RSS Feed
  1. My Hand // Into This World

    October 18, 2016 by Erin Fletcher


    I recently completed a French-style fine binding around Natalie Goldberg’s Into This World. The letterpress printed text is paired with woodblock prints both carved and printed by Clare Dunne and hand-tinted by Sialia Rieke. The texture of the prints were my inspiration for the design for the binding. By combining the natural texture of the buffalo skin with embroidery and leather onlays, I hoped to capture the pops and cracks between the layers of color.

    With this plan in mind, I used a single print as my inspiration to lay out the design. For the embroidered elements of the design, I chose to play with the technique in two new ways: an embroidered title and embroidered paper doublures.

    The script used for the title mimics the author’s own handwriting taken from her signature on the title page. The title was drawn onto tracing paper and taped in place, overlapping the white buffalo back-pared onlay. I tend to pre-punch the holes for embroidery, especially when I am trying to achieve something exact. For the pre-punching, I put a thin embroidery needle in my pin vise and placed the leather onto a piece foam. Then I used the tracing paper to guide my pin vise.


    The embroidery for the title happened in two steps: back-stitch to spell-out the letters with french knots for the i’s dots and then I wrapped the stitches to create a raised, more defined line.

    IntoThisWorld3-ErinFletcher IntoThisWorld5-ErinFletcher

    After the title was completed, several seed stitches were scattered around the binding with the majority of them appearing on the back cover. I used the same technique to pre-punch the holes for the seed stitches, this time using the full-scale template. The title and seed stitches were sewn with 2-ply cotton thread in an ochre yellow.


    The second embroidered element in the binding are the edge-to-edge paper doublures. The prep for paper doublures is very similar to the set-up for leather doublures; for paper I allowed a wider turn-in as I trimmed out, this would ensure a smoother surface under the paper. Below you can see the turn-ins post covering and with the leather hinge in place.


    After scoring a frame around the board and spine edge, I began to trim off the excess leather at a slight bevel. In order to create a successful doublure, several layers are added to the board (one at a time) and sanded to make the board as smooth as possible. The first layer (shown on the right in the image below) was a piece of 10pt. card, first sanded along all four edges and attached with a PVA/methylcellulose mix. After allowing that layer to dry under weight for an entire day, I sanded the edges smooth (which is the state visible in the image below).


    In between these stages, I began working on the embroidered paper doublures. Referencing the same print used to inspired the covers, I traced an outline of the figure from the image. I felt that her pose embodied the sentiments of the text perfectly. Using the tracing paper once again as my guide for punching the holes, I placed the paper onto a piece of foam and poked through the tracing paper into the doublure paper.

    Once the paper pieces were fully embroidered, I carefully sanded the backside of the paper to create a smoother feel along the edges once glued down to the board. Below you can see the board in it’s final stage. After sanding down the 10pt. card, I attached a medium weight smooth paper. This piece was slightly oversized on three edges and sanded down on the spine side. After allowing it to dry under weight, I sanded it down smooth. The embroidered paper doublures were attached with MIX and put under weight for a day in order to dry thoroughly and to prevent the board from cupping inward.


    And here are the final results. I am so pleased with the outcome of the embroidered paper doublures, it will most certainly be a technique I use again on a future binding. To see more images of the binding and it’s embroidered quarter leather clamshell box, click here.


  2. Swell Things No. 36

    September 30, 2016 by Erin Fletcher


    1. Shapereader is an experimental way of storytelling purely through tactile-sensory graphics. Designed by Ilan Manouach, these graphics are mostly meant to be read by blind or visually impaired readers. Shapereader indexes the 210 different shapes and patterns; these are divided into different groups such as characters, props, settings, actions, and affections. The first actual graphic novel is titled Arctic Circle, a 57-page original relating the story of two climatologists digging in the North Pole searching for patterns of climatic change inscribed on ice columns.
    2. The Poetry Society of New York partnered up with the Parks Deparment to install The Typewriter Project: The Subconscious of the City, a wooden shack inviting anyone to contribute to a collaborative poem. The typewriter is outfitted with a 100-foot paper scroll and a equipped to transmit all submissions to a website, with the most recent post being: “mouthspine moonprow kitten bitten forwardness a kind of scent”.
    3. Yayoi Kusama illustrates Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.
    4. The highly realistic and detailed paintings of Casey Gray.
    5. An exhibit of Fritz Scholder’s work was recently on display at the Phoenix Art Museum. Scholder was one of the first Native Americans to be recognized for his significant contributions as a contemporary artist (beginning in the late 1960s). His colorful and abstract pop art paintings challenged the cultural stereotypes surrounding American Indians.


