Natalie Stopka

January 15, 2015


Filed under: goings-on,workshops — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 12.02 pm

large scale fabric marbling

The new year’s new workshops are now listed and open for enrollment! Bookbinding 101, Coptic Binding, Natural Dyeing, and a new one-day intensive I am excited to teach: Large Scale Fabric Marbling. This class will cover all the basics with a small marbling vat for each student to experiment in, but we will also pull prints from the large vat. I mean 2 square yards of continuous marbled fabric, using traditional or experimental techniques as you like. Big! We will also discuss the practical considerations of building and printing from a large vat – trust me, I’m frequently up to my elbows in mine. Saturday, February 14th at the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn.

If you’d like to try fabric marbling without diving into the large vat, I’ll also be teaching a short 3-hour After Workshop next Tuesday, January 20 in Manhattan. 6:30-9:30, BYOB!

November 28, 2014


Filed under: marbling,paper — Tags: , , — Natalie @ 10.02 am

marbled softcover booklets

Lots of little softcover booklets for the holidays. These are bound simply with the odds and ends of my marbled papers, all made in-house, and gathered into trios of pleasing patterns. A perfect little something for a holiday or hostess gift!

marbled softcover booklets

marbled softcover booklets

November 24, 2014

handmade holiday

Filed under: goings-on,workshops — Tags: , , , , , — Natalie @ 9.58 am

We’re approaching the season for handmade gifts – or the perfect time to indulge in a handmade gift to yourself. TAC’s got a new roster of Handmade Holiday workshops to fit the bill. These are one night only, 3 hour long, BYOB classes to get yourself craftily in the holiday spirit.

Check out the whole lineup (now including parent & child workshops), or Enroll here!

japanese bookbinding workshop


November 12, 2014

suminagashi scarves

Filed under: marbling,natural dyes,textiles — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 9.45 am

suminagashi marbled scarf

I have been hard at work but having a wonderful time creating a new line of marbled scarves. These naturally dyed scarves are marbled using suminagashi techniques – the Japanese art of marbling – to create cloudscapes, sedimentary layers, ice floes, and visual explosions. I love them.

An airy blend of silk and cotton with fringed ends, these pieces can be worn or hung on the wall. Find these in the shop now, and more to come soon!

suminagashi marbled scarf

suminagashi marbled scarf


September 11, 2014


Filed under: binding,marbling — Tags: , , — Natalie @ 10.06 am

marbled journals

Some new little marbled journals are up in the shop today. These were a delight to put together  – I marbled the papers, then dyed some lengths of silk with apple bark and sandalwood to match.  The signatures are folded down from whole sheets in the old-fashioned manner, then cut by hand.

marbled journals

September 8, 2014

a cuore aperto

Filed under: beautiful things,goings-on — Tags: , , , , , — Natalie @ 10.20 am

For the past year I have been working with the artist Janice Gordon to construct a series of triptychs and collages, which are now winging across the ocean to a gallery in Florence. Janice’s work is a captivating blend of found objects and metaphysical speculation. She finds the spirit carried within each object, and by assembling these disparate pieces of our cultural and natural history, projects an evocative and many-layered story.  The stories of this body of work, titled A Cuore Aperto, are concerned with the heart and its complex physical and spiritual connotations.

Janice Gordon: Heart Sutra

Heart Sutra, Janice Gordon

Working with Janice has been a delight, as we share so many common interests and aesthetics. My contribution was the assembly of the triptychs and their mechanical action, using antique book covers almost exclusively. Janice’s collages juxtapose antique marbled book covers and pastedowns with histological slides used in contemporary medical research. The cardiovascular cell structures on these slides eerily and beautifully harmonize with the marbled patterns. Needless to say, working amidst piles of gorgeous antique papers and distressed old medical books has been dreamy!

Janice Gordon: AffinitiesAffinities, Janice Gordon

A Cuore Aperto will be on view at C2 Contemporanea 2 in Florence beginning this Thursday, September 11.

Janice Gordon: A Cuore Aperto

September 11 – October 10, 2014

C2 contemporanea 2 di Antonio lo Pinto

C2 è a Firenze in via Ugo Foscolo, 6 50124 FI

From the curator, Silvia Cangioli:

“With a particular interest in the heart, Janice Gordon works in the liminal space between apparent opposites: matter and spirit, science and religion, nature and culture. In this new series A Cuore Aperto, art and science, tradition and modernity live together in work which has both great emotional impact and a delicate sensibility.

With the determination of a researcher who seeks to comprehend the heart in all its aspects, Gordon has studied the representation of the heart in art history and how the portrayal of the heart has evolved in connection with our medical understanding of how it functions; she went to Florence to peruse the antique anatomical texts in Florentine libraries and visited the extraordinary collection of anatomical waxes at the Museum of Natural History; she observed cardiovascular interventions in operating rooms; she visited medical schools and laboratories in Europe and America…

…This was the genesis of A Cuore Aperto: she began to combine magnified images of cardiovascular tissue which she had photographed in research laboratories with traditional materials and historical forms associated with Florence. Thus were born the Triptychs that the artist created using antique marbleized book covers from her collection. These works, which have the aura of sacred objects, are akin to medieval traveling altars and are also a reference to the ancient tradition of marbleized paper, for which Florence is renowned.

Gordon’s Tryptichs, however, are enigmatic, as if they were guarding a secret: an image which is a revelation of contemporary science. The marbleized doors open to a central panel revealing cardiovascular cells, and the forms created by the art of marbleization resonate to such a degree with nature’s biological structures that it is strangely difficult to discriminate between the two.”

Janice Gordon: Saint's Companion

Saint’s Companion, Janice Gordon

September 1, 2014

call for writers

Filed under: goings-on — Tags: , , , — Natalie @ 10.48 am

call for writers

I’m looking to collaborate with a writer. I’d like to produce a limited edition of fiction, poetry, or nonfiction – something intriguing or gripping or beautiful, by a person I can develop an equally expressive book design with. I have many varied techniques to draw on in creating a wholly unique design, and I’m looking for a challenge. So please submit your work!


  • Any type of writing, so long as it will fit in one volume.
  • You will be responsible for paying for the edition. The design and edition size will be developed within your budget.
  • You must possess the rights to reproduce the writing.


  • A sample of your writing
  • A little about yourself
  • Please use the contact form here, with the subject line ‘writing submission’

Please send in submissions by October 15, 2014, and I will be touch with potential collaborators shortly thereafter!

August 26, 2014

little book of bookmaking

Filed under: goings-on — Tags: , , — Natalie @ 12.47 pm

I am delighted to be profiled in the Little Book of Book Making:Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Beautiful Handmade Books by Charlotte Rivers, just released by Potter Craft. I have just excitedly thumbed through my copy, and it is brimming with inspiring work from bookbinders, including some new even to me. This is not a beginner’s instructional guide, but rather a journey through beautiful stitches, folds, and paper treatments. Tutorials in these techniques are contributed by the profiled artists, including a guide to naturally dyeing paper with fresh plants from me!

little book of book making

little book of book making

Update: Published in the UK by Jacqui Small under the title I Love Handmade Books

August 19, 2014

read on

Filed under: goings-on — Tags: , , — Natalie @ 8.20 am

I was recently interviewed by For the Makers, Brooklyn’s inspiring resource for DIY projects. This month’s Veritas collection is focused on academia and old-school techniques – as you know, right up my alley! Check it out here.

for the makers interview

August 18, 2014

the kettle stitch

Filed under: binding,how-to — Tags: , , , — Natalie @ 9.45 am

The kettle stitch, which holds the tension along each signature and acts as the change-over for many bindings, is a persnickety little stitch until you get the hang of it. When learning the coptic or sewn-to-tape bindings a common problem is an incorrect kettle stitch that does not ‘lock’ the tension, or a kettle so successful it cinches the head and tail while the center of the spine bows outward. These diagrams illustrate how I execute the kettle stitch, along with a trick for regulating the sewing tension both along the spine and between the signatures.

On reaching the head or tail of a signature, I exit the last sewing station, make certain the thread is nicely taught, then clamp down with a forefinger on the fold about 1/2″ inside the last sewing station. The thread (and tension) is held firmly by this finger, and the end of the signature pops up just a bit. That tiny bit of extra space will prevent the kettle from cinching too tightly. I hold this position until the kettle stitch is completed with my other hand, locking the thread in place.

kettle stitch trick

To execute the kettle stitch while holding this posture may seem acrobatic at first, but it can be easily done using the technique recommended in Non-Adhesive Binding, Volume III by Keith Smith. Having made certain to place the sewing stations a distance from the head and tail that is shorter than the length of your needle, its point will emerge from between the signatures and can be pulled through the loop in one easy motion. To tighten the kettle stitch keeping that extra iota of space, pull the thread straight upwards. And finally, release the finger that has been clamping your signature down all this while.

true kettle stitch diagram

Another helpful technique is the french link stitch, which regulates the tension across the spine (between the signatures) by linking each stitch spanning a tape to its neighbor. The french link stitch is an extra step, but the herringbone-like pattern it creates can be a lovely addition to an exposed spine.

french link stitch diagram


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