Way back in 2013 I experimented with using embroidered wax and tar paper (and vintage book illustrations) on the covers of a crossed structure binding. I was thrilled with the book and wanted to keep it, but also see how it handles use in the long term. In situations like these I turn to the more prolific author of our household and have V to use the books I make. This way I get to see how my experiments look after some heavy-duty use, and I get to look at them any time I want. I admit I sometimes miss some books I've sold. At first V refused to use this book because it appeared so fragile. But in the end this book ended up traveling in his messenger bag for 14 months, and here's how it looks after:
Not bad. Really. V is not very gentle with his notebooks, and this really is just embroidered paper, so considering all things, this experiment exceeded all expectations I had. You can see all the photos of how the book looked right after I finished it in this blog post, but here's a pre-use spine detail for those too lazy to click the link:
As you can see below, the back flaps would've benefited from having no exposed raw edges to them, and some of the linen embroidery has worn and fallen off. The stitches keeping the book intact, however, are in perfectly good condition!
The bent fore-edge flap was no surprise. I'm glad I had the foresight to reinforce the edge where I attached the thread for tying up the book - it has held together nicely. I doubt I'll try to recreate this book with improvements any time soon. I absolutely adore it, but it was extremely slow to make. I'm still too practical a bookbinder to focus on notebooks like this. But for a more artistic bookbinding moment in my life, I tuck this idea deep into my mind.
All in all, I like the signs of life this book acquired along its journey. I generally aim to make my books as durable as possible (this book being an obvious exception), but I also love how they change as they journey with their owners. Everyone has their own way of handling notebooks and they end up having individual wear patterns. How do your notebooks look once you've finished the last page? (Or do you never make it to the final page before switching books?) Are the corners worn, or the spine falling off, or the book doubled in thickness?