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  1. Book Artist of the Month: Amy Borezo

    May 22, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    ToddWebb-AmyBorezo

    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.

    SouthernLandscape-AmyBorezo

    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.

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    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.

    TheKingOfTheAlps-AmyBorezo

    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-AmyBorezo

    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.


  2. North Bennet Street School // Student & Alumni Exhibit 2016 – Alumni Work

    May 22, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    The Annual Student and Alumni Show at North Bennet Street School displays work from both current students and alumni. In this post, I will be focusing on some of the outstanding work exhibited by those who have graduated from the full-time program. If you missed my previous post reviewing the Class of 2016’s design bindings of 1984, you can check that out here.

    McKey Berkman, BB ’11

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    When I looked at the headband and endcap on McKey’s binding of Books Will Speak Plain by Julia Miller I was in awe. Each thread is wrapped with perfect tension and her endcaps are formed so evenly creating a beautiful crescent shape. The binding is covered in full green goatskin. The tooled orange onlay is stamped in a matte grey and outlined with a single brown tooled line with small squares at each corner. The head edge is colored with graphite. The details on this binding are subtle, but done with such a high level of craftsmanship.

    Marianna Brotherton, BB ’14

    ElementsOFGeometry-MarianneBrotherton

    This binding from Marianna is spectacular. I love the how the leather onlays pop away from the cover. Marianna’s binding of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry is bound in full green goatskin with suede doublures. The onlays are gilt in the center to highlight a specific shape. The title is tooled in gold down the spine. The edges are sprinkled with green pigment. The headbands are hand sewn with white and green silk. The book is housed in a beautiful 4-flap lined in suede. Each pointed flap wraps around the book to meet at the center. Check out more of Marianna’s work at her website.

    Lauren Calcote, BB ’15

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    Regulars to the blog, know my admiration for embroidered bindings. Lauren’s work has always impressed me and balances between contemporary and traditional. This embroidered binding of Familiar Lectures on Botany is bound on raised cords that are laced through the covers, which are covered in Galaxy Cave Paper. This richly dark handmade paper is filled with flecks of mica offering a subtle dazzle of shimmer. The embroidery is achieved with linen and metallic threads. The center motifs are designed with gold leaf for the sun and a piece of vellum for the moon.

    MiniGirdleBook-LaurenCalcote

    Lauren is also highly skilled with creating miniature bindings of historic models. This mini Girdle Book is sewn over raised cords and laced into cedar boards, which are covered in a crimson goatskin. The covers are blind tooled in a traditional lozenge pattern. There are even miniature brass clasps and a small linen knot to secure the book underneath your teeny, tiny belt.

    Samuel Feinstein, BB ‘12

    StoryOfTheEye-SamuelFeinstein

    It is so great to see work from a former classmate of mine. Samuel is one of the most talented binders of my generation. Story of the Eye by George Bataille is bound as a Millimeter binding in the Rubow-style. A strip of black goatskin runs across the entire head and tail edge of the book. An exquisite marbled paper (made by Samuel) covers the remainder of the binding. The marbled area is isolated to the spine with threads of color sprawling onto the covers. The head edge of the text block is decorated with gold leaf over graphite. The endpapers are also marbled, but on white paper instead of black. Check out more of Samuel’s work at his website.

    Fionnuala Gerrity, BB ’11 and Maryanne Grebenstein

    Butterfly-FionnualaGerrityandMaryanneGrebenstein

    During our time at NBSS, Fionnuala gave a presentation on back-painted vellum; a decorative technique seen on Cosway and stiff-board vellum bindings. It was clear to me that she was hooked by this niche area of bookbinding. Maryanne Grebenstein is a very talented calligrapher and teaches workshops at NBSS. Together they created this lovely rendition of a haiku by Matsuo Basho, a famous poet of the Edo period in Japan.

    Barbara Halporn, BB ‘06

    PictorialWebster-BarbaraHalporn

    There are so many things I love about Barbara’s binding of Webster’s Pictorial Dictionary by John M. Carrera. The leather from Pergamena has been distressed and is absolutely alluring. In these three bindings, Barbara references a historical Coptic binding. She even includes details such as headbands that wrap from cover to cover across the spine and leather toggles to keep the book securely closed. The title is blind tooled across the spine of the largest book. Check out more of Barbara’s work at her website.

    Becky Koch, BB ’12

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    Becky was also classmate of mine and I was so thrilled to see her work in the show. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is bound as a simplified binding with black goatskin for the spine and a deep red buffalo skin for the covers. A surface gilt seagull adorns the front cover. The red buffalo skin is puckered over raised triangles on both covers. The title is tooled in gold down the spine. The buffalo skin offers such a distinct texture, but Becky managed to amplify the skin through her manipulation of the leather. Check out Becky’s website: Dog Eared Bindery.