    6. Using wire mesh and colorful rope, artist Raquel Rodrigo, is creating urban embroidered installations around the walls of Madrid.
    7. If you go to Sigalit Landau’s portfolio website, you’ll find an entire page dedicated to salt. Sigalit has a love affair for the Dead Sea. In her piece, Salt Bride, a 19th century dress was weighted and submerged in the waters of the Dead Sea. Overtime, the salt crystallizes on the fibers of the dress.
    8. A 36-foot long by 13-feet wide mosaic was recently discovered in Cyprus. This particular mosaic is the first of its kind found in Cyprus and depicts a 4-chariot race in great detail with the names of the racers and even some horses. There are even some bystanders, one holding a vessel of water and the other brandishing a whip.
    9. Annie Vought has an obsession with handwriting and letter writing, which has blossomed into large-scale paper installations of intricately hand-cut letters.
    10. Graviky Labs, an India-based research company, has developed a way to turn exhaust from cars into a line products for artists. The device known as Kaalink, is placed on a exhaust pipe to capture pollutants without comprising the vehicle’s performance. The soot is then stripped of its carcinogens yielding a purified, carbon-based pigment, which is then transformed into pens, spray paint and oil-based paints marketed as Air Ink.

  3. Onward to Charleston, South Carolina

    September 10, 2016 by Erin Fletcher


    I am on my way to Charleston, South Carolina for the annual Standards of Excellence Seminar put on by the Guild of Book Workers. My trip begins in North Carolina with fellow guest bloggers, Henry Hébert and Jeanne Goodman. This will be my second trip to North Carolina and my first to South Carolina. I’m looking forward to traditional Carolina barbecue, lemurs, exploring the southern landscape and oh, yes all things books. This year I’m looking forward to touring the Charleston Library Society, the presentations (particularly the ones given by Chela Metzger & Erin Hammeke and Betsy Palmer Eldridge) and the vendor room.

    I’ll be writing a review of the seminar shortly after I return, so look for it around the end of September.

  4. Swell Things No. 35 // Brien Beidler

    July 31, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    I so rarely get the chance to hang out with Brien Beidler, which is a shame since he is so delightful to be around. After first meeting in Las Vegas during the Guild of Book Workers’ Standards of Excellence Seminar, I’ve come to find that Brien is also so incredibly talented, so supportive, and so very hilarious. Brien currently lives and works in Charleston, South Carolina as the Director of the Bindery and Conservation Studio at the Charleston Library Society. He’s a Jim Croft enthusiast and proponent of historical bookbinding techniques and materials.

    Brien gave me the brilliant idea of inviting contributors for the Swell Things column, joking that his own would just be various shades of brown and not the typical vibrant colors readers are used to seeing. So the idea was planted and Brien is now the fourth contributor of Swell Things. His selections for this month are especially fascinating. His witty, yet thoughtful comments will entice you to investigate each pick further. And you will find a surprising amount of color beyond the hues of brown. Enjoy!


    1. An incredible combination of historical inspiration and contemporary setting, George Holt and Andrew Gould of New World Byzantine design buildings inspired by past practices and executed with solid materials and technique. The house in this picture, which burned down Spring of 2016, is even beautiful as a ruin, which to me serves as a testament to the timelessness of their designs.
    2. Based out of Charlottesville at the University of Virginia, Rare Book School is a one-of-a-kind academic wonderland for the book-driven flock. I just returned from an incredible week with the intrepid Todd Pattison where he taught the class 19th Century American Publishers Bindings, and I look forward to applying to many more classes in the future. Be sure to apply for the scholarships if you don’t have institutional backing!
    3. is a growing list of resources and research surrounding an incredible 17th century postal treasure trunk containing over 2600 undelivered letters, now located at the Hague in The Netherlands. Amazingly, 600 of them are still unopened, giving researchers and conservators an unprecedented opportunity to study the material culture of the early modern period by pushing the envelope in how to access the information without sacrificing the material that supports it, while also expanding their knowledge of early modern document security practices.
    4. Garip Ay is a Turkish artist who practices Ebru (what we would call marbling) in ways I’ve never really considered, and probably will never come close to emulating. Watching videos of him at work also give it a very real and substantial performance aspect. Thanks to James Davis for introducing me to Garip’s work.
    5. A medieval construction project in Treigny, France, where for the last 20 years (and for another 10 or so to come), scholars, craftsmen, and government funding are all combining forces to build a 13th century castle using only authentic materials and techniques. Now that’s a wall whose construction even I could get behind.


