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  1. Conservation Conversations // My Modelin’ Career

    February 26, 2015 by Marianna Brotherton

    Recently, an album of letters came into the lab. Each letter, envelope and card had been adhered into a notebook, and had become brittle, creased, and difficult to handle. The notebook’s covers were both off, and its binding was in disrepair. Designing a thoughtful and safe treatment proposal for this piece will be complicated- the different aspects; historical, structural, economical, and intent of use will have to be weighed and balanced. To remove each piece of memorabilia will be difficult and time consuming, but would create the opportunity to mend and rehouse the pieces. However, a lighter touch is always better, and focusing on stability alone would preserve more of the original structure and composition. To treat this album well, it will be necessary to have an understanding of the current structure and adhesion, and the possible detriments these may cause; a consciousness of different potential structural solutions; and clear expectations for the future needs and use of the album and its contents.

    Although I won’t be working on this treatment, the different concerns and possibilities associated with it piqued my curiosity. In researching different ways similar albums had been treated, I came across “A Photo Album Structure from Philadelphia, 1865” by Betsy Palmer Eldridge [Book and Paper Group Annual 21 (2002)]. It is an excellent description of a structure which, as Eldridge describes it, “can be used in the restoration of Victorian photo albums or in the construction of new stiff-leafed albums.” However, what I appreciated most about her article was the investigation and research her curiosity fueled. Although there were plenty of advertisements and descriptions about the albums, there were no detailed directions. Eldridge has constructed a method on how it is put together, and describes each step in her article. The best piece of advice I have yet been given is to pursue this curiosity- especially in the form of creating models. Working backwards, recreation, and developing ideas through writing are perhaps the best ways to fully know anything. This is especially true of books, who’s working action and composition is difficult to discern if fully intact. An historical model presents us with three-dimensional access to its structure and intended function, while also serving as an invaluable form of documentation.

    While interning at the Wunsch Lab at MIT, Jana Dambrogio showed me a few models she had made of books she had studied. Not only did she replicate the binding structure, but all of the individual flaws and characteristics of the books as well. Each dog ear, tear, and hole was now documented in a book she could later handle and contemplate. This kind of work is an important lesson in patience, detail, and critical thinking. It slows the hand and creates time to ask questions. What am I trying to repair? What is the causation of the damages I am looking to reverse or minimize? Is every dog eared page an accident, or do they represent an historical figure’s notation? [Read about the Huntington Library’s famous fold here]


    Not all dog ears are important notations, but every now and then there comes a crease I wouldn’t flatten

    As a conservator, it is not my responsibility to lend gravity to an individual book; I must treat, and conserve each book with equal propriety, reverence, and respect. But it is my responsibility to stabilize a book for future use and understanding. By documenting what a book looked like before treatment I not only hold myself accountable for what I proceed to do with it, but I am also acknowledging its history and experience of time.

    Documentation is our way of preserving  as much of a book as possible, and creating a model of a working, physical manifestation of its history and experience not only aids researc8de6cc3a99ae9a7b7fdb193c364c6ccdhers and historians, but future conservators and bookbinders alike. I found this tactic to be especially useful when I was rebinding “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.” The front and back boards were missing, and the paper was torn and discolored. Imitating both the book and its defects forced me to mentally disbind and rebind the book before acting. I had to lend importance to each flaw in order to ascertain what the damage was, how it occurred, and what it could teach me about the structure and its experience.




    First, I tried sewing the model all along, following the lines of an educated guess; but when I tried to mimic the tears and loose sections it became apparent that a different method had been employed. With trial and error, I was able to recreate the original sewing, finding explanations for most of its defects. 63ccc9a06a929a62b6b10d50ccd94c64Once the book was rebound between new covers, its original functionality was restored, but it no longer told the story of its physical experience. Its history, however, is preserved in the form of photos, its treatment report, and of course, its model.

    During the repair of a large book of tracts, disbinding was not a prudent option. I was faced once again, with a structure that was unfamiliar to me, and I found this made it difficult to decide upon a sympathetic treatment plan. The front board had come off, the paste down was lifting, and the spine piece was missing. The parchment slips were split at the point of hinging; half remained sewn along the spine, while the other half stuck out from between the board edge.682c0e41048c34ae90a4e7bd90304b2b

    I was curious about the end papers and the board attachment. Remembering the advice Jana had given me, I made a replica of the cover, end sheets, and the first sewn section.




