part of the sewing.
- 2-Section Sewings: Some booklets have too many pages for a single section sewing. In the past, my books with over thirty-two pages but less than seventy were limited to the traditional 2-section pamphlet sewing. That is why I devised these sewings.
- 3-Section Sewings: Possibilities of design of the sewing pattern on the spine expands with three sections.
Volume III Non-Adhesive Binding:
Exposed Spine Sewings
Part 1 is devoted to diagramming various true and false kettle and link stitches. Since the sewings in Part 2 require a sewing frame, three are diagrammed, in case you do not wish to invest in the expense of buying a sewing frame. One frame illustrated can be constructed easily for under $15 in supplies. It requires no skill to build, and requires only a drill and screwdriver. This frame utilizes carriage bolts for an adjustable crossbar.
Part 1 introduces how to use the sewing frame, how to round, to pack, and dying of cords and thread.
Part 2 is variations on raised support sewings, described by text, diagrams and photographs. Some employ the kettle stitch as changeover. Other means of changeover are explored, including packing, and endbands as changeover.
Part 3 demonstrates simple to very elaborate sewings, across, rather than along the spine. These require no equipment or sewing frame, only a needle, thread and scissors. Included are traditional sewings: the Butterfly; three 1-needle Coptic sewings, and five 2-needle Coptic sewings, as well as the Greek Sewing. Also are newly described sewings: the Caterpillar, Celtic Weave, Centipede, others.
The book also contains photographs of bindings by various contemporary binders.
Volume IV Non-Adhesive Binding:
Smith's Sewing Single Sheets
Smith's Sewing Single Sheets is his fourth book on non-adhesive binding. These sewings can be used to bind single sheets of paper, board, plexiglass or even metal. The bindings open flat to any page, unlike traditional post-bindings and stab bindings commonly used to bind single sheets.
This attribute makes handsome and functional albums for photographs. Smith devised these sewings to make one-of-a-kind artists books from large inkjet prints.
Several Coptic sewings are described, two raised cord sewings are diagrammed as well as an example of sewing onto tapes. In each, the book block can be single sheets, or a combination of sections and sheets.
Pasting and gluing for covering the separate side-covers are described.
There are 111 drawn diagrams plus 179 photographs of books by contemporary book artists and binders.
Volume V Non-Adhesive Binding:
Quick Leather Bindings
All the bindings in Volume V are hard cover quarter leather. Leather bindings have been something I have always admired but did not have the skill or patience to do properly. Bookbinding for Book Artists substituted household tools for all the traditional tools and equipment found in a bindery. This makes leather binding cheaper, but not easier and certainly not quicker.
With Quick Leather Bindings I have eliminated all the unnecessary steps found in the earlier book. Those steps that could not be eliminated were simplified:
- No equipment is used.
- Tools are limited to needle and thread, scissors, bone folder, X-Acto™ knife and metal straightedge.
- Leather on the spine is limited to quarter leather to eliminate the messy process of trying to fold leather around the corners of the boards at the foredge.
- All use of glue and paste is eliminated. This saves time, eliminating weights and waits.
are finished before the book block is sewn to it.
Some of the bindings described contain a book block of a single section or signature. A 2-section book block can have from 4 to 48 pages. All the sewings can be quarter cloth if you prefer not to use leathers.
The New Structure of the Visual Book
(with 200 more pages)
The Expanded Fourth Edition, 2003, of Structure of the Visual Book has been almost doubled in size to 432 pages. More than a revision, this is almost a new book within the previous. There are several new chapters. One is a 19 page essay on the books by Nathan Lyons. Sequence is discussed and illustrated through 16 photos from Lyons' books.
The new fourth edition of Structure of the Visual Book has over 450 photographs of artists books from 148 contemporary book artists from around the world.
It is an approach that conceives the book as a visual object not by imposed decoration, but through understanding and applying structure. Group, series and sequence are elaborately discussed and diagrammed.
The New Text in the Book Format
Structure of the Visual Book introduces strategies for organizing pictures in the book format. Text in the Book Format extends these ideas for the writer and artist working with words and pages. This book is not about binding, computers, design, typography or the history of books, but the possibilities of conceiving text which utilizes the format not to distract, but assist the written word.
Text in the Book Format examines the possibilities of conceiving text which utilizes the format to assist the written word. By considering the physicality of the book and the turning pages, text becomes a book experience, rather than a running manuscript. Text ideas are illustrated with diagrams as well as photo reprod uctions of books as examples.
The book format is movement. Rhythms of syllables and moving pictures of implied imagery flowing within text is akin to music and cinema. Events depicted in writing unfold through time in space, alongside the physical act of turning pages.
Awareness of space of the page, and composing the pages as well as the text, revolutionizes writing styles because it is a departure from the concept of seamlessly writing a running manuscript. The writer can take into consideration the demands and opportunities of the multiple page format.
Pacing of the book is the synchronization or syncopation of the content with turning pages. In this manner the format can reinforce and even speak aside from the text. Writing specifically for the book format, as opposed to the single sheet format, brings to the reader a book experience.