The children use traditional Japanese bookmaking techniques to construct and bind their own books. For ages 9 to 13. Plan 2 to 3 sessions.

KEY IDEAS

LANGUAGE

calligraphy, spine, binding

BACKGROUND

In traditional Japanese bookmaking, the hand-decorated covers are joined together by patterns of stitches along the spines, or back edges, of the books. The inside pages are folded to make them double-sided, since the ink that is used for Japanese calligraphy (decorative handwriting) tends to bleed through the paper. The completed books are usually filled with writings, haiku poetry, and paintings.

YOU WILL NEED

For each book

 For each book with a horizontal orientation

For each book with a vertical orientation

For adult use

Note: Using papers patterned by the children will make the books more personal and teach the children a practical application for their artwork. Processes such as stamp printing, marbling, weaving, or paste painting work well.

FIRST/SECOND SESSION

Preparation

How to Begin

Constructing the book

Note: When the glue has dry, have an adult use a hand drill to make holes through the thickness of the assembled books. The holes should be approximately ⅞ to 1 inch from the edge of the spine and ½ to 1½ inches apart. Be sure the holes are large enough for the needles to fit through easily. Once the holes are drilled, it is important that the clamps are not removed until the books have been sewn together.

LAST SESSION

Preparation

How to Begin

Sewing the book

NOTES

LET’S TALK ABOUT OUR WORK

What the children might say…

What you might say…