Natalie Stopka

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


August 11, 2014


Filed under: goings-on — Tags: , , — Natalie @ 9.20 am

Just a quick note to say that you can now find me on Instagram, where I’ll be sharing a more informal look at work in progress, workshops, and other inspirations.

And I’ll be needing to collect lots of inspiring folks to follow, so drop me a line with any suggestions!

June 11, 2014

back to books

Filed under: goings-on — Tags: , , — Natalie @ 10.16 am


A guest book made of linen and antique crinoline fabric, dyed with walnut, black cherry bark, and indigo. Sympathy between fibers and colors.

crinoline book

June 6, 2014

natural dyeing for book artists

Filed under: workshops — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 9.52 am

natural dyeing for book artists

This year the Natural Dyeing for Book Artists workshop I’ll be teaching at the Center for Book Arts has been expanded to a 2-day long intensive! We will be dyeing a variety of samples and exploring mark- and pattern-making on both paper and fabric, while learning the fundamentals of materials, mordants, and permanence. Natural dyes have so many applications in both fine binding and artist books, and a wealth of cultural history to consider. The weekend will be full to the brim, and I hope to see you there!

Natural Dyeing for Book Artists
Weekend Intensive
Center for Book Arts
28 W 27th Street, Manhattan
Saturday, June 21 & Sunday, June 22
10:00 – 4:00

May 16, 2014


Filed under: goings-on — Tags: , , — Natalie @ 10.47 am


Sewing Seeds will be hosting STAINED, an event of sensory experiences through natural dyes, on Thursday, May 22. This fundraiser to support Sewing Seeds programs promises to be amazing! Read more about the incredible artists participating and purchase tickets here. Sewing Seeds just keeps getting better.

The program is also accepting applications for its summer residency now!

May 5, 2014

spring workshops

Filed under: workshops — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 9.55 am

I will be teaching a few natural dye workshops at the Textile Arts Center in the coming months, the perfect time to learn the basics of mordanting, extracting, and dyeing as dye plants begin to sprout!

natural dye samples

Book Arts 101 will be starting up on Sundays in May, and it’s a red hotĀ  staff pick this month. We’ll be covering bookbinding tools, terminology, and fundamental techniques, but also explore the opportunities for book and fiber arts to connect and inform one another. Check out all the upcoming workshops here, or visit TAC to sign up.

book models

April 10, 2014

even more marbling

Filed under: marbling,paper — Tags: , — Natalie @ 9.45 am

marbling vat
marbling vat

Yes, bad form to have so much pigment falling. But it is pretty anyway.


marbled paper assortment

March 24, 2014


Filed under: marbling,paper,workshops — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 9.40 am

suminagashi samples

I spent an afternoon playing around with papers, inks, and best of all experimental additives for my upcoming suminagashi workshop at TAC. So much fun, and very relaxing, to watch the patterns build and gradually transform. Then to pull a monoprint of a split second in time, the forces and chemical reactions frozen in amazing, intricate, and surprising patterns.

suminagashi samples


Morning Series: Suminagashi

TAC Manhattan Studio

26 West 8th Street

Monday AprilĀ 7 & Wednesday April 9


March 17, 2014

new studio, new books

Filed under: goings-on,marbling,paper — Tags: , , , , — Natalie @ 10.40 am

I’ve moved into my own studio. IT’S AMAZING. Sorry I don’t have any photos of the actual space to share – not until it’s all arranged and settled into and I’ve finished sewing the awesome curtains – But I can share the results of my redoubled labor. I am so productive! Marbling papers, and using some to bind matching guest book & photo album sets.

studio 2

studio 5

studio 4

marbled guest book & album set

marbled guest book & album set

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