    Lauren Moon-Schott, BB ’13

    BooksWillSpeakPlain-LaurenMoonSchott

    Lauren is an incredibly talented binder and conservator. She currently holds a position at the Rare Book Room in the Boston Public Library and she is also one of my studio mates. She bound this amazing model of a Stationer’s Binding over Julia Miller’s Books Will Speak Plain. The covers are goatskin with toggles and ties in alum-tawed pigskin. The complexity of the binding is not to be under-rated. Each cross-tie has to be meticulously laced through the covers.

    Wendy Withrow, BB ‘08

    NineMonthsToBearFruit-WendyWithrow

    I met Wendy for the first time at the Standards of Excellence Conference last year in Cleveland, Ohio. I was so excited to meet her, not only is her work well executed and her craftsmanship clean, she was one of the few alumni that I reached out to when applying to NBSS. Her words were so encouraging and her work inspiring. As the only artist book in the show, Nine Months to Bear Fruit, is quite attractive. Each object is sculpted from clay and held shut with magnets. The exterior is painted with acrylic. Hidden inside each piece is a miniature accordion, which you can read by clicking here.


  3. North Bennet Street School // Student & Alumni Exhibit 2016 – The Set Book

    May 19, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    As I walk through the bookbinding department at North Bennet Street School, I am greeted by that familiar mixture of excitement and anxiousness as the school year comes to an end. The students are working busily to finish their projects before stepping out in the larger bookbinding community. I always look forward to this time of year, that is, the Student and Alumni Show. The exhibit opened on May 16th and will run until June 2nd (click here for opening hours). If you are around the Boston area, you must stop by to truly appreciate the craftsmanship of each binding.

    The show will be highlighted in two posts, with this one focusing on the Set Book. Each graduating student is given a copy of the same book (a set book) and asked to create a design binding. I was incredibly impressed by the level of craft and creativity that each student employed in their binding. The set book for this year was 1984 by George Orwell, a literary classic and a story that many are familiar with. I had, in fact, never read the book. So in preparation for the following interviews, I read through an old 1984 edition that I had lying around. After photographing each book, I spoke with each binder about their inspiration behind their designs and how they chose to execute it. We candidly discussed the challenging and rewarding aspects of creating one’s first design binding.

    Peggy Boston

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    Peggy Boston used a dark blue Harmatan goatskin to cover her binding of 1984. Spanning across the binding is a large lacunose relief onlay with the title applied with airbrush. Five stone veneer inlays appear at the top half of the binding. The final element to the design is the painted outline of a man. The first thing Peggy mentioned to me in regards to her design was her craving for texture. Even in the small details, Peggy managed to apply some form of texture. Lacunose scraps were used to make leather wrapped headbands. The head edge is rough edge gilt in palladium. And stone veneer was used as the paste down and fly leaves.

    For Peggy, creating her design was all about connecting the past with the present. She first read the novel back in the 9th grade and acts of oppression against individuality were as aggressive then as they are now. The most effective way to beat people down is to isolate them up against a wall.

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    The eye is often used as a symbol for Big Brother, yet Peggy wanted to indirectly suggest the looming gaze of a watchful government. To achieve this she shaped layers of tissue underneath each inlay to offer a subtle spherical dimension to the circular pieces of slate. Peggy employed paint in her design in two ingenious ways: first is the airbrushed title mimicking graffiti on a crumbling brick wall and the second is the painted outline of Winston, the novel’s protagonist, creating a shadow to suggest the character’s former existence.

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    The lacunose brick wall was achieved by sanding through several layers of leather. Peggy used red and crimson colored goatskins for the bricks and covered them with a layer of brown goatskin to represent the grout. All of the sanding was done once the onlay was attached to the binding. Peggy did indeed achieve a level of depth with her design by incorporating just the right amount of variation in textures.

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    After graduation, Peggy will be moving back to San Francisco and looks forward to integrating into the thriving bookbinding community on the West Coast. Delighted to work in this medium, Peggy plans to continue studying bookbinding.

    Nicole Campana


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    Nicole Campana used three shades of grey goatskin to capture the emotion of this bleak novel. Minimalist lines are smoke tooled on both covers to create a scene from the book. A gold-tooled onlay of marbled paper laminated to mylar sits upon the table on the front cover. The title is also smoke tooled in the upper right hand corner of the front cover. The French double-core headbands are sewn with alternating shades of grey with a stripe of pink breaking up the pattern. All three edges of the text block have been sprinkled with various shades of grey pigment; layer upon layer to build a more textured look. Nicole hand-marbled the paper used for the paste down and fly leaves.

    One of the pivotal moments in 1984, is Winston’s decision to purchase the paperweight. Unlike the diary and pen he purchases earlier, the paperweight serves no real function yet unknowingly tethers him to the past. Through smoke tooling Nicole captures this scene. The back cover is a series of lines and angles, a minimalist rendering of the antique store front. As your eye moves onto the front cover, you are instantly drawn to the brightly colored paperweight sitting on the table that is tooled in a similar fashion. The smoke tooled lines are soft and hazy; the grittiness of 1984 is captured within the soot that lays in those tooled lines.

