Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bookbinding for Beginners - 3

by Florence O. Bean - Assistant in Manual Arts - Boston Public Schools

Materials Introduction

Among the various materials which lend themselves readily to a manual training course with large classes are those of the bookbinders' craft. They are inexpensive, easily handled, and require no tools or equipment that cannot be used in an ordinary class-room. The operations necessary in the use of these materials not only give excellent training in manual dexterity, but present remarkable opportunities for the practical application of studies in proportion, space division, color, lettering and applied design.

The craft itself is one that comes in touch with everyday life and any skill acquired in the use of these materials is of permanent value. The lessons to be outlined in the following series presuppose some instruction in paper-folding, cardboard construction, and simple mechanical drawing. Though desirable, this is not essential. While in some ways better suited to the middle grades of the elementary schools, selection may be made from the lessons here outlined which will give excellent training to the upper grades in those schools where the curriculum does not include shop-work, cooking, or sewing. To secure this flexibility of the course, each problem is outlined in several ways, with varying degrees of difficulty. The selection should depend upon the grade in which it is to be given. Some of the more dexterous pupils may be able to work out a problem in several ways.

In each lesson outlined, there is a chance for the exercise of individuality in the details of the model as to size, shape, decoration, and color. Concerning choice of material, it seems wiser that this should be exercised by the teacher or supervisor rather than by the pupil.

The object of the course is educational, not industrial, therefore, those methods which stimulate inventiveness, ability to plan simple work, and dependence oil one's own initiative are most desirable. The directions given under each problem have been so worded that they call for the greatest amount of thought and initiative on the part of the worker. The use of such instruction develops power to think, to plan constructive work and to carry it to completion. At first, it may be necessary for the teacher to elaborate some points especially in connection with the working drawings or sketches, but after a little training, each pupil should be able to layout and cut all parts from his own drawings; as the work progresses, he should depend less and less upon the teacher's assistance in making; his plans.

High standards of work and correct processes should always be set before the pupil, and these are best assured by the teacher becoming thoroughly conversant not only with the general construction of an article to be made, but with the best methods of securing neat and accurate results. Eventually, the pupil's mental attainments will show in the tangible work of his hands.

Two hours each week for one school year may profitably be devoted to this work. It is advised that in the intermediate grades no attempt be made to sew a book on a frame, nor more than one book without a frame. In the upper grades some of the easier problems should be omitted.

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