Friday, June 5, 2009

Red & Black Oriental Coptic Stitch

A while back, I made an oriental journal, the cover was using what I called the 'Louis Vuitton paper' because the pattern reminded me of one of their handbags. I quite liked that book and saved a bit of the paper to make another version.. supposedly... but it never happened, it went into one of the bookmaking kits instead. But I still wanted to make another red and black book with the chinese coins, and decided to use the black Indian paper with the silver leaves print.

It's been a while since I last did a coptic binding, over a year I think and figured I better make one to add into my library. My intention was to have at least one book per binding style in my collection. I may not necessarily keep this book, if somebody out there wants it, it is always up for sale.

Like all handmade paper this particular Indian paper the leaf print had an imperfection. Some times we get lucky, other times we might not. To echo the red ribbon that tied the chinese coins in front, I added a strip of red on the back cover. I like how it's horizontal on the back and vertical on the front.

In feng shui belief, tying three chinese coins together will bring wealth or money luck. You can have in in your wallet, taped onto the cash register or cash box, even your book of appointments and accounts. Click on the link if you want to read more about the different types of chinese coins. Contact me if you want to get some for your wallet ;-p

I'm not too sure what feng shui say about the red and black combo...

The end paper I used for the inside cover is black with gold speckles. I like this paper, and the place where I normally get them I notice is running low and I don't think there're getting any more in, some of the other colours are all gone already. That's ok, it just adds on the uniqueness and limited edition of the book, one of one. I like how the tied up coins float in the middle of the window like that. The red black pages are slightly thicker than the ones I normally use.

Coptic binding was developed by the Copts in Egypt in the early 2nd Century to the 11th Century. In the world there are about just over 100 original complete coptic bound books from that era. All we can do is try to mimic the style. 

The characteristic of a coptic binding is that the sections are sewn through their folds and attached to each other with a chain link stitching across the spine. The good thing about coptic is that you can open the pages flat, 180 degrees, just like a long stitch. The covers are two seperate pieces, which is easier to cover and you can do things to it and jazz it up any way how before you bind the book. How long it takes to bind using the coptic method depends on how many stations (holes) you have and how you arrange it. One day I'll do the woven spine decoration one, right now I'm pretty happy with this, until the next book I make.


  1. I like this book very much, esp. the coins in the window... any chance of securing some lucky coins for my wallet? =)
    hope to get to the post office tomorrow morning... will let you know when i have been...

  2. I never fail to be impressed by the beauty and preciseness (is that a word) of your work. Astounding. And how on earth did you find the time to do this with all that is going on?
    You must be getting so very excited!!!

  3. Rozi rozi...i want i want... hehehe
    Lawaaaa i love the colours combination and i love the chinese coins...

  4. Sen: Will send some over, as soon as I get your package together...

    Doda: Heheheh, the book was made way ages ago. I just never gotten around to posting it.

    Syazlie: I know you do ;-)

  5. i really like the coins, too. i love how you made this book but it looks like it was manufactured in the factories or something. WOW!

  6. Thanks Anon, I impose strict quality control on my work. If it's below par, I won't sell it. It get given away instead to whomever is lucky enough to happen to be at my studio when I happen to clean out the place.


Love to hear any feedbacks so I can keep on improving my work...


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