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    Winston is drawn to the paperweight just as our eyes are drawn to the onlay on Nicole’s binding. Encased in the glass paperweight is a single piece of coral, which Nicole represents with her own hand-marbled paper. She chose bright shades of pink and gold laid out in a traditional stone pattern.

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    As you open the cover, the allure of the coral is amplified. Nicole uses the same hand-marbled paper for the paste down and fly leaves and you’re senses are flooded with warm emotions. A lovely juxtaposition from the melancholic exterior.

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    Nicole will continue to focus on bookbinding after graduation and has been building up an inventory for her Easy shop that will be launching soon.

    Todd Davis

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    Todd Davis bound 1984 in a medium grey Harmatan goatskin with blind tooled onlays in white and black goatskin. Elements within the lightbulb are both tooled in gold and palladium with a small amount of surface gilding in palladium. The title and author are smoke tooled across the spine. The back cover is adorned in a blind tooled lozenge design. The French double core headbands are sewn in blue and red silk. All three edges of the text block are colored with graphite. The paste down and fly leaves are a black, grey and white stone marbled paper from Compton Marbling.

    We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness. As a reader, we are introduced to this significant quotation only a few pages into the book. Todd found this line to be the inspiration for his design. Using a palette that is absent of color, Todd placed a black lightbulb on the front cover. The black bulb provides light with no illumination.

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    The entire design from afar has the subtle appearance of a noose, signifying the inevitable end that the protagonist will face. The lightbulb is a black goatskin tooled onlay. The interior elements of the lightbulb display three different design techniques: the filament is gold tooled, the leads are tooled in palladium and the stem press is surface gilt in palladium.

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    The headbands are the only instance of color on the entire binding. The colors that Todd chose represent the garment worn by Julia as described by Winston, her denim blue dress and red Junior Anti-Sex League sash. The endpapers are so extraordinary, they match the aesthetic of the binding to a T.

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    After graduation, Todd will be staying in Boston. Having recently purchased a bindery from a retired bookbinder, he is currently on the hunt for studio space in the Greater Boston area. The ideal space would be open for other binders to rent space and have access to the larger bindery equipment. Todd is constantly posting his handiwork on Instagram. You can follow him here.

    Emily Patchin

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    Emily Patchin bound her copy of 1984 in a medium grey French Chagreen goatskin. Six recessed circles on the covers contain a collaged watercolor drawing. The title is blind tooled on a leather circular label of red goatskin. The French double-core headbands are hand sewn in silk in grayish blue with a small stripe of red. The red stripe continues on to the head and tail edge as decoration. Emily created a unique paste paper for the binding, which she used as the paste down and fly leaves.

    Emily was intrigued by the notion of false memories which constantly plagued the protagonist, Winston. She chose to stray from her initial idea of representing the characters directly and instead focused on three objects that continually surfaced throughout the story: the diary, the paperweight and the thrush.

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    Mounted into the recessed circles on the front and back cover are a series of images representing the bird and coral (which was encased inside the glass paperweight). These images quickly degrade as your eye moves closer to the book’s fore edge. Emily cut out her watercolor drawings and laminated them to elephant hide paper. The two smaller images were slightly charred to amplify the falseness of their existence. The red label refers back to Winston’s description of the diary, his first “illegal” purchase from the antique shop.

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    The endpapers were created by layering white paint through stencils over a ground of graphite. The stencils were silhouettes of degrading buildings. Harking back to a once beautiful architecture that is now crumbling under effects of government.

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    After graduation, Emily will be moving back to California. Beginning in July, Emily will be taking Dominic Riley’s Design Binding Intensive at the San Francisco Center for the Book. You can see more of Emily’s work at her website Out West Bindery.

    Jonathan Romain

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    Jonathan Romain chose to isolate his design to the spine of the book. This design choice embraced the natural grain of the leather, which is so organic and rich. Jonathan chose a crimson colored Russell Oasis goatskin and tooled the spine in palladium with the title tooled in gold. French double-core headbands in mostly black with a fat stripe of red and yellow adorn the head and tail. The head edge of the text block is rough edge gilt. The Harmatan black goatskin edge to edge doublures are tooled in gold. Marbled paper from Payhembury was used as the flyleaves and to decorative the clamshell box.

    Jonathan played upon the concept of structure and foundation; starting from the urban landscape of 1984. Building upon the themes of crumbling architecture and walls as barriers he began to make a connection between the structure of a binding to the foundational integrity of a brick wall. In order to achieve his vision of asymmetry and the fluid-like grout lines between bricks, Jonathan handmade two finishing tools.

