Why pamphlet stitch an artist book?

For some reason this morning I had a bit of an aha! moment; that one thing that is not included in the Singular Images Press media kit for my artist book, The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow, is that as a pamphlet stitch binding would resulting in a lay-flat book.

The relevance of any lay-flat book design is when a book includes a photograph that spans a two-page spread, as illustrated in my printer mock-up, below. Btw, the colors are not final, or even close in this mock-up, but that is not the purpose of this physical mock-up. A two-page spread has the potential to loose some of the photographic content in the middle spine area, such as what occurs with perfect binding or most traditional hard cover books. With a lay-flat book, such as when using pamphlet stitching, saddle stitching, saddle sewing (use to create the mock-up below), or Smyth sewn hard cover books, the image appears continuous without any lost visual content.

Utilizing a horizontal two-page spread for my photographs allows me to implement a smaller vertical book with a trim size of 6 x 8″ and yet have interior photographs that are up to 7 x 10 1/2″ and for a full bleed, 8 x 12″, which can provide a some wonderful visual impact.

The pamphlet stitch is a book binding process completed by hand, either by the artist or someone working on behalf of the artist. In my case, I will be binding each and every book, which makes each artist book more of an art object. Being a hand-bound process, there will be more variability in the binding from artist book to artist book, thus no two artist books will probably look exactly alike.

Another wonderful attribute that I can create with my pamphlet stitching is to end the sewing on the outside of the artist book, versus tying it off inside the book. When tying-off a pamphlet stitching inside the book, the artist minimizes the appearance of the pamphlet stitching. In my case, tying-off on the outside and where I trim off the tread allows some of the thread to be left over, can represent another aspects of my narrative. The loose tread can imply that there are some loose-ends to my narrative and what might be found inside the book is not meant to be neat and tidy. Finally, like anxiety itself for most individuals that deal with its symptoms, it is a constantly moving and messy emotional process.

Thus, for me, I consider the use of a pamphlet stitching as a win-win-win book design.

Cheers & make every day an Earth Day



Pre-publication SaleThe Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow, an artist book from Singular Images Press, the artist book is $50.00 USD (regularly $60.00) & the Artist Special Edition (book + print) $100.00 USD (regularly $125.00), plus CA taxes for US sales and shipping. This special price ends in July. Message me (doug@douglasstockdale.com) or singularimagespress@gmail for shipping details and PayPal invoice.

Call for artwork:

SouthEast Center of Photography (SEC4P) open call for the exhibition The Green Environment, being juried by Douglas Stockdale. Submissions are now open and Submissions Close 7/31/22. For more information about the exhibition, here.

Book workshop:

Southeast Center for Photography (SEC4P): Creative PhotoBook workshop (Sold Out), a virtual event on Zoom; November 5 & 6 and 12 & 13, 2022, 10am – 1pm, EST (3 hour session each day, with a week between the weekend sessions to work your book-dummy). Wait list available for sign-up.


Printer mock-up, The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow copyright 2022 Douglas Stockdale

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: