Browsing Tag



Book – The Maker ‘Beyond decorating: crafting a unique space’

24 augustus 2016
Prien about the book The Maker by Tamara Maynes

The technical aspects of the book
‘The maker – beyond decorating: crafting a unique space’ is a beautiful book in several ways. It caught my eye because of the unique design. One corner is rounded, just one and that makes you looking at it and want to take a closer look. The binding is worth watching. The spine of the book is covered with black bookbinderslinen and the cover is layered with a printed front, a very thick through and through black cardboard, followed by a flyleaf. The title has been printed in gold, so it is an eye catcher. The book is pretty thick, almost 3,5 cm, counting 274 pages and thence a bit heavy. One disadvantage is the fact that the book doesn’t open easily and the pages won’t remain open, you have to handle the book with two hands. The straight glued back, covered with black cardboard is the cause of this problem – sometimes the looks just win from the practical use -. Editorial and publishing consultant Tracy Lines is the designer of this special book. She is book lover who publishes and designs books.

About the writer
Tamara Maynes, the writer of ‘The Maker’ is a maker herself, but she is also a stylist and the creative director of The Esthablishment Studios in Melbourne. She worked at this marvelous book for almost seven years. It morphed from a simple book of crafts into an ode to craftsmen and the process of making craft. This versatile lady does not only make books, but she is also a maker herself. Raw materials and their capabilities are her inspiration and she has a special fondness for macrame and embroidery

The Content of ‘The Maker’
It’s a book about craft, but not as you know it! Craft is a fashionable concept these days. It’s all about craft. People are knitting, sewing, weaving, printing like crazy these days, but there is craft and craft. Craft that excites us must have a special magic, a level of skill or expertise that truly stands out. In ‘The Maker’ Australia’s most talented craftspeople get their stage, but the book also contains craft projects designed by Tamara Maynes, to try yourself.
Chapter three gives a preview about what to expect; applique, basketry, ceramics, chair caning, embroidery, fabric dying & printing, felting, glass blowing, knitting, leaded glasswork, leatherwork. macramé, metalwork, papercraft, quilting & patchwork, rug hooking, sculpture, shade making, tapestry weaving, upholstery, willow bending, wirework and last but not least woodwork. So quite an enumaretion. I just can recommend to explore this gadget yourself. Enjoy!

Prien about the book The Maker by Tamara Maynes

Prien about the book The Maker by Tamara Maynes.

Bookbinding Inspiration

Masterclass Leather Decoration

18 juni 2015
Prien working with suede workshop Elbel2

Weeks ago I took a masterclass Leather Decoration from Benjamin Elbel. It was such a great course and I wanted to tell you all about it weeks ago … but time was flying sooo fast ….

It was a two day masterclass. The first day we prepared the leather and the second day we made a cover for a notebook with one of the finished pieces of leather.

We started with a thin piece of suede and tissue paper. After pressing and drying we sanded and sanded the layers until we were satisfied with the result. You can play with the color of the suede, the color of the tissue paper and the patterns you press in the layers. Also the way and the duration of sanding gives an extra effect. At the end of the day we put our drudgery in the press and we went home with a head spinning of ideas.


The second day we peeled the suede from the cardboard, it felt smooth, thin and easy to handle. Benjamin had asked us to bring a notebook as a base for a book wrap. After a day of hard work, lots of measuring and of course a lot of fun, we finished our book wraps. I am really happy with mine, I love the color, texture and I will make a bunch of refills, so I can use the wrap forever.
Working with leather and suede is new for me, and I really love it! I bought some leather and suede and at the moment I am working on a new product line. Just follow my blogs, newsletters, Facebook or Instagram for updates.

Prien’s Diary

19 januari 2015
Prien diary_nieuw

Looking for a structured live, an empty head, and just happy thoughts. A diary might help!

An old fashioned diary, for all your (secret) thoughts, ideas, dreams, jokes, sorrows and unforgettable memories. Sometimes when you write, your subconsciousness just runs off, and your hand keeps writing the most beautiful unexpected ideas.

A diary is not only for writing, you can also draw and sketch in it. Sometimes an image can say more than a thousand words, or your words need some visual back-up.

In these days of computers, mobile phones, tablets and all kind of other digital stuff, it is sometimes nice to use pen and paper. Just slow down, and pay real attention to what your are doing.
You can use your diary in so many ways:
– be a diva
– write down all your twisted ideas
– create your own perfect dream world
– see it as your best friend ever
– hide your deepest sorrow
– build your private castle in the air
– use it as a treasury for the small things in life
– speak with your senses; feel/smell/see/hear with words

How do you use your diary and what does it mean for you?
Please let me know …
Have fun writing!

ps. Prien has a diary in the shop at the moment. This one is faded green, with dots. If you are not a
fan of green, or dots and you are looking for your perfect diary, please contact me for the


