Handstitched books are rare and have become the domain of connoisseurs or those who can afford the luxury of traditional craftsmanship. The handstitched binding method – also known as Coptic binding or chain stitch binding – was first developed by the early Christians in Egypt as far back as the second century. It is a non-adhesive form of binding in which the book’s spine is exposed and the interior paper and covers are held together by a connected stitch (a chain stitch often used in embroidery).
The beauty of these books cannot be overstated, yet in our modern era they have little more than a cult following. Read on for four reasons why we believe a handstitched, Coptic-bound book should be your next journal purchase!
1. Lay-Flat Binding
Handstitched books are heralded for their ability to lie completely flat when opened. These books can open a full 360° without damaging the spine, giving journal users unhampered access to the entirety of every page; no longer do you need to physically hold down the book with your arm or hand when using it. For this reason, Coptic-bound books are ideal as sketchbooks too. Who wouldn’t want to use a book that gives you complete, unencumbered access to the entire canvas!
2. Durability & Quality
Coptic binding is an age-old technique that remains one of the most durable forms of book binding today. It is quality, laid bare. In fact, the stitching of a finely made Coptic-bound book is likely to hold its pages in place far longer than any modern book-binding method.
3. The Beauty of Fine Craftsmanship
Handstitched, Coptic-bound books are beautiful! They exhibit a handmade look, which is owed to the beauty of the chain stitching and the exposed spine.
Arguably, these details can be appreciated by more than just bookmakers and book lovers.
4. A Connection to History
These books have a key connection to the history of bookmaking. Coptic binding is one of the earliest forms of bookbinding. It was first developed in Egypt in the early second century by the Christian Copts for their own texts and codices. In fact, these original books — of which only a handful have survived to this day — are so important historically because “all subsequent Western decorated leather bindings descend from [them].” The original coptic bindings were comprised of folded sheets of papyrus between wooden covers, with a chain stitch that was adapted from techniques used in carpet making and weaving.
Handstitched books are ideal for anyone who loves the old book arts and for those who love to know how things work.
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Paperblanks sells a range of Handstitched books that can be viewed here.
About Paperblanks: We have been producing superb writing journals for nearly twenty years. We are book people, and we believe that the written word matters and that our blank books have a critical role to play in the art and continued practice of writing itself. For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at paperblanks.com.