    6. Who knew that a tent revolution was even possible? A dynamic combination between a tent and a hammock, Tentsiles have opened up a whole new world of outdoor lodging possibilities. Soon any rainy camping trips will just be ‘water under the Tentsile.’
    7. Most of the time the only thought I give to flatware is just enough to make sure I have a means to get food from my plate to my face. Well, the ocean inspired pieces designed and executed by Ann Ladson will certainly change your whole perspective on what it means to reach for a fork. Her work is a true hybrid of function and art (the hybrid of those words, functionart, is not and should never be a word).  
    8. Living in a disposable culture gets me down sometimes, and so any time I come across someone who does their part to minimize waste is as refreshing as a slice of watermelon on a summer afternoon. And when that someone someone finds a way to make minimizing waste beautiful, it positively inspires me. With his breathtaking knives made from 100+ year-old saw mill blades, Will Manning of Heartwood Forge does both of these things, and it makes me glad.
    9. Becca Barnet, proprietor of Sisal and Tow Fine Fabrication, makes anything, and she means ANYTHING. From designing children’s museum installations, to painting fried chicken on tiles, to taxiderming fish, Sisal and Tow can make even the most boring office seem like an exciting cubicle to be in.
    10. The Lewis Chessmen are 93 late 12th – early 13th century Northern European chess pieces that were found on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland in 1831. Aside from inspiring the Weasley’s chess set in the film adaption of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Lewis Chessmen have been the subject of much scholarly ado, and many interesting books on their cultural significance and materiality have been published. I mostly just like the expressions of the Bezerkers (pictured here) – they look so scared and human. I am not sure if I pity their state of perpetual fear, or envy their long and prestigious lives.

  5. Exquisite Corpse Collaboration

    July 10, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    As Program Chair for the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers, I had the pleasure of organizing a project brought to me by one of our members. Jonathan Romain, a recent graduate of the North Bennet Street School Bookbinding Program, brought forth the idea of a collaborative project between the students at NBSS and the NEGBW. I loved this idea and so with the help of instructor Jeffrey Altepeter, we put this plan in motion.

    An Exquisite Corpse is a method of illustration invented by Surrealists in the early 1910s, where each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence usually without seeing the prior portion. Upon reveal this rule to hide the previous sequences offers up an abstract and amusing portrait. Each student created a plaquette covered in neutral leather (we used Harmatan Terracotta and Brown goatskin) and also completed the “head” portion of the figure. The plaquette’s were about 18in x 6in; allowing each participant to cover a 6in square portion of the board.

    The project spanned over 3 months as each participant received and worked on their portion over the course of a month. At the end of May, the finished pieces were on display as part of NBSS’s Student & Alumni Show, an annual exhibit that showcases work from current students and alumni from the various programs.

    I had the pleasure of receiving the finished pieces and bringing them back to the students. We gathered around one another as each student revealed the unique and strange characters that developed over the course of the project. Each piece is displayed below with a brief description from each collaborator remarking on their concept and use of materials.

    Jeffrey Altepeter – Samuel Feinstein – Lang Ingalls

    Jeffrey Altepeter
    The robot head was inspired by my son’s fascination with mechanical and technological design and construction. It is made up of traditional leather decoration techniques—leather onlays, tooled with gold leaf, foil and carbon.

    Samuel Feinstein
    Chicago, IL

    Gold and blind tooling.

    Lang Ingalls
    Crested Butte, CO

    I opted for humor in my approach to the Exquisite Corpse. The design concept was to depict bird legs: the initial tests were for tooling in the positive; it became clear that the negative space would be more interesting. I used four sizes of “dots” in gold foil to produce the background behind the legs. Repetition and rhythm became the focal point.