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    The tooling is purposefully rough, offering an evener richer likeness to a brick wall. The doublures are adorned with four gilt triangles arranged like an hourglass sand timer. Each triangle represents one of the government buildings from the story: the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Peace, the Ministry of Love and the Ministry of Plenty.

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    Jonathan and I spoke for some time about the aesthetics of a box. I prefer to create a highly decorated box to match my elaborately bound book. There are some issues to this desire of mine. An elaborate box can increase the price significantly and might also need it’s own protective layer (which I usually remedy with a simple 4-flap enclosure). Yet Jonathan leans in the direction of creating a simply designed box that stresses functionality. Whatever your opinion, I wanted to include Jonathan’s box as it so nicely ties in with his binding. The black Canapetta cloth is adorned with a red title piece and the same tiger’s eye marbled paper as the book.

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    Jonathan is currently interning at the Rare Book Room at the Boston Public Library. Beginning in late summer he will move over to the Boston Athenaeum’s Conservation Lab as the Von Clemm Fellow. You can find more of his work at Romain Bookbinding.

    Mary Grace Whalen

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    For Mary Grace Whalen’s binding of 1984, she opted for a somber look. Bound in black goatskin with blind tooled onlays of black and red goatskin. The title is tooled in gold on the front cover. The leather wrapped headbands at the head are a bisque color, while the headband at the tail is scarlet red. The head edge of the text block is colored with graphite. The paste down and flyleaves are printed on Nideggen and extends her concept from the cover to the interior of the binding.

    Winston’s fate begins to unravel the moment he puts words to paper in his diary with an antique nib pen. The nib icon perfectly captures Mary Grace’s design concept, which is centered around the power (or subsequently the consequence) of the word. In 1984, thoughtcrimes can be curbed by notions such as crimestop, blackwhite, and doublethink. All of these words are product of Newspeak, a suppressive language where ideas of beauty, individuality and emotion are continually redacted and soon forgotten. Winston fights so hard to recapture old memories, trying to validate this thoughts by writing them down on paper.

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    Technical issues arose with Mary Grace’s initial design, which featured a black nib dipped into a pool of red ink all on a base of bisque colored leather. Overcoming a devastating hurdle, she revised her design to black on black. The tone on tone is a design choice that I admire. This revised design captures the spirit and dread of the story more closely. The back cover features the tip a of nib with two red droplets signifying the two gin-scented tears that trickle down from Winston’s eyes in the moment of death as he concedes his love for Big Brother.

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    When you open the book you are faced with a redacted excerpt of the Declaration of Independence. In 1949, Orwell wrote about a future dystopia that has since passed. Yet the current political affairs surrounding battles over autonomy and the right to express one’s individuality begins to shift closer to a universe seen in Orwell’s fictional novel. However, Mary Grace leaves the reader with an uncompromised version of the Declaration at the end of the book. Hope is not lost.

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    Mary Grace will be staying in the Boston area and will continue to hone her skills in bookbinding.

    I want to thank Jeff Altepeter for once again allowing me to interrupt his classroom to converse with the graduating students about their set books. As always, it was such a treat to get to know each of them a bit more through their craft. Congratulations and good luck, Class of 2016!


  4. Book Artist of the Month: Amy Borezo

    May 15, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    RaisingTheSupineDome1-AmyBorezo

    Amy Borezo completed Raising the Supine Dome in 2010 in an edition of 35 (a few copies are still available). Text and imagery are printed on thick rag paper, Holyoke Fine Paper and then adhered to the both sides of a continuous sheet of Tyvek. Therefore, this accordion binding has double-thick pages with exposed Tyvek hinges. Laser cutting occurred after adhering the pages to the Tyek. Cave Paper is used as the covering materials for the front and back boards.


    This binding has such a satisfying weight and heft to it. During my visit to your studio, it was a delight to examine its construction in person. You used Tyvek at the hinge to connect each panel. I wanted to ask about your choice of material for this step and how it has held up over time.
    The Tyvek has held up very well over time. I just saw a copy that has been in a collection that gets heavy use and it’s like new! I like handling it because it feels so indestructible and architectural, in keeping with the concept of the book. I believe I came across Tyvek as a material while working at the Wide Awake Garage. I knew I’d be hinging together pages and I wanted the hinge to be tough. I used a heat sensitive adhesive like Fusion 4000 to adhere the Tyvek to the pages. You do have to experiment with Tyvek as sometimes excessive heat can make the Tyvek warp a bit. But I didn’t have any problems using it.

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    Buckminster Fuller was a visionary, forward-looking architect. Tyvek has a somewhat futuristic flavor – a paper that doesn’t tear and is made from synthetic material. It was a perfect fit for the project. Because it doesn’t tear, it almost feels like you can arrange the panels of the book into various architectural shapes. Going further, Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes are visually all about the lines where two planes meet. The hinge areas become important as reflections of the design of the geodesic dome.