    I spent all day trying to make sense of its many layers, and to discern where the attachment’s strengths and weaknesses were. By the end of the repair, I had not only reattached the board and reinforced its weak points, but I had learned a new type of binding as well.

    In an interview posted by the American Museum of Natural History, Ichthyologist Scott Schaefer addresses the need to preserve the physicality of specimens:

    Q: With a growing jurisdiction, since collections increase every year. Why is it still important to bring back physical specimens?

    A:  “Because they often represent the only tangible snapshot we have of life on Earth. You might say, “You can sample the genome of a specimen. You can take a photograph of a specimen, won’t that be sufficient?”

    Well, the answer is no. It might be adequate. Those might be excellent photographs. That might be one kind of representation, if you talk about a genome sequence, for example. But it isn’t necessarily sufficient to answer all the types of questions that could potentially be asked about that biodiversity at that place and at that time…”

    [Read the entire interview here]

    Having information on a specimen will never be the same as having the specimen on hand. In order to get to all the nuances that Schaefer describes, to fully represent the snapshot of our bibliographic experience, it is necessary to have books, and to have original bindings. BUT as we conservators know, sometimes a book crumbles just by looking at it, and so we must compromise some originality for the sake of prosperity. When a book has aged beyond use, it is, I believe, best to gather as much information about it as possible, providing the greatest insight with the least amount of damage. And while I would prefer to be able to casually flip through everything in Special Collections, I won’t be the one to turn the stacks into a pile of red rot.

    Original is best, (but I think Schafaer might agree) that when pressed, a clone comes in at a close second.

  2. Artist: Caroline Slotte

    February 12, 2015 by Erin Fletcher


    Caroline Slotte carefully carved each of these mundane objects out of wood for the series One to One. Since I lack any real talent when it comes to shaping wood, I’m completely dazzled by these pieces.

    OneToOne1-CarolineSlotte OneToOne3-CarolineSlotte OneToOne2-CarolineSlotte

  3. My Hand // Covering Dune

    February 10, 2015 by Erin Fletcher


    As I have mentioned on a prior post, my inspiration for the binding of Dune came from several sources: my husband (super fan) plus Lynch and Jodorowsky’s cinematic interpretations. Once I put pencil to paper, I drew from the geometric shapes and simple forms of the French Art Deco design bindings of the 1920s/30s.

    After creating a plaquette of the final design, I outlined the steps of execution for the covering and design work. The isosceles triangle onlay was to be embroidered, which meant it needed to be attached before any paring. The triangle onlay was pared to be incredibly thin from a terracotta Harmatan goatskin then glued down to the base tan Harmatan goatskin using PVA. It’s crucial to use PVA, since the steps for covering requires moisture which could lift the onlay if paste were used.

    In the image above, I’ve laid down a paper template (this paper template is the exact dimensions of the book, it includes the turn-ins and width of the joint). It also has the markings showing me where to glue the terra-cotta triangle onlay. Once the triangle was in place, I sandwich the leather between two acrylic boards and put it in the press to dry.


    At this point, the leather is ready to be pared. The paring went through several stages. I began by paring the whole piece of leather using a Schärf-fix, this process turned the triangle onlay into a back-pared onlay. Next I pared the edges down in preparation to use a spokeshave to cushion pare the rest.


    Once the skin was perfectly pared, I got straight to the embroidery of the triangle onlay. I used three different shades of pink in varying thread thickness to sew lines in a random manner (being more densely applied near the point of the triangle).


    With the embroidery complete and the leather pared, I continued with the final steps of the plan: covering the book. I’m going to keep you in suspense to see the full design once the binding is complete! Stay tuned!



  4. Artist: David Quinn

    February 10, 2015 by Erin Fletcher


    The paintings of David Quinn are exquisite and could inspire some unique designs for a fine leather binding. David studied design and photography, but kept an extensive sketchbook from where each of these paintings were extracted. 