    Emily Patchin – Barbara Adams Hebard – Athena Moore

    EmilyBarbaraAthena-Corpse Emily Patchin
    This head was created as an onlay piece. The main portion was cut out of navy blue goat skin, pared thin. The sections for the eye, ear, and ghosts were all cut out, and their edges beveled on the flesh-side. Light blue leather for the eye and ear were glued to the back before pasting to the base leather. The ghosts were cut out from parchment; their faces backed with thinly pared gold leather, and painted with watercolor before being glued in place. The outline of the original drawing was then blind tooled over the leather. The intention behind the design was to look at intense personal struggles (depression, intrusive thoughts, insomnia) through a lens of whimsy and humor.

    Barbara Adams Hebard
    Melrose, MA

    Melrose, MAWhite alum-tawed goatskin onlay with blind tooled details, inspired by the shape of an Early Cycladic marble female torso (2800-2300 BC, Keros-Syros Culture). Flanking the torso are shapes commonly found incised on Early Cycladic pottery, a spiral and a two-headed ax, executed in surface gilding.

    Athena Moore
    Somerville, MA

    My materials were leather and hand-cast paper (made by the artist). The concept was a bit literal, since I had the last portion and was finishing the body with the legs, but I was inspired by a particular set of medical prints from Yale’s collection.

    Jonathan Romain – Erin Fletcher – James Reid-Cunningham

    JonathanErinJamesJonathan Romain
    a shapeless face, 18 karat gold, palladium, and ascona onlay

    Erin Fletcher
    Boston, MA

    I wanted to created something really playful with my portion of the plaquette. When I saw no indication of where to begin, I chose to create a headless girl with comically long arms. The girl’s dress is a series of blind tooled onlays in pink and purple goatskin and white buffalo. Her skin is gold tooled. And the blood spurting from her headless stump is painted with red acrylic.

    James Reid-Cunningham
    Cambridge, MA

    The design is largely non-representational, with a vague suggestion of legs. Otherwise, there is no concept. Tooled in gold and metallic foil, with inset lines of white box calf.

    Mary Grace Whalen – Eric Alstrom – Penelope Hall

    MaryGraceEricPenelope-CorpseMary Grace Whalen
    Blue Pageboy, a leather tool-edged onlay made of goatskin is inspired by the Russian pioneer of geometric abstraction, Kazimir Malevich’s costume design and his Yellow Man painting. Blue Pageboy gives off a theatrical and mysterious vibe. Who is s/he? Only the body will tell!

    Eric Alstrom
    Okemos, MI

    After many ideas, I kept coming back to the idea of ancient Egypt and their exquisite corpses.  My design is based on various historic paintings, but did not copy any single on in particular. The design is made from various colors of goat painted with acrylics and blind tooled

    Penelope Hall
    Kingfield, ME

    Inlay consisting of glazed earthenware, scraps of Thai papers, and wheat paste. Colored with watercolor. Additional adhesives used are E-6000, and Jade 403 PVA. Finish coat on the inlay is SC 6000 acrylic polymer and wax emulsion.

    Nicole Campana – Jan Baker – Colin Urbina


    Nicole Campana
    This design was inspired by nothing more than a common theme in much of my art: day and night. I’m drawn to the color palette each time presents and the way in which our perceptions of those colors change as the light does. The techniques utilized are predominantly onlays and gold tooling, however a variation of the lacunose technique and an Ascona tool were used for the hair.

    Jan Baker
    Providence, RI

    what i lost this year:
    – my ovaries
    – my fallopian tubes
    – my uterus
    – all of my hair
    – and my brother

    Colin Urbina
    Boston, MA

    When I’m sketching, I often come back to the roots of a plant. For this project I decided to attempt the same type of free flowing, loose, many-from-one nature of these sketches with traditional gouges. Using five or six tools I built up the legs of this plaquette, and then added acrylic paint into them that gets darker as the roots go lower. The dirt is represented by grain manipulation with sandpaper, changing the surface of the leather and giving it a different look and feel.

    Peggy Boston – John Nove – Shannon Kerner


    Peggy Boston
    My inspiration for this project came from a group of mustachioed, high-collared, quirky members of the Viennese Secessionist art movement. This movement was part of the golden age of illustration and graphic design in Vienna and Germany from 1897 to 1918. Their main influences were derived from William Morris and the English Arts and Crafts movement which sought to bridge the applied and fine arts. The Secessionists favored hand-made object opposing machine techniques. Hand tooling and acrylic paint.

