originality in binding

I wanted to write a little bit about originality. The topic came up on a discussion group I’m in because someone made a book with an unusual cover and someone else asked a related question using a related material. In this case the book was made with a cassette tape cover and the question was if one could use the actual tape to bind a book. Someone in the group responded immediately with the response of “Don’t make a cassette tape book, someone else in this group is already making one.”

First off I think the purpose of being in a group online is to gain ideas, learn new techniques and for inspiration. This person became INSPIRED by the previous poster’s materials and was using that as a springboard for their inspiration; in my mind exactly why one might join a group. Secondly, in terms of originality, we’re talking about a centuries old art/craft that is gaining a revival but that means that in some terms it’s all been done before. This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen a cassette tape book and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It’s been done before but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done again in a new and original way. In this case- the 2 halves of the cassette were taken apart, attached to board and decorations placed on the board, original.

If I got my undies in a knot every time I saw a limp leather long stitch book, my feet wouldn’t have any circulation; ya know what I’m saying?  The simple fact is that when working with a centuries old art/craft you can’t get upset when you see something similar on the net. I’ve been putting my work online for over 6 years now and I’ve seen blatant rip offs of my patterns and designs, and I get pissed momentarily and realize that’s the permeability of the web, one of it’s great features. If I don’t want someone ripping off my design I shouldn’t put them up on the ‘net.  When I gain inspiration from someone I try and give them credit and I think that’s simply courtesy.

My main point is here is that bookbinding is a centuries old art/craft and essentially with the exception of a small handful of us, it’s all been done before. Even if you’re attaching something unusual to the covers of a book it’s been done. So can we all untwist our undies and get back to making and enjoying books?