    DavidQuinn2 DavidQuinn3

  5. Conservation Conversations // On Assuming and Assumptions

    February 5, 2015 by Marianna Brotherton

    I have been thinking about a recent treatment I did on An Historical Collection of the Most Memorable Accidents, and Tragical Massacres of France quite a bit lately. More than the mere drama of the process, I was really taken by the experience of nixing some old assumptions of mine. Conservation is a relatively new science, and while we work on preserving artifacts that are hundreds of years old, we really only have a few decades worth of treatments and methods to study and improve. There are ways of simulating the aging process in a lab, but nothing is as affirming as standing the true test of time. But until enough time passes, and those ahead of us can OK our treatments (or kick them to the curb, liquid leather I’m looking at you!) we have little more to go on than our assumptions, scientific or otherwise. It is therefore important to revisit these assumptions often, and to feel confident and comfortable in them.

    First Assumption: There is little to be done to a sad, sewn, dirty text block.

    Conserving a book not only means stabilizing it structurally, but preserving its history as well. To cut sewing is to severe a tie with a bookbinder of the past, and to alter the character of the book and its future. Even when the sewing is replicated exactly, we loose a piece of the history that we are striving to hold onto.  Also, this particular book was rather large, and cutting the sewing just to wash and resew it was not an ideal way to spend the week.

    Second Assumption: If the text block seems solid, and there are no apparent breaks, the sewing must be perfectly intact.


    Three generations of book conservators looked at this text block and confidently assumed, based on their collective experiences and knowledge, that this book was over sewn and intact. One of the most beautiful aspects of working with Special Collections is the craftsmanship that goes into every piece – you can survey hundreds of books bound in the same tradition, but every one of them will reflect quirks of their individual binder(s). You can never be certain that a mistake wasn’t made somewhere in the process, that a new technique wasn’t being developed, or that a specific structure was ever intended to fully mimic another. We can make generalizations and assumptions about collections, but we really must treat each object as its own.

    This particular book I was working on was printed in 1598, and the paper is just stunning. However, after 400 years anyone would have a few cobwebs to clean out, and it was discussed that a good wash would have really done it some good.

    Third Assumption: You cannot wash a whole book.


    For the most part, paper and water are actually good friends, especially when introduced in a controlled manner. And while Cellulose and H20 may go way back, the thought of a soggy book remains horrifying. I have always assumed, as perhaps the above poster brainwashed me into thinking, that it should be avoided at all costs. However, this assumption of mine was quickly dismissed when washing the text block in its entirety was suggested. With a quick search of the CoOl archives, Bill Minter‘s description of this very idea popped up. As he mentions, this treatment is rarely prudent, but just because the right opportunity doesn’t present itself often doesn’t mean it isn’t a possibility to consider.

    In any science, especially when one is new to the field, it is easy to assume that the methods you were taught are the only methods that should be employed. But stopping once in a while to question and consider your techniques, especially the most simple, is important. Why is paste sticky? What amount of abrasion does a latex sponge cause? What parts am I actually trying to put back together? For me, washing an entire book was so out of the ordinary, and such a foreign treatment that I was forced to stop and think about every step along the way. Ideas I had held as truths started to feel less certain – if I put paper in water might it dissolve and turn to pulp?! Will the pages stick together if they’re washed or dried on top of one another? Is there dirt IN the pages? I had never had cause to consider such things when I washed a book in leaves; I was taught this was an appropriate method, and that I could expect certain outcomes in certain situations. Of course I knew that every book was different, and that spot testing was important, but I didn’t ask why A always equaled B, or pondered the possibility of irrational results. When we assume something is tried and true, we don’t feel the pressing need to think about it actively. I took it on blind faith.

    But we went ahead with Bill’s directions anyway- we set up a “fish tank”, had our interleaving ready, and our wind tunnel built.


    I took a deep breath, and lowered the oldest book I have ever worked on into what I assumed could easily be its watery grave. But, science held out and the paper reacted just as it would have in sheets. I was not left with a 5 gallon bucket of paper slush.


    However, we did discover that the sewing wasn’t actually intact. The first few sections had been over sewn, but the rest were held together only by the remnants of sewing and adhesive. Sections started sloughing off as the water developed that satisfying ocher.