    John Nove
    South Deerfield, MA

    The initial description of the project attributed the Exquisite Corpse to the Surrealists. My concept was of a Magritte-ian gentleman – fine suit, hands crossed in the standard coffin pose holding the usual flower  — but then with an amphibian’s green gnarly ‘hands’. Carbon tooling and goatskin onlays.

    Shannon Kerner
    Easthampton MA

    The vivid colors on the chubby tum were used to inspire whimsy, as well as the funny shape of the legs, which took inspiration from the cartoon Invader Zim, a silly plot animation focusing on an alien sent to Earth and meant to blend in. Stars: gold and palladium mixed together is a challenging medium to tool as they are different weights, but the outcome is very rewarding and attractive. Leather onlays, gold and palladium tooling.

    Todd Davis – Jason Patrician – Jacqueline Scott


    Todd Davis
    The design of this head is inspired by the sugar skulls used as part of the Mexican celebration of Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead). On that day, these skulls, made of sugar, are part of an altar made to honor and celebrate dead ancestors, particularly children. Blind tooled outline filled with raised, ascona, and back-pared onlays. It is finished with blind and lemon gold tooling, and surface gilded teeth.

    Jason Patrician
    New London, CT

    I wanted to stay true to the surrealist exercise of the exquisite corpse by combining the distorted human figure and nature. For my design I chose the octopus, the master of disguise, which doubles as the female torso. Leather onlays (Harmatan and Pergamena), vellum inlay (Pergamena) with walnut ink wash and Prismacolor marker detail, blind tooling throughout.

    Jacqueline Scott
    Somerville, MA

    Materials: goatskin leather, gold leaf
    Concept: I wanted my plaquette section to be whimsical and colorful and wanted to utilize the feathered onlay technique. Something about chicken legs appealed to me, so I ran with that, though I think they ended up looking more like reptile legs with funny leg warmers.

  6. Swell Things No. 34

    June 30, 2016 by Erin Fletcher


    1. Painting the same portrait over and over using slight variations in scale and palette, one can get a sense of how colors can play off of one another or evoke different moods. Hayley Mitchell has done just this with the face of a woman with round cheeks, a floral headdress and large dangly earrings.
    2. In artist Richard McVetis‘s portfolio is a collection of finely embroidered pieces which a sketch-like, abstract quality. In the series, In Pursuit of Time, Richard has embroidered a collection of embroidered wool cubes with the finest stitches of black thread.
    3. Designed by the South African lighting company Willowlamp, this amazing chandelier assembled by laser-cut steel is arranged to represent a mandala. The design reveals itself as you move underneath it.
    4. Metro Queen by Swedish-based artist Jeff Östberg is a digitally rendered illustration that has qualities similar to that of a woodblock print or lithograph. He illustrations are rich in color and style.
    5. Diagonal Press, run by artist Tauba Auerbach, has a unique and irresistible collection of enamel pins. Oh, and some interesting (and affordable) artist books.


    6. The work of Gunjan Aylawadi is mind-blowing. She meticulously crafts each piece by weaving together tightly curled paper ropes. Many times her work includes geometric designs layered and stacked into complex patterns. Her large installations are quite a sight.
    7. Transcriptions is a beautiful landscape series from photographer Kyra Schmidt.
    8. I really love Anna Hoyle’s gouache paintings of books. The titles are hilarious, but I’m particularly tickled by the little “bookmark” legs dangling from the pages of a stack of books.
    9. These are the most beautiful pencil shavings I’ve ever seen.
    10. Hyperallergic recently posted an article on the repairs done to five whaling logbooks from Martha’s Vineyard Museum. In addition to the normal wear and tear, whaling logbooks can also experience water damage. The repair work was done by the Northeast Document Conservation Center. Check out the article for NEDCC’s treatment on the logbooks and more wonderful drawings of whales.

  7. Visit Herringbone Bindery at Fort Point Open Studios // June 17 – 19

    June 13, 2016 by Erin Fletcher


    Come visit Herringbone Bindery during Fort Point’s Spring Open Studios during the weekend of June 17th. We will have our doors open for the preview on Friday and all weekend long. I can’t wait to show you what I’m currently creating and give you a tour of our space.

    Fort Point Open Studios
    Friday, June 17th // 4:00 – 7:00
    Saturday, June 18th and Sunday, June 19th // 12:00 – 6:00

    Find our studio address by searching bookbinding in the directory of participating artists. You will find the listing of my studio mate, Colin Urbina, who will also be around showing off his bindings. See you then!