  5. Book Artist of the Month: Amy Borezo

    May 8, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    LaborMovement1-AmyBorezo

    Labor/Movement (seven workers) was printed and bound by Amy Borezo in 2012 in an edition of 25. Bound on an unsupported concertina binding with folios pamphlet-sewn to the peaks of the concertina. The folios were then sealed along the fore edge. The text is nestled inside a cloth covered case with only the back hinge of the concertina adhered to the back of the case. This constructions allows the reader/viewer to pull out the first flap of the concertina, expanding all of the pleats fully and exposing a portion of each page to be viewed simultaneously (as shown in the image below).

    I want to focus primarily on the structure of this book, which engages the concept of the text in a very subtle and beautiful way. The text and imagery is developed around various forms of movement; the pages themselves can be turned and expanded in various ways that mirror the ideas within the text. How did you develop the structure for this book? Did you work through several models before finalizing the look?
    I made another book many years ago with this structure, which I believe is based on a design by Keith Smith. I love how the book expands in a very physical way. Even the sound that the pages make when they slide on top of each other is very satisfying. This book has to be performed by the reader/viewer, which ties in nicely with the content of the work. It asks the reader/viewer to be aware of her actions and body in space, and this ask is reiterated in the text.

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    When the book is fully extended, you can see a portion of each page simultaneously to each of the other pages. I feel that this is a very cinematic way of experiencing the book, similar to stop-action animation. The series of images in Labor/Movement show a pattern of movement over time, and when you see a portion of each image overlapping the next, the connection between the images is much more fluid than if you were seeing one whole image and then turning the page to see the next whole image. I don’t think I considered any other structure, but I did make a few dummies to make sure it would function well.

    The structure also allows the book to be read in many different ways. It can also be opened and paged through like a traditional codex. I like to make artwork that is multi-layered in form and content.

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  6. May // Book Artist of the Month: Amy Borezo

    May 1, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    TheColourOutOfSpace-AmyBorezo

    The Colour Out of Space stems from the imagination of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and also happens to be the focus of Amy Borezo‘s most recent artist’s book. A strange color emerges from the devastation left by a meteorite that hits a small fictional town in Western Massachusetts. The ill effects this foreign objects leaves on the land, vegetation and the people of the town mirrors Lovecraft’s own disdain for industrialization and modernization.

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    Bound in an edition of 40, the binding is a three-part Bradel structure with the text block sewn onto a shaped concertina.

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    This is a photo I took of Amy’s book, which is why is appears different than the others.

    The spine is covered with buffalo suede and the boards are covered with a beautifully designed pulled paste paper. Relief printing was achieved on a letterpress through photopolymer plates and printed on Zerkall Book. The body text is Caslon with titles in Futura.

    The book is housed in a cloth presentation box. The title and author are printed on scraps of the same paste paper used on the covers.

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    One of the last things we discussed during my visit to your studio, was the technique behind your incredible pulled paste papers. For the paper used on The Colour Out of Space, the rhythm of the pull created that gorgeous pattern. Can you share your process for making pulled paste papers?
    After adding acrylic paint to the paste in the desired amount, I brush out a large, even area onto a sheet of mylar. I have a water bottle nearby in case the mixture needs more moisture. I lay the sheet of paper down onto the pasted area and press the sheet into the paste mixture gently by using a brayer on the back of the sheet of paper. I then pull up the sheet from one direction. For the covers of The Colour Out of Space, I then also let the sheet gently back down and pulled from a different direction. This allowed the “veins” created by the pulling to orient both vertically and horizontally. It also creates more surprises. No two sheets were alike and I enjoyed the “dance” of pulling in different directions to create different effects.

    How does the paste paper reflect the story?
    I was searching for a way to evoke the landscape and setting of the story without being literal or illustrating it. Because I live very near what many consider to be the site of the fictional story, I am familiar with the landscape. A big part of my “research” for this project, was simply walking along wooded paths near the site. There are large, imposing trees along the paths that lead to the reservoir that submerged a few towns. I wanted to capture the dark romanticism inherent there. The pulled patterns mimic patterns found in the natural world like rock formations, sediment at the edge of water, foliage. At the same time, the paste papers also reminded me of wallpaper patterns of the nineteenth century and the kind of neo-Gothic interior world that Lovecraft embodies. Not only do I use the paste papers on the cover of the book but I also created photopolymer plates from the papers I made. I then used these plates to print the imagery for the book. I printed the veined, pulled patterns in multiple colors and layered these on top of each other. These then become the backdrop to the “geometry” of the encroaching reservoir. The organic forms of the pulled papers are a foil to this rigidity.