    Fourth Assumption: Assume the book is intact, and continue with the experiment anyway.

    We carried out the rest of Bill’s methods with the sections stacked together as a single textblock. 5d34051ee3e249947b696df455a3cf7aWe were all curious to see how the book would dry, and how the paper would respond to a week long stint in the Motel 8 of wind tunnels. Continuing in this manner gave me time to consider and investigate the methods of washing, drying, and flattening that I had learned. And although it turns out that washing and drying intact is not actually faster, it is still just one more possibility.

    All in all, this book was just rife with learning opportunities…

    Fifth Assumption: If you find you’ve sewn a section in upside down, you must take the book apart and start again (even if you’ve already laced your boards on).

    After deciding that this assumption was NOT the direction I wanted to go in, I took a step back from the project and considered it from every angle I could muster. We decided that if I cut the sewing (gasp!) around the incorrect section, I could then turn it about and resew it through the newly lined spine. This was not an ideal situation, but it was an opportunity to think about the book structure, and all the implications of altering it.

    Sixth Assumption: Once you’ve covered a book in full leather, and it has dried overnight, you do not get any more redo’s.

    Yet another learning opportunity! I had covered this book the first time in a skin that made everyone in the lab raise an eyebrow. It was a very strange shape, and looked a bit wonky. However, we assumed it would come out just fine in the wash. Never had I been so disappointed to come into work the next morning. The leather was puckered and wrinkled in all the wrong ways, and simply did not seem salvageable. Perhaps there were design opportunities in this glaring mistake as a bookbinder, but as a conservator, there was nothing to be done.

    However, paste is reversible. Duh. And there were plenty of new skins to choose from. So after much debate and inner conflict, I decided to test just how reversible it was. Again, not an ideal situation, but I was able to remoisten the leather and lift it off its new boards. It was certainly a set back, but not nearly as detrimental as I had first thought it to be. With a little bit of sanding, and a new paper lining, the boards were fit to be covered.


    e3929a5f6bf5b62f854d43415c26dad5   540dcc1e4b9644bd51b203fba906336d

    But, after much preparation, research, collaboration, and thinking outside of the box, I was somehow able to take this book from drab to fab, and to reassess my ways of thinking in the process.

  6. Swell Things No. 19

    January 31, 2015 by Erin Fletcher


    1. A lovely and growing collection of the world’s most spectacular libraries from photographer Franck Bohbot.
    2. Artists Thomas Rousset and Raphaël Verona traveled across the Altiplano region of Bolivia to photograph the diverse spiritual richness of the culture. Check out these colorful and breathtaking portraits of healers, witch doctors and medicine men.
    3. NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is celebrated every November to encourage aspiring writers to produce 50,000 words within the month. A different set of aspiring creators adapted this concept by starting NaNoGenMo or National Novel Generation Month. Developers set out to write a code that generates a novel. My favorite is an interpretation of the Voynich Manuscript.
    4. A small village in southern Japan holds an eerie secret. Since her return to nurse her dying father, 65-year old Tsukimi Ayano has been replacing all members of the village whom have either moved away or died with a life-size replica doll. The 35 remaining residents are greatly outnumbered by these stuffed life less dolls. What a bizarre scene to stumble upon.
    5. I don’t know if you’ve ever scrolled through image after image of Japanese kids with fruit balanced on their shoulders, but it’s quite strange. Check out these portraits from photographer Osamu Yokona.


    6. 1000 Colours is a 1000-piece puzzle created by Clemens Habicht with production help from Lamington Drive Editions. Each puzzle piece is an individual color and must be successfully paired with its closest color relatives. I love puzzles and this one seems quite challenging!
    7. I love embroidery and I love books; when the two meld it’s magical. So I was instantly drawn to Once Upon a Plant from Serene Ng. Sewing through paper is a delicate process, but Serene manages detail and lettering with swift and simple stitches.
    8. When Pegge Hopper moved to Honolulu, she became greatly inspired by vintage images of the native island woman. So much that she began painting portraits of these photographs.
    9. State of Play just released Lumino City, the first video game constructed entirely out of paper. Some games add paper texture, but the creators behind Lumino City spent three years physically creating each set out of paper, wood, miniature lights and electric motors. I haven’t had the chance to play the game, but you can bet that it will be soon!
    10. Well I seemed to be obsessed with portraits this month. Danish photographer Ken Hermann found inspiration in the sellers of Calcutta’s Malik Ghat flower market. I love the richness of these images; particularly the stark contrast between the subject, his flowers and the backdrop.