  8. Swell Things No. 33 // Emily Patchin

    May 31, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    Emily Patchin will be graduating from the North Bennet Street School within the next few days. And you may recognize her name from my post on the set book from the Student and Alumni Show. In the latest installment of Swell Things, Emily offers up an interesting collection of posts. Many of them will direct you to talented illustrators and other artists. My favorite is on Kameelah Janan Rasheed, whose artwork shown below, hangs in our bindery. Enjoy!


    1. Beth Cavener’s work has floored me since 2010. To see the raw edges of her work evolve into a style even more painterly than it began, while she maintains the searing emotion within each sculpture, is simply incredible.
    2. I love these highly stylized safety posters [from the Netherlands]. It’s interesting to be able to note the passage of time, from the 1940-1960s, through the art style alone.
    3. Whales! KNIVES! Does this really need an explanation for why they’re AWESOME!
    4. Glas is a fun, short Dutch film, documenting the nature of hand craftsmanship versus machine produced glass. I think it’s interesting to note the musical and color changes, from man to machine, that may influence the viewer’s feelings on the subject. I also can’t decide who I like more: the man blowing glass while smoking a cigarette, or the man blowing glass in a three-piece suit.
    5. Everything about Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo’s illustrations are unsettling: from his vivid color palettes, to his lidless, geometric portraits of cultural figures. I adore it.


    6. These landscape photos [from Reuben Wu] are so beautiful and otherworldly. I love the ones that are reminiscent of deep sea exploration in particular.
    7. Kelly Rose Dancer is one of the most talented and prolific artists I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet! She’s not only immeasurably talented, but her cheeky sense of humor carries through so much of her work. In her series, Crappy Cats, she draws the cat’s clothing with her dominant hand and the faces with her non-dominant hand. It’s a perfect example of how her superb draftsmanship and sense of humor mash-up to hilarious results.
    8. Kevin Wada first caught my eye with his collaborative “X-Fashions” series, which depicts characters from Marvel’s X-Men as haute couture fashionistas. I find his stylistic reinvention of popular comic characters refreshing. With the decade long onslaught of comic-book movie adaptations, I feel all of the female characters I grew up loving, like Storm, have been left in the dust. Wada puts them center-stage: kicking ass in Balenciaga.
    9. Tyler Thraser had me at, “I crystalize dead shit.
    10. Kameelah Janan Rasheed’s public print series How to Suffer Politely (And Other Etiquette) is top to bottom brilliant. She satirizes etiquette guides while pointing a hot light on the erasure of Black suffering, oppression, and death through White respectability politics.

  9. Book Artist of the Month: Amy Borezo

    May 29, 2016 by Erin Fletcher


    For the final installment in my month-long interview with Amy Borezo, I am featuring an artist book she made in 2013/14. Some Lines was printed and bound in an edition of 40 copies. The first twenty copies were printed and bound by graduate students at the University of Dallas while Amy was a visiting artist; the remaining twenty copies were printed and bound by Amy with the last 5 copies bound in a deluxe edition.

    Some Lines is bound as an accordion binding and housed in a cloth presentation box.

    Something that I enjoy about your work is the complexity behind the clean and simple imagery you employ. Can you talk about the concept behind Some Lines and the swift timeframe in which this book was first printed?
    I was doing research for another artist’s book on Artificial Intelligence. I am interested in distilling complex ideas down into their most basic form. AI is incredibly complex, but most teaching around it starts with Aristotle’s Categories in which he attempts to classify everything into a few simplified categories (substance, bodies, living bodies, animals, man). AI is doing something similar–teaching a computer how to classify everything that can be classified. From Aristotle’s classification system, the first branching tree information diagrams emerged. The Porphyrian Tree is a diagram of Aristotle’s Categories.


    I worked with the Porphyrian Tree diagram for a while and it wasn’t quite coalescing into a book. In my research I also came across another early branching diagram that showed the geneology of Christ. I was fascinated by this diagram because it contained a narrative within it, a story. I was also interested in how diagrams are often used to represent a viewpoint, not necessarily a fact. Data can be manipulated in its presentation. Those are some of the ideas behind Some Lines. I am also interested in the idea of drawing through time, a concept I explored in Labor/Movement. The roundels in the diagram each represent a person and most are linked by a line to another roundel through either birth or marriage. In this way, the geneology diagram represents a drawing made through generations.

