It's been about three years that I have been making hardcover books with external coptic binding and all those years the covers were completely polymer clay. I had thought about using other materials for the covers, thus saving a bit on my clay and finally today I have a finished project, which is a composition utilizing a lot of elements...some recycled, some new, some vintage. I had a tough time deciding about the type of binding material, and in the end, went with the simple choice. I had dyed (or at least painted) some strong linen and thought about using it, but when the color didn't saturate completely, I figured on the path of least resistance.
Another thing about the binding, for those who are new to Coptic Binding...when I first started doing these books, the binding was quite a chore...not knowing how hard to pull to keep the tension up, and generally, it was one of those nightmarish tasks that made my hands all sweaty and the cord all stringy. As well, it would take at least two to three hours to get the binding all done. Now, once I have the cord found and measured, I just sit down over an episode of Law and Order, and by the time the show is finished, the binding is done. It really does underline the fact that experience makes the work much less time consuming.
As for the beads, they are mostly polymer clay, with a few shell types, small glass spacers, one name bead that I stamped, and a special bead that I made a while ago. It was made from a glass bauble, a bit of hand-decorated paper underneath, and surrounded with polymer to make the picture show through the glass.