  7. Moving Images: Guild of Book Workers Promo Video

    January 23, 2015 by Erin Fletcher

    Check out this delightful promotional video from the Guild of Book Workers. It was filmed during the 2014 Standards of Excellence Seminar in Las Vegas. The Guild of Book Workers has a unique appreciation for its younger members and really encourages the growth of all its member through dedicated support and access to information.

  8. Artist: Schuyler Beecroft

    January 21, 2015 by Erin Fletcher


    These portraits from Schuyler Beecroft are mesmerizing. I’m so drawn to the mix of vibrant colors and abstract shapes. Each shape exudes movement and intrigue by the pattern or texture of the paint. 

    TouchingBase3-SchuylerBeecroft TouchingBase4-SchuylerBeecroft TouchingBase2-SchuylerBeecroft

  9. Conservation Conversations // A Bit on Paper Mends

    January 18, 2015 by Marianna Brotherton

    Book conservation is a field much like any other; the more we know, the more we learn just how much we don’t know. Specialization is our attempt to foil this conundrum by focusing our view, and therefore narrowing the range of potential “know-ables.” In conservation this can come in the form of “parchment specialist” or “leader in the field of 14th century wooden board bindings.” This type of focus allows one to delve more deeply into the history of the specific topic, and to explore more thoroughly the different conservation problems and treatments that may arise. But with each magnification of topic, more possibilities come into focus, not less.  Ask a Palynologist, and he’ll tell you there’s an entire universe of intrigue in a single speck of dust.

    So how is it done? How does one ever stop themselves from spinning down the rabbit hole of questions and answers long enough to actually produce something? Or, gasp, feel like they KNOW something?

    Conservators take it one page, and one problem at a time.

    So, let’s take a look at just one problem: paper. The ripped, torn, stained, creased, wadded-up-in-a-ball-and-left-for-dead kind of paper. You denizens of Forgotten Attics and Soggy Basements take heart! Conservators CAN put you back together again.

    The first step in mending any sort of paper is to mechanically clean the surface with latex spongeIMG_2785s, rubber eraser crumbs, cosmetic sponges, brushes… The list of implements goes on, but the concept remains singular. REMOVE LOOSE SURFACE DIRT. As you can see, one swipe of the sponge quickly leads to a hefty pile of spent latex, and one impressive jar of hair, dirt, dust, and many other unmentionables. [note: photographs are examples of three distinct pieces, and are adjacent for effect only.]


    Once the paper is thoroughly cleaned of any loose debris, a mental Venn Diagram of all possible procedures must be conjured. If, after weighing the pros and cons of washing (Yes, paper may be washed in filtered and deionized water, pH preference of 7.5)  the conservator deems it best practice for the object, its provenance, and the desires of its owner to perform this treatment,

    he must carefully take note of any water-soluble marginalia, inscriptions, plates etc. I have heard lore of a conservator, who after much spot testing and deliberation, fatefully watched an ‘I’ float off a page to the surface of the water bath. It is always best to err on the side of caution, so be thorough in your spot tests.

    But if, as in the case of this inscribed fly-leaf, the paper really would do for a bath, a wonderful substance called cyclododecane can make an otherwise unfit washing candidate washable. The wax-like material is melted, and applied to areas one wishes to become temporarily hydrophobic. By painting over the letters written in ink as in the photo, we can choose exactly which parts of the paper we wish to remain dry, and any part of the paper not covered in cyclododecane will respond to our aquatic treatment. Within a IMG_2744period of roughly 24 hours, the cyclododecane will sublime off the paper, leaving behind only the unaffected, unwashed ink. Then after washing, one is able to flatten and dry the paper between felts and weight. This particular fly-leaf not only lost any wrinkles or creases it previously had, but it brightened in color, added a degree of softness, and regained a sense of drape as well.

    For papers we deem unfit to wash, but who could still benefit from a good ironing, a more localized approach can be taken.

