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Posts Tagged ‘bookbinding’

  1. Catching up with Coleen Curry // No. 3

    January 14, 2018 by Erin Fletcher

    Cetology is a finely printed text from The Red Angel Press that includes excerpts from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The book was designed and illustrated by Ronald Keller.

    Coleen Curry bound this copy in 2016. The text is sewn ‘Montage sur onglets’ and bound in dark grey buffalo skin. The decorative inlay is a collage of top and back-pared leather mounted on an alligator belly split. The collage has been tooled with the binder’s brass roulette through silver foil. The interior is covered with buffalo edge-to-edge doublures and flyleaves made from hand-dyed Okawara paper.

    With the decorative onlay piece on Cetology, you’ve really managed to unite the textures from the prints with the skin of an actual whale. To create such a textural piece, you worked with alligator skin (not a typical leather found on bookbindings), how did you manipulate it and what challenges did you encounter working with this leather?
    For Cetology, my design inspiration was threefold: 1) Melville’s text and Keller’s art regarding the remarkable size range of cetaceans from a 1.5 meter porpoise to the majestic 30 meter blue whale, 2) my own fascination with how some whales carry up to 1000 pounds of whale barnacles on their bodies and, serendipitously, 3) my bindery overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Northern California where my design process was inspired by a dozen sightings of a mother Humpback and her calf, breaching off the coast during in the late fall of 2015 while I was in the midst of creating this binding.

    I strove to create textured barnacles, the salty fresh scent of a turbulent ocean, and the awesome graceful motion of cetaceans swimming in light shimmering waves.

    The decorative piece is actually an inlay, flush with the cover leather that I made off the book. The inlay consists of a collage made from a variety of leathers and then mounted onto an alligator leather split that was pre-tooled in silver foil. Once that piece was created, I then chose the shape of the inlay and cut into the binding to place it. The collage was my attempt to create that motion and texture by suggesting an abstracted pod of cetaceans varying in size and class.

    I have been experimenting with collaging various leathers and enjoy this technique immensely. I am able to create texture, dimension, and curiosity, while the look is elegant without being clunky. It is similar to Lacunose in that both techniques require building up of layers of leather; however in lacunose, the surface is removed by sanding; for my collages, I make the surface prior to adhering it to the panel. To construct these pieces, it takes time to choose leathers that work together, taking care to pare them very thin and experimenting with adhesives. I press the pieces multiple times and often back pare between layers. I tool and emboss during the process and often add acrylic paint as well to achieve the effect I desire.

    For Cetology, I encountered a few difficulties with the inlay panel as the gray water buffalo leather binding has laced on boards and a flat back. I had to pare the leathers thin as the piece had to be flat enough to extend across both boards and both joints. While the boards were prepared with extra layers of material to allow me to recess the panel deeper within them, the joints are merely the thickness of the leather at the joint. Therefore, my panel was thinner at the joints to allow for easy opening, without breaking the visual across the panel at the joints. All that required forethought. To inset the inlay, I cut into the covering leather – cutting across the joint is a precarious procedure as you I don’t want to cut through the leather hinge! I also experimented with adhesives on the materials used because there are multiple pressing of the collage, leakage of PVA onto suede for example can alter how it looks. I want to know before-hand what to use to achieve the result I strive to create.

    The title, CETOLOGY, is tooled in silver gilt on front board to the right of the inlay panel, the letters in all caps in a barely perceptible arabesque (think gentle wave swell). Its placement took time for me to figure out as the panel across the cover looked like a panel across a cover. I noticed the buffalo leather grain was distinctly flowing towards the lower right board, exactly where one’s hands would open the book. It was a perfect location to title and invite the reader into the book.


    Also bound in 2016, is Coleen’s binding of Outside. A Nawakum Press edition that includes six short stories by Barry Lopez accompanied by “mediation” engravings from Barry Moser. The stories are taken from Lopez’s Notes trilogy, written over a span of almost twenty years. The engravings reflect Lopez’s insight into relationships between humans and animals, creativity and beauty, life and death as he describes both exterior and interior landscapes.

    This same tension is found in Coleen’s binding covered in hand-dyed and embossed kangaroo leather with inlays of copper and inlays and onlays of snake and calfskin. The title is blind tooled at the lower right hand corner of the front cover and almost blends into the background. The interior is lined with stone veneer edge-to-edge doublures and matching fly leaves.

    This binding was included in the American Academy of Bookbinding’s 2017 Open/Set International Competition and was received ‘Highly Commendable for Onlays and Inlays’.

    I had a chance to handle this binding while setting up for the Open/Set Exhibit and it was a real treat. Once again the cover leather is elevated through hand-dying. The irregular patterning of the dye compliments the texture of the crinkled copper and snakeskin inlays so well. Did you alter the snakeskin or is that its natural coloring?
    Lopez’s prose is rich in metaphors and vivid imagery offering a total physical, spiritual, and visual experience which