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    With many of your prior artist’s books, you used the accordion structure in some way. Can you talk about why this particular binding is different and what influenced you to use a different structure?
    As a painter I kept coming back to the accordion format because it allowed me to create a larger scale “canvas” when the pages are fully extended. But, with this book, a more traditional format seemed fitting because of Lovecraft’s own distaste for the modern, and because I was printing a full story, which I hadn’t done before. I wanted to make a traditional codex, but enhance it with slightly unusual features like the suede spine, the shaped concertina, and the fluorescent orange airbrushing detail. I also very much wanted to use the shaped concertina structure because I had developed it a few years ago on a book for a client, but I had not had the chance to use it on my own work. Sewing into the shaped concertina also allows for imagery to subtly emerge among the passages of text.

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    While I was a student at North Bennet Street School, I made the decision that upon graduation, Boston was to become my new home. So I began to investigate the community around me, which is how I stumbled upon Shelter Bookworks and the amazingly talented Amy Borezo. I was lured in by her artist’s books; their inventiveness and flawless printing really heightened my desire to work within this medium again. To say the least, Amy’s work is inspiring.

    Last month, I had the chance to visit her studio in Orange, Massachusetts. She shared with me each of her artist’s books and some work she had done for Abigail Rorer and 21st Editions. Check out the interview after the jump (my first interview of the year) and come back each Sunday during the month of May for more on Amy’s work. You can subscribe to the blog and receive email reminders, so you never miss post.

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  7. Swell Things No. 32

    April 30, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

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    1. I don’t know much about the origins of this website, only that it is incredibly addictive. Choose from seven 8-bit images (or play around with all of them) that are automatically resized by the movement of your mouse. As the picture is reduced in scale, it alters the original image. The one pictured above is The Sphinx resizeable.
    2. Ben Elbel recently wrote an article summarizing a recent experiment he conducted on English case bindings. Ben specifically wanted to reduced the pull on the endpaper and text block when opening the cover. It’s a really interesting read and he documented his efforts very well.
    3. Discovering a mold-ridden box of photographic glass plates could induce anxiety and dread to any conservator or archivist. Yet art historian Luce Lebart spun this potential nightmare into a published collection of mesmerizing imagery in the book Mold is Beautiful.
    4. The construction of garments from the Victorian era to contemporary Haute Couture can be complex and almost mystifying. Isabella de Borchgrave replicates these complicated pieces out of paper. Her ability to give paper the appearance and movement of fabric is incredible. Some garments are displayed on mannequins, while others are worn by models. The paper garments can not only function like proper textiles garments, but they can be folded up and stored in the same way as clothes.
    5. Stephanie Clark has a talent for manipulating paint on the canvas, creating such beautiful textures and composition. Another great artist who could inspire a future design on a binding.

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    6. Richard Keeling‘s Shadow Shapes series is geometric paradise. I love the play of color and shapes, some are layered with a multitude of color while others employ a simpler palette. And as the title indicates, an angular shadow is cast, adding dimension to these seemingly flat prints.
    7. German sculptor, Angela Glajcar, has an amazing portfolio of large-scale paper installations. Angela masterfully twists, drapes and manipulates layers of paper to create flowing landscapes and captivating tunnels.
    8. It’s as if two worlds collided with one another in Furniturish, a series of sculpture pieces by Tom Shields. Crafted and modeled after traditional styles, Tom seemingly builds one piece inside of another and sometimes builds several pieces around each other. The work is mind-boggling and beautiful.
    9. I love these illustrations from French painter Léa Maupetit. So whimsical and amusing.
    10. Five heart-shaped boxes dating to the 16th and 17th centuries were discovered in France. These boxes were in fact shrines containing actual hearts representing the long memorial tradition of heart burial. This find was exciting for many different communities, such as researchers at the Molecular Anthropology and Synthesis Imaging and the Institute of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases. These hearts gave researchers a rare opportunity to examine organic matter from 400 years ago.


  8. Manipulating Stone Veneer with Coleen Curry

    April 22, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    Over the first weekend in April, Third Year Studio hosted a workshop organized by the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers. Third Year Studio is located in Boston and is run by Colin Urbina, who just so happens to be my friend and studio mate (Herringbone Bindery is run out of Third Year Studio). This was the first workshop we hosted and Colin was so gracious to opened his space to members of NEGBW and to our guest instructor Coleen Curry.

    Coleen traveled to a unseasonably warm, then snowy Boston to teach 10 local New England binders, book artists and conservators Staple Binding in Stone Veneer. Coleen learned this innovative structure from Sün Evrard, who developed this binding as a conservation solution under the Tomorrow’s Past ideology. We began the first day of the workshop by handing around models of the Stone Veneer binding while introducing ourselves and learning about the structure and its history. The stone veneer comes from a place in Italy where it is cut to a veneer-thickness by use of lasers. This process puts an adhesive coating on the surface, while the back is coated with a cotton-fiberglass layer. The veneer comes in two varieties: slate or quartzite. Yet within these two categories you can find a range of textures, patterns and tones.

