Charitable Bookbinding Event

bookbinding for charity

Right to left, Julie, Susan, JoAnn and Laura sewing up a storm

This March an online group I’m a part of, the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team (or B.E.S.T.) is hosting a drive to create handmade journals for the non profit organization, Chicago Books to Women in Prison. The benefits of journaling, putting your thoughts down on paper, has obvious benefit for women spending time  in prison (actually, I think it’s great for everyone, not only the incarcerated) but as many of the incoming journals were hard cover, many journal covers had to be ripped off in order to meet prison standards, and who wants to write in a journal with the cover torn off?

The guidelines for the project were:

– no hard covers
– no metal bindings such as spiral bindings
– no plastic comb bindings

Always up for a challenge, especially when the happy side effect is being able to donate books to a great cause, I organized several of my ace bookbinding students to get together for a bookbinding bee where we turned  1,500 sheets of paper into soft cover journals!

finished books

Finished softcover 8.5x11" journals

– I provided the paper which I purchased from Limited Papers, a well stocked bulk paper supplier right here in the Northeast – I got reams of linen Via paper in ecru and white, and a neat recycled paper by Genesis called Milkweed that had little flecks in it. My participants brought all of the cover sheets, cut down to 8.5×11″ and we sewed lots of books!  Great job everyone!

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» Blog Archive » Crafting for a Cause

[…] Even if you’re an experienced binder, consider using the tutorials (or your own know how) to teach friends and family to make books to contribute. BEST member Ruth Bleakley has a wonderful write up of the CBWP binding event that she held earlier this month, check out her blog for details and ideas! […]


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