This week I’m trying my hand at traditional bookbinding techniques. This will be quite a challenge for an impatient left-hander who is normally kept well away from the glue gun and glitter!
I have a maxim which has served me well in life: ‘if you say something enough, you start to believe it’. It’s an adage that proved incredibly helpful when I was starting out as a film and video maker a few years ago, because back then I wasn’t a filmmaker, yet I wanted to be. More than that, I wanted to do it as a paying career. So, I started calling myself a filmmaker and video producer, volunteering to shoot stuff for friends and colleagues, for free. 7 years on, and I’ve just sold my successful video production business and am forging out on a journey of novelty and self-discovery, searching for the next activity that I shall claim as my own. My successful video career proved to me once again that almost anything is achievable IF you put your mind to it AND keep doing it and talking about it until you get good at it. Sounds inspiring, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, my favourite adage has a darker reverse side, and many of us fall foul of it. We have a terrible habit of believing what people say about us, even if it has little foundation in fact. Does that sound familiar?
Bookbinding is such a groundbreaking activity for me because if I believed what people said about me, I wouldn’t be stupid enough to attempt it. I am renowned amongst friends and family for being useless with delicate, subtle and crafty activities. I think this was well founded at one point, during my teenage years perhaps, but now? I have no idea, but it doesn’t really matter any more, I’ve heard the story so many times that I, too, subscribe to the notion that I can’t do anything overly handy. This week, that idea goes out of the window. This week, I begin my journey to becoming a master craftsman.
With physical book sales plummeting and the entire publishing industry (except perhaps Amazon and Tesco) in a profit tailspin, learning traditional bookbinding techniques already feels old-fashioned – like going to your local market or smoking a cigarette – yet there are few better feelings than handling and experiencing a truly beautiful book. The question is, am I capable of breaking down a mental barrier and disproving my own propoganda?