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    left: Dorothy Africa and Coleen Curry | right: detail of  Toad Poems

    The decoration on the slate stone veneer binding of Toad Poems above was achieved by placing a gilt piece of paper behind a cut-out in the covers. The windows are aligned with the staples, an example of how to incorporate the layout of the staples with the overall design.

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    The details of the binding above are of the blank model that Coleen made during the workshop with Sün, where she learned this structure. The covers were decorated using a Japanese screw punch. The circular cut-outs were backed with various colored Japanese tissues, offering a small pop of color against the grey slate. The image on the left shows part of the interior construction.

    Another example binding that Coleen shared with us, is this binding of Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. It was a great example of how well the stone tools and how it can handle embroidered decorations.

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    I especially loved the playfulness of the patched endpapers and use of embroidery to mend the edges.

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    After looking through Coleen’s examples, it was time for us to make our own model. After choosing our unique piece of stone (I chose a lovely light colored slate with splashes of yellows, pinks and purples), we were instructed to stamp a series of parallel lines into the center (or spine) of the stone. We did this by strapping our stone and a heated brass rule into a contraption and keeping it under the weight inside our large press. Afterward, we laminated a second layer of Japanese tissue to the backside of the stone. While that was put to bed, we laminated together pieces of colored Japanese tissue that would ultimately become our endpapers.

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    While our stone continued to dry, we trimmed down our endpapers to either match our text block or extend slightly behind the edges. The image below shows Coleen demoing the pamphlet stitch that we would use on the text block. The image on the right shows how I trimmed my endpapers. In the end I didn’t like how much of a square I gave the outer (green) endpaper. With the additional square from the stone, the overall square became to large for the size of the text block.

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    At the end of day one, Coleen shared with us two fine bindings on loan from a local collector. It was an unexpected and delightful treat to handle and speak with Coleen about her bindings and decorative techniques.

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    On day two of the workshop, we were all reunited with our backed stone veneer. We went through the unnerving task of stamping our veneer with the brass rule three more times to redefine the lines and make sure we had an even amount on the outside and odd number on the inside. It was very important to register the brass rule correctly each time, so that our lines stayed crisp and parallel to one another. I snapped a photograph at the very end when I was ready to take the brass rule and stone out of our jig.

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    We also advanced on the text block by attaching the wooden spine stub piece. This stub could be made from a number of materials, but we choose from a selection of basswood pieces that were cut down and laminated to match the height of the outer endpaper and thickness of the text block. The wooden piece was also shaped to match the roundness of the folded signature. I painted the ends of my spine piece to offer a bit of decoration to the head and tail. After trimming, shaping and painting, the spine piece was affixed to the outer endpaper and the fore edge was finally trimmed to the final width.

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    At this point, we were ready to attach our text block to the stone veneer. The first steps were to create a punching jig to guide our awls to punch holes in the folds of the outer endpaper and in the stone cover. The stone was easy to pierce, once you felt it was in the right place, I simply used an awl to poke through the stone. We laced our text block temporarily into the stone covers in order to fold the fore edge and trim off any excess.

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    Before laminating the folded stone onto itself, you have the opportunity to add any decorative elements such as cut-outs, sewing, tooling, etc. Due to time constraints (I had to remake a painted wooden stay that I dropped on the floor), I chose to add some simple embroidered stitches just to see how well I could sew through the stone. This was mostly done on the inside of the front cover.

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    With a pile of stays (wooden, metal and vellum) and metal staples in hand, I was ready to securely attach the text block to the stone veneer covers. In the image on the right below, Coleen is demonstrating how to use plastic tubing to make it easier to insert the staples and stays.

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    For my binding, I chose to use both metal connectors and wooden stays. I painted one set of wooden stays to match the dark purple laminated to the backside of my stone. The staple is inserted through the stay and the vellum catches the legs of the staples on the inside of the endpaper. We stuck an orange stick into a piece of cork, this strange looking tool (seen above) aided in folding over the legs of staples. And viola! The binding is complete. At this point I could still add tooling, but I loved the look of my stone, that I chose to leave it untouched.

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    We had a great workshop with Coleen, she brought so much experience and knowledge to the workshop. Her patience and persistence ensured that everyone walked away satisfied and with a finished binding.

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  9. Swell Things No. 31 // Henry Hebert

    March 31, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    Henry Hébert was a regular contributor to the Conservation Conversations column for the past two years. This year I invited Henry back to create a Swell Things post. Henry and I were fellow classmates at North Bennet Street School and we soon developed an appreciation for each other’s quirky interests. I was very excited to see the inclusion of Amy Borezo’s latest artist book and the Reply All episode on Zardulu. Enjoy!