The grain of paper

27 oktober 2014

After years of bookbinding, often I am still confused by the grain of paper. Today I was at war with my paper again while making business cards. I have this beautiful flyleaf paper, white with a linen finishing, very cool paper, but much to thin for business cards. So I decided to glue this paper on both sides of a sheet of 250 grams A4. To prevent this new formed thick sheet from warping, the grains had to match … so thinking, folding, doubting and to be sure … reading … So this is a refreshment for me … maybe it is convenient for you as well …

The grain of the paper is important for

  • The final fold of your booklet. You want the page to curl from side to side, so you can easily turn the pages and the book opens flat.
  • Prevention of warping. You don’t want your booklet to end up with warped covers.
  • Creating crisp, even folds and prevent cracking.
It is always easy to work with handmade paper. The pulp is allowed to settle randomly, so the fibers are multi-directional. Unfortunately you often don’t have the luxury to work with this kind of paper, so you have to determine the grain of the mass-produced paper. In the mechanical process, the water flows across the surface in one direction, so the fibers get their grain.
Ideally the grain of the paper and the boards of the side-covers always run parallel with the spine of the book. Keith Smith has a very simple example to clarify the direction of grain; a sushi mat. The direction of the wooden sticks represents the direction of the grain in paper or book board. Just as the mat rolls easily in one direction, so does paper. As a true sushi lover I certainly will remember this one 🙂
Unfortunately you need some more info to determine the grain direction. Grain runs parallel with the direction of the paper in which there is less resistance to folding. If you can’t determine the resistance by folding you can dampen a little piece of paper. It will curl immediately, the axis of the curl is parallel with the grain. The curl shows the direction the paper should be folded.

To prevent warping it is important that the grain of the flyleaf and the book board are identical. Book board is easy to test. Just bend a full sheet, the board will flex more easily in the direction that is parallel with the grain. Since it is very difficult to determine the grain for small parts of cardboard, make sure you put lines on the big sheet, so you can always see the grain at the small parts later on.

Besides paper and cardboard, book cloth also has a grain. This grain is typically parallel to the selvage or outer edge of the cloth. This is often very confusing, because when you buy book cloth it is typically rolled cross-grain. So be careful with that one!
One basic rule you can always remember is that the grain usually runs parallel to the long side of the sheet … although not always … so remain wary 🙂
More tricks & tips are always welcome, so please don’t hesitate to make a comment!

Watch Case

13 oktober 2014

As a bookbinder your basic materials are cardboard, bookbinders linen and glue … perfect ingredients for other projects, such as a watch case.

Commissioned by Fitzory & Everest, Prien remodeled an antique English briefcase into a luxurious watch case. The leather suitcase forms the perfect basis for the suede framework and cushions. Since the suitcase was pretty lopsided every side had to be measured and glued separately. A challeging job, done in several days last summer.

It is nice to have such different assignments. Figuring out the best way to fulfill the project, thinking, drawing and discussing the possibilities with your client, that’s what makes my job the best of the world!

Watch Case by Prien

Prien Personalized Family History

29 september 2014

At the Utrechtse Fabriek, an outside market in the Griftpark in Utrecht, I met someone who wrote down his family history and was looking for a method to print and bind his story. We had a nice conversation about your own history and its imagery. The changes in the world per generation are enormous. When you were born at the beginning of the 20th century you were the lucky one to witness the change from a barely industrialized world to the computerized world of today. Can you imagine your house without a fridge, a vacuum cleaner … or computer …

My client described the impact of those world changing inventions for his family, intertwined with personal events. Interesting to read, and supported with pictures that give a good image of the era.
The text had been written in Word, without taking the bind method into account. In InDesign I edited this text and images to printable sections.

The sections were sewn and bound in a multi-section case binding, so the booklet is strong and durable. This binding method has the advantage of lying flat when opened. The sewn signatures were bound in a hard covered board-bases case. The simple linen structured endpapers attach the book block to the case.

The client designed the cover and I just printed it and laminated the paper with a mat soft finishing. This extra layer protects the cover from stains and minor damage.

Working in close cooperation with your client is one of the things I like most in my work, especially when you receive a very nice message afterwards! My client was really happy with the result, and is already working on his next booklet. I am looking forward to a new cooperation!

Looking for a special way to save your text or photo’s, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Prien Boekje Familiegeschiedenis


 Prien Boekje Familiegeschiedenis



 Prien bokje familiegeschiedenis



Fine Binding

28 juli 2014

France France France … here I come … even twice this week 🙂 Lille is on my agenda for Tuesday and Paris for the weekend … could be worse 🙂 So with France in my head, today a binding method called Franse Binding (French Binding) in Dutch. The exact English verb is not easy to find, perhaps Fine Binding – if someone can help me with it …..?

Binding method
The Fine Binding method has been in use since the 18th century. For bookbinders this is one of the most beautiful ways to create a book. You can recognize this method by the spine cover, which is not attached to the spine and the visible lack of the board edge. If there are raised bands, they are most of the time false, the headband, on the other hand, is always hand embroidered, so not false at all.
The advantage of the unattached spine cover is that the precious decoration of the spine – usually gold leaf – is protected, because the spine cover doesn’t move when one opens the book and therefore it will keep its shape.

In practise
A lot of bookbinding skills are required to make a beautiful correct Fine Binding. Somewhere at the internet I read that an experienced bookbinder works for at least twelve hours at this binding. The steps in making such a book are:
– folding the sections and endpapers
– glue, trim, round, abpress and glue the book block
– creating the covers
– board lacing
– embroider headband
– prepare the cover material
– tie up for the fake raised bands
– apply flush joint
As you can see making such a book is a lot of work and therefore almost priceless. Since we don’t have the habit of using gold leaf at the covers and spines of our books, one of the biggest advantages of the Fine Binding became superfluous. Of course it is fun to maintain the craft is this bookbinding method, so I made one … once .. but learned a lot of it and I can use some of the tricks a learned for other books or possible new ways to bind books …

Prien Franse Binding
Prien Franse Binding



Another Guestbook

23 juli 2014

Guestbooks are not exclusively connected to weddings … they also fit well on other occasions, such as an official opening of a foundation. One of the board members of Stichting Zorg en Onderwijs Nu wanted to give her foundation a present that would last for a long time and that was also a present for the kids they represent. Together we developed a guestbook with blank pages of thick off-white paper, suitable for writing or drawing. It had to be a sturdy book that could withstand some rough handling.

The foundation’s logo is brightly colored and was an excellent starting point for the cover.
I bound the book in a traditional sturdy multi-section-case-binding, with the advantage of lying flat when opened. To accentuate the bright colors, I used red yarn for the sewing. For extra strenght the corners of the book have been provided with an extra layer book binders linen.

I love making personalized guestbooks! It is always a pleasure to develop a unique book together with a client. There are so many opportunities to give or use a book that has been made for that particular situation. Every person or occasion has it own story, and that is what makes it interesting: Matching the product with the occasion according to the wishes of the client. 



Prien’s Personalized Guestbook

16 juli 2014

Spring and the beginning of the summer means Wedding Season … so I am and have been quite busy making wedding booklets and guestbooks. As you already know it has been quite hectic, so I haven’t show you much of my work lately, but I didn’t want you to miss out on this special one.

In June Jan & Inge asked for a personalized guestbook for their special day. In close consultation we designed a beautiful A4 guestbook. Both the inside and the outside have been personalized. The book contains 70 pages with 204 squares for personal messages and some nice doodles at the bottom. These small drawings from Jan & Inge reflect their lives and personality. The doodles of the bikes have been chosen for the cover as well.

The book has been bound  in a multi-section case-binding, so it is strong and durable. It method also has the advantage of lying flat when opened, so it is easy to write in. The sections are sewn together and case-bound into a hard cloth-covered board-based case, with endpapers used to attach the book block to the case.

This is just one of the countless opportunities. You can always contact me if you have specific wishes or ideas for a special book.

Prien Personalized Guestbook - cover
Prien Personalized Guestbook - cover


Prien Personalized Guestbook - cover




4 May – Remembrance Day

5 mei 2014

May 4th, a day to remember … a day for remembrance. This day commemorates all civilians and members of armed forces of The Netherlands who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II. In Rotterdam mayor Aboutaleb together with prime minister Rutte were present at the Remembrance Ceremony in Crooswijk. Under the leadership of the ZangExpress, children of the Bavokring sang a song and handed over poems they wrote about Remembrance Day.

Prien has been commisioned by the ZangExpress to bind those poems into a booklet. It was such a nice assignment. The poems were really beautiful, some made me think, other made me laugh. I gathered some lines that stood out (in Dutch):

Vrijheid is vrij zijn
Vrijheid is blij zijn
vrijheid is voor ieder één
Vrijheid is vrij zijn van de oorlog
iedereen mag vrij zijn
of je nou: turks, marokaans, afrikaans
antilliaans, surinaams, of chinees bent.
We zijn nu vrij
dat maakt iedereen
blij. Zo moet het zijn.
Ik heb een wens
voor de vrede. De mensen hebben
voor elkaar respect.
Zonder vrijheid geen blijheid
gelukkig is de oorlog voorbij
Voor al die mensen die ons hebben gered
wij allemaal vinden jullie een held
Hitler hij deed erge dingen voor mensen
en hij droeg geen lenzen. Als hij dat zag
moest hij zien wat hij met de menshijd deed

Thank you very much for your poems and stories: Nurya, Cairo & Rohit, Dilda, Bafode & Jaden, Esmagül, Aymane & Volkan, Rana, Sara, Imane, Vanadil, Ilyas, Jamel, Bilal, Oguzhan, Moga,Thijmen, Kayra, Trishana.
Mark Rutte en Aboutaleb met ZangExpress boekje van Prien