    I designed the book to be printed and bound in an edition of 40 in 4 days during a residency at the University of Dallas. I had graduate students in printmaking helping with the printing and binding. We only ended up completing half of the edition there and I bound the second half in my studio. I didn’t know when designing the book that the University of Dallas is a Catholic university. It was a great experience to create that work there and have discussions with students about the concept.


    Within the description of Some Lines on your website, you mention an interest in AI (artificial intelligence). With the growing focus and development with AI and virtual reality, I am wondering if you plan to incorporate this topic into a future artist’s book?
    I might go back to AI in another work. I do have a partially finished artist’s book *in my mind* around this concept. But then again, it might be time to move on. I am not sure yet. I am quite interested in science fiction as a genre, as I’ve mentioned before, as I think it’s an extremely useful lens through which to examine the present. I love allegory. But of course, AI is no longer science fiction–it’s already here. Maybe that’s why I am not as interested in it as much right now! There usually needs to be a sense for me that a subject is fresh for examination.

  10. Book Artist of the Month: Amy Borezo

    May 22, 2016 by Erin Fletcher


    So far this month, the focus has been on Amy Borezo‘s artist books. Beyond that work, Amy is also a talented edition binder working with several fine presses and the level of craftsmanship she brings to this facet of her work is not to go unnoticed. She has worked with 21st Editions on variety of projects including the binding shown above. Todd Webb: New York 1946 was published by 21st Editions in an edition of 37. The spine and fore edge are covered with alum-tawed goatskin with a letterpress printed graphic that reflects the photography of Todd Webb.

    What is the creative process like when working with an artist or printer on an edition project? Do you often work collaboratively when developing the binding?
    It is usually a collaborative process to varying degrees. My goal is always to elevate and further the content of the work through the binding. To that end, I first take in as much information about the project as I can including looking at imagery and reading the text of the work if there is one. With some clients I will then come up with two or three options, usually as a digital sketch that I create in Indesign. We’ll have a meeting, look at material samples, and they will choose which direction to go in. Then we will make refinements or edits of the design together. With other clients, they pretty much have the design/vision and just need someone to execute it.


    Southern Landscape showcases the photography of Sally Mann with text by John Stauffer, another publication from 21st Editions. This edition of 58 is bound in the modified Bradel structure. The spine is goatskin and the boards are covered in a beautifully textured silk. The book is housed in a full buffalo skin presentation box that opens with a gatefold. The two halves meet together in the center and overlap slightly to make a seamless and secure closure.


    Sedimental Records approached Amy to create housing for a DVD of Aberration of Light: Dark Chamber Disclosure, a site-specific live projection performance at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival. The project was performed by Brooklyn-based artist Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder with audio composed by Olivia Block. Amy created two styles of packaging, an edition of 30 clamshell boxes covered in linen with a four-color relief print and an edition of 30 cases covered in paper with the same four-color print.

    Do you tend to work within a limited number of structures for edition work?
    Yes and no. Budget constraints, client desires, and intended audience limit the structures to a large extent. I am open to making anything from highly experimental to very traditional (and labor intensive) structures, according to what is right for the project. For fine press clients, it is mostly a modified Bradel structure with an Oxford hollow, sewn on tapes or cords. For artists, the needs are more variable. I’ve done editions of drum leaf books, sewn board bindings, accordion books, and others.


    Amy has also worked with Abigail Rorer of The Lone Oak Press on several projects. Shown above is On the Hunt for the King of the Alps, which Amy bound in both a regular and deluxe edition. The regular edition is shown in the image on the left-hand side and is bound as a quarter leather binding with a faux stone paper covering the boards. The deluxe edition includes the book with an extra suite of prints housed in a 4-flap, an original watercolor of the plant, a herbarium specimens sheet and a short essay about attempting to grow the plant. Everything is housed in a black clamshell box.


    Extinction memorializes five animals that have unfortunately ceased to exist or are nearly extinct. Another work from Abigail Rorer, Amy bound this edition of 100 as a Sewn-Board binding. Vellum is used to cover the spine, which is stamped with the title and airbrushed with a bright, blood-like red towards the tail. A subtle addition that makes Amy’s work truly unique. The boards are covered in a handmade Spanish Arpa paper and stamped with the project’s logo (and X within a circle). You can view the inside of the book here at Abigail’s website.