    Take this mountain fold. If we paint a line of thin wheat starch paste across the top of the fold with a dainty brush, the paper fibers will expand and relax, and with the small addition IMG_2790of a blotter-reemay-weight sandwich, you will find the fold to have flattened out. I find wheat starch paste to be preferable to water because there is a bit of added control in the spread of moisture, and the paste adds just a dash of strength to the weakened area. [Note: tide-lines, and other horrible and unimaginable affects could be consequence to this treatment. ALWAYS spot test before introducing moisture into paper.]

    When working with paste, I have found it to be handy to keep a small glob near the first knuckle of the non-dominant pointer finger. The paste is not only near to application, but your body heat has warmed it slightly, which can be used to create a thicker, drier paste.

    I have also found it handy to work on a clean surface, not merely for the sake of avoiding contamination of the object you are working on, but because it makes quick work to paste up a piece of tissue directly on the table surface. It can also be helpful to paste up on a piece of remay affixed to gray board, as Bill Minter suggests, when one is really concerned with controlling moisture levels.

    Once the paper is flat, we may descend into the third level of mends: Tear Repair. I once thought that all rips, tears, and cuts were to be treated equally, and with the same large, band-aid of a tissue slapped over it. Lucky for me, this was just another beautiful point in my career when I was faced with the reminder that “I know nothing.” Paper mends should be light, delicate, invisible upon first glance, while somehow miraculously remaining strong and steadfast. The chivalrous “Mr. Knight” introduced me to a majority of these tactics, my favorite treatise being, ‘On How To Treat A Scarf Tear: Or, A Look Into The Impossibly Simple Procedure of Just Gluing It Back Together.’ Many tears occur in such a way that a “lip” is created between the two sides. With a little bit of paste painted daintily along the tear and some light pressure, the two edges of paper can happily sit one on top of the other. Tear Repaired.


    If your “lips” happen to be dirty a dark line may appear, looking much like a crack across your paper. It will be noticeable, no matter how strong your repair may be, and it will drive you crazy. I have found that it is possible (though highly aggressive) to lightly and with much care, sand the edges of the “lips”, thereby reducing dirt and repair visibility. A second, less invasive, reversible method is to tone the mend. A new favorite material of mine is Toasted Cellulose Powder. Baked in the toaster oven for a range of several minutes, IMG_2794 you’ll have yourself an array of creams, whites and browns. This powder, being of the same “stuff” as your paper, will blend nicely when affixed with a small amount of paste or methyl cellulose. Sometimes, simply rubbing the fine powder across the mend is enough to discourage the eye from seeing the tear immediately.

    A cleaner tear, or cut, does not have the advantage of overlap, and therefore has little or nothing to affix itself to. In this case, often all that is necessary are a few fuzzys pulled from the edge of your tissue. Laying these long, muscular fibers along the cut bridges the gap in a similar manner as the “lip” in a scarf tear. Another dainty swathe of thin paste across the mend followed by a blotter-reemay-weight sandwich, and you’re good to go.


    BAD FILL. But historical, so cool.

    And finally, I bring you Fills. A fill is a piece of tissue replacing the original, missing paper. The most common fill I have come upon is that of the Lost Dog Ear. The vulnerable position of the page corner, met with the human desire to bend things, creates a most obvious breaking point in a piece of paper. When filling in a loss, it is best to be foppish about it. When time allows, tone your tissue with water colors, a shade or so lighter than the paper you are working on. It will be wise to select a tissue, or combination of tissues, that are equal or slightly thinner in weight to the object. A heavier tissue will create strain on the original paper and will only do more harm than good. Remember, paper mends should be ethereal, and only the smallest possible amount of tissue should be used.

