Binding a community

Bookbinding is fun, but it can also be a vehicle for community-building and bonding.

Attention kids
I joined The Thistle Bindery for the second “Let’s Bind a Book – Bookbinding for Kids” event on December 6, 2014 at Singapore’s Tampines Regional Library. (The first was hosted by Singapore Science Centre back in July 2014).

It was an afternoon of six free workshops for children: long-stitch bookbinding, kirigami paper cutting, fan book, paper quilling, typewriter taster and little magic book.

We had simplified our projects so that a child, or guardian-child team, can complete them in the one-hour we were each assigned.

Mariko kicks off the first  workshop. Can they stitch? Yes!

Mariko kicks off the day with longstitch binding. Can kids stitch? Yes!

Kim Choo’s Magic Book workshop comes with a magic act. You simply have to be there!

Kim Choo’s Magic Book workshop comes with a magic act. You simply have to be there!

Ian shows everyone the steps to making a kirigami paper cutting.

Ian shows them how to make kirigami papercuts with his templates. The twin-mermaid design was amazing!

Bookbinding craft party

“Let’s Bind a Book – Bookbinding for Kids” is the brainchild of Ian Tan, who runs The Thistle Bindery. Ian works as a conservation architect with the National Heritage Board Singapore by day, but off hours, the Edinburgh-trained bookbinder is a tireless instructor with impeccable organizational skills.

To the iPad generation, a device called a typewriter. Put your finger here, then look there!

To the iPad generation, a device called a typewriter. Put your finger here, then look there!

The set-up includes a small tabletop exhibition where visitors can examine some handmade books (left).

The set-up includes a small tabletop exhibition where visitors can examine some handmade books (left).

We — me,  Ian and fellow bookbinders and paper artists Mariko Watanabe, Shiao Yi Hui, Lim Kim Choo and Priyanka Gupta Sarvaiya, with the support of a group of facilitators — spent a fun-filled afternoon at this lively community “craft party”.

Kids making pleats for their fan books.

Kids making pleats for their fan books. I told them, “Folding is simple, but you have to concentrate!”

Priyanka and her assistants Yu Hang and Sean keep things under control.

Priyanka and her assistants Yu Hang and Sean keep things under control.

Because a variety of activities was going on simultaneously, there was a constant buzz at the foyer of the library.

From what I can see, everybody had a great time.

When we were done and about to leave, this young lady Jivita came up to me and asked, “When are you going to have the next one?”

Determination WILL pay off for this young lady.

Determination WILL pay off for this young lady.

Having made a magic book and tried out the typewriter, this boy was excited beyond words!

Having made a magic book and tried out the typewriter, this boy’s expression says it all.

Look out for future events at The Thistle Bindery.

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