Celtic Weave Geometry, blank book, featuring two-coloured Coptic endbands, bound and designed by H. Kurzke,

My love with headbands has been a fierce but sporadic one. I first learned to make Coptic headbands in from Nina Judin in 2009. While she was teaching us, I found the directional asymmetry of the Coptic stitch (and endbands) striking. I asked her whether instead of from left to right, it would be possible to work from right to left. – She confirmed. I then asked her whether you could do both, first making one from left to right, and then another one, maybe in a second colour from right to left. – She didn’t quite get what I meant, and I had trouble explaining. — That was the start of researching, not finding, and finally developing my two coloured headbands.

My fumbling with a simple headband the other day

Since then I have been fascinated by headbands, and I started to invent headband-type stitching and included them with my books. I not only did my own thing, of course, mostly I looked into traditional styles, monastic endbands, headbands with beads on the edge and on the spine, French, Renaissance… I then fell pregnant with twins, and when I was not yet in hospital (that’s a whole different story which I talked about in length here) but already restricted to my couch, I made this bunch of training pieces that I just found again the other day (see below).

Different headbands, training cards

And then I had twins… Bookbinding became something I didn’t do daily anymore, and headbands were done in bouts of sudden fierce love, but restricted by the fact that you can’t just go and look what your children are doing and then return to it later.

Every time I return to headbanding, I feel like I am starting from scratch again, and I need something more steady to keep me going again. so I thought:

Headband Challenge

Mainly I am going to challenge myself. I’ll find a topic per month and make a headband to it. It will probably start with some styles, but maybe also just design challenges, like “three coloured” or “asymmetric” or something like that. Wouldn’t it be fun to support each other in learning. We could share our efforts and teach each other a thing or two. Just like the old times, when the book binding forum still existed. If you are “in”, then please let me know. (I’d love to hear that I am not alone in this!), follow me on instagram and/or the hashtag #headbandingchalling to find the challenge for each month, and tag your work , too. Let me type it once again: #headbandingchallenge. Let’s get talking about them again!

Links and Literature

I have two books dedicated to headbands

  • Jane Greenfield and Jenny Hille, “Headbands, How to Work them”, ISBN 978-0-938768-51-7, Oak Knoll Press
  • Les Tranchfiles Brodées. Etude historique et technique, Bibliothèque Nationale – contributors are listed in the preface, but it’s published without author’s name(s), apparently to emphasis the joint effort of the whole conservatory team; this one proved really hard to get my hands on…

You’ll also find headbands instructions in most books on bookbinding (as part of the finishing).

There are many blogs out there that deal with different endbands. The one I like best is:

Here’s a little bit of self-promotion and links to my own stuff:

Got more useful links or literature references? – Let me know, and I’ll include them.

Additions

  • BPG Endband Wiki – Only discovered this one right now, and going by the title it should be an awesome resource
  • Rodrigo Ortega used to post about all kinds of endbands and made beautiful examples. His main blog seems no longer maintained, but here are still a lot of examples: https://artesdellibro.mx/cabezadas
example with bead on the spine

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