    IMG_1439 If working on a corner or an edge I like to make my fill slightly over-sized, and will cut to size later. Tear the tissue so that the fuzzys are present, and then against the backdrop of a light, snip off any extra or overzealous fibers with tiny scissors. You want enough of the fuzzys to remain so that they can be overlaid onto the edge of the mend, but not so many that they stick out in an obnoxious fashion. Here we can daintily paint on our wheat starch paste directly on the table surface. I prefer to paste out only the edge of the tissue that will be overlapping the mend, and then apply pressure quickly with a piece of reemay between the teflon folder and tissue. I have found that this mend will dry IMG_1457quickly, and only a little bit of weight is necessary. I like to turn the paper over, and add a second layer of the same tissue, overlapping the first mend every so slightly from the verso side. Here, it is good to paste up the entire piece, so that it sticks both to the paper being mended, and the first layer of tissue. A mixture of types of tissues and weights can and should be used to match the mend, the kind of paper being mended, taking into account the condition the original paper is in. Each repair is unique, and requires an arsenal of paste thicknesses (thin paste is more flexible than thick paste, but thick paste can be tackier) and different tissue types.

    To find any hidden tears, run the edges of the paper lightly through your pointer and middle fingers, using only the slightest pressure to reveal any tears you may have missed.

    Document your work in written and photographed documentation. I’ve been taught to photograph in both normal and raking light for flat work (raking light really shows off creases and folds). A light table can be useful for highlighting rips and tears (I’ve read on other conservation blogs that there are apps for phones and tablets that work as cheap, portable light tables).

    And last but not least, don’t forget to make your GIF!

  10. Best of 2014

    December 31, 2014 by Erin Fletcher

    As the year 2014 comes to a close, I want to send out another thank you to the nine bookbinders and book artists who took time away from their busy schedules to participate in my interviews. Another thank you goes to those who read and subscribe to my blog and I especially appreciate the kind comments I’ve received either in person or via email.

    Now to reflect on my year: Herringbone Bindery was busy yet again this year. I had the opportunity to work on some really great projects, amongst them were commissions from the Old State House in Boston, artist Laura Davidson and the Veatchs booksellers. An unusual amount of traveling this year took me to Rare Book School for the first time, up to Maine for a mini-conference and across the country to Vegas for the Guild of Book Workers conference.

    Things to expect in the New Year:
    – an updated website with all the projects I completed in 2014 (including some beautiful design bindings)
    – a Herringbone Bindery newsletter
    – more posts on my own projects (expect to see more on Dune as I will be covering right after the holidays)
    – another round of interviews

    As we ring in the new year, I just wanted to share my favorites posts from 2014.


    1. February // Bookbinder of the Month: Haein Song
    Haein Song was recommend to me by Hannah Brown and I was so thankful for her suggestion. Haein’s work is so clean and skillfully crafted. Her headcaps are so impeccable that I gape in awe.
    2. Artist: Marcela Cárdenas
    3. May // Bookbinder of the Month: Monique Lallier
    I greatly admire the work of Monique Lallier and was just ecstatic that she agreed to be interviewed for the blog. She has become such an influence in our field and openly shares her support and wisdom.


    4. My Hand: A Desert Inspired Edge for Dune
    5. August // Bookbinder of the Month: Mark Cockram
    The interview with Mark Cockram captures the boisterous and enthusiastic charms of both his personality and love of the craft. Each post examines the intensity of his designs and complexity of his techniques.
    6. Conservation Conversations Column
    Beginning this year, I invited six of my colleagues working in conservation to post about a field that encapsulates their professional lives. Topics range from using the appropriate adhesive and what to consider when building a conservation lab to various conservation considerations and philosophies.


    7. My Hand: Boxes for Laura Davidson
    My first project with Laura Davidson after interviewing her on my blog.
    8. Artist: Lydia Hardwick
    9. Photographer: Andrea Galvani
    10. January // Book Artist of the Month: Mary Uthuppuru
    I’m so charmed both Mary Uthuppuru and her work. She really engages the craft by exploring and experimenting with bookbinding and printmaking techniques. Mary is quite inspiring.


    11. November // Bookbinder of the Month: Sol Rébora
    It was a pleasure to interview Sol Rébora. Her insights to bookbinding in Argentina were refreshing, as are her imaginative and unique design bindings.
    12. February // Book Artist of the Month: Diane Jacobs
    Diane Jacobs employs important topics like feminism, body issues and societal issues against women in book arts and other art forms. I am very engaged and compelled by these issues and enjoyed dissecting her work in the interview.
    13. My Hand: Leather Embroidery Samplers
    14. Artist: Jennifer Davis

    Happy New Year!