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    1. I came across this water bottle in a shop called Chet Miller here in Durham. They probably intend this to be about trees and wildlife, but I’m choosing to believe it’s really about book conservation. Izola makes one that just says “Preservation” too! It’s one of the best water bottles I’ve ever owned – very good construction and insulation.
    2. I had seen images of these paper masks from Wintercroft on social media around Halloween, but I finally saw one in real life the other day. Way more impressive in-person and apparently not that difficult to assemble.
    3. I really love the style and materials of traditional icon painting, and Andrey Remnev‘s images take that to a whole new level.
    4. It’s been a while since I have done any blacksmithing, but these decorated rounding hammers from Cergol Tool and Forgeworks make me want to pick it up again. Or just hang one on the wall as artwork.
    5. I’m a huge Lovecraft fan and Amy Borezo‘s images are a perfect take on the mysterious “colour” which spreads from a fallen meteor in Arkham, MA. This is supposedly Lovecraft’s favorite story and a wonderful introduction, if you haven’t read any of his work. [Side note from Erin: I recently purchased this binding from Amy and the imagery is breathtaking. The page layout of use of solid blocks of black are gorgeous. The Colour Out of Space is truly a worthy addition to any artist’s book collection.]

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    6. Local NC artist Tedd Anderson‘s recent series of mixed media drawings about immortal beings who have cried themselves dry is simultaneously weird, beautiful, funny, and haunting.
    7. Melbourne artist Daniel Agdag makes some really inspiring miniature sculptures from cardboard, paper, wood, and glass.
    8. I’ve always really liked the intricate geometric patterns of Islamic art, like these ceilings of Iranian mosques. But this material which uses some of those patterns to expand and flex is mind-blowing. I’m really curious if this could be used in my own work for creating custom housing for unusually shaped objects.
    9. Philadelphia artist John Dyer Baizley has done artwork for an amazing number of album covers. Stylistically similar to Brian Schroeder, but with a nice mixture of surrealism and art nouveau. Baizley is also a member of the band Baroness and their newest album Purple is pretty great.
    10. Did you know that Pizza Rat could have been carefully anonymously orchestrated by a single myth-maker/mastermind in NYC named Zardulu? I learned about her through Reply All, a really fun and interesting podcast from Gimlet Media about the internet. I encourage you to read her twitter feed, listen to the backlog of Reply All episodes, and keep an eye out for trained rats.


  10. Making Miniatures with James Reid-Cunningham

    March 30, 2016 by Erin Fletcher

    Last year, I took a workshop at North Bennet Street School on Miniatures Bindings with James Reid-Cunningham. Bookbinding itself has a certain lure, but miniature bookbinding can pull you in even further. There is always this challenge of how small can one actually go while still keeping some integrity to the craft. It certainly felt this way during the 3-day workshop as James had us construct smaller and smaller books for each project.

    We started off the class with a hardcover long stitch binding. In terms of size, this was the macro-mini measuring out to 46mm wide by 59mm tall. The text block was sewn through a paper spine piece which also acted as the endpaper paste down. The boards were covered in paper and then pasted to the paper wrapper. Before attaching the covers we used our bone folder to round off the board’s corners, offering a very subtle touch of softness to this miniature book.

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    Our second project for the workshop was to construct a miniature quarter leather case binding. We employed the use of miniature presses to aid in the forwarding process. James brought his own contraption (two wooden slabs connected with bolts and wing nuts), while a fellow classmate brought one of Frank Wiesner’s miniature ploughs for the class to use.

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    After sewing up the text block over two tapes (cut down from ramieband) I chose to sew headbands in light and dark pink stripes. We continued with the forwarding process by lining the spine. Using a very thin piece of leather, we assembled the case with shaped endcaps. The rest of the case was covered in paper. For my miniature, I used a scrap piece of buffalo skin and handmade paper from Katie MacGregor. This binding measures 38mm wide by 46mm tall.

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    Our final project was considered a micro-mini measuring to just 13mm wide by 13mm tall. The text was supplied to use with content laid out and printed by James. The text block was printed on a variety of tissues ranging in different weights. For our last project I chose to try out two different weights and assemble one as a soft cover paper wrapper and the other as a full leather binding. The first task for both was to carefully fold the text block into a neatly squared accordion.

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    To construct the full leather binding, the components of the case were cut to size and glued down to a single piece of tissue. Once the case was assembled the fore edge was trimmed to fit the text block and the corners were rounded to accommodate the thickness of the leather.

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    The leather was pared to onlay thickness and the corners were pre-cut before covering. The covering was swift and simple. And once the leather was dry, I attached the outer panels of the accordion to inside of the case. The book can be read as a codex or the accordion can be expanded.

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    The workshop was a delightful insight to bookbinding in miniature form. The main challenge was rethinking and reworking how to use my hands and tools in such a narrow space. I was a fan of miniature bookbinding before I took James’ workshop and I still am. However, I think I’ll stick to the macro-mini for any future work. Anything smaller is just too excessive for me.

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