"The Path To Mastery" - How Everything Started

“The Path To Mastery” - How Everything Started

In 2020 I decided to move to Prague, Czech Republic, to start a new opportunity in my career as a Software Engineer. I was already living in Poland for three years, and the move meant a new beginning: alone again, in a new country, starting a new job. The relocation went very smoothly, but little did I know that, just three days later, Europe would begin its first COVID lockdown.

Months passed, and solitude struck very hard. Therefore, it was the right time to start a new hobby. The timing was perfect: alone, bored and stuck inside my apartment. Youtube recommended me a video from a famous bookbinder called Stopan, where he was binding a small leather notebook. When I watched the video, my first reaction was, “that’s it!”. I always loved books - not only to read them but also to collect them. A beautiful book always caught my attention. In Brazil, I built a tiny library in my mother’s house with around 300 books, some coffee machines and everything I could have in that small room to celebrate books and the act of reading them.

But bookbinding was new to me. Somehow, I never stopped to think about it. I just knew I love books and to collect them. So when I watched that video, a spark shone inside of me. Of all the hobbies I’ve tried in my life (and I tried many!), this one had a different feeling. I should give it a try.

But how to start?

I then started that “delicious” phase of paralysis analysis, where you have all the information in the palm of your hands but don’t know how or where to start. This problem was solved when I found the channel Das Bookbinding and decided to simplify things: stop searching for new material and start doing some of this guy’s tutorials.

I bought a started kit for bookbinding from a website called Schmedt and started following Mr Darryn’s tutorials. I started with a simple pamphlet and then jumped to the Coptic Sewn Journal and the “Secret Belgium” binding.

To summarise, I’ve started following Das Bookbinding’s tutorials on weekends without putting too much pressure on them. I have hyper-focus problems, so I didn’t want to burn out or get frustrated. All the experience with previous hobbies taught me this valuable lesson: some things you can’t rush!

In 2021 I decided to go back to Poland. During the relocation process (which lasted around eight months), I put bookbinding aside and didn’t do any project (at least, I can’t remember anything significant now). But after I relocated and settled in the new house, I decided to resume my learning and do more projects. Below are some photos of the projects I’ve recently tried. Keep in mind that my main focus with them was to improve my technique and finally start more elaborated projects.

This was an attempt to rebind transform a paperback into a hardcover. I also created a clamshell box for it, so I could learn how to create these boxes for rare books.

Here is a book I printed and created the whole binding from scratch. For the cover I used blue goatskin leather and a marbled paper from a book of papers I bought some time ago. I trimmed the edges with a plough and sprinkled it with blue acrylic paint.

In the next posts, I will post about tools I’ve recently acquired and specific books, with photos of the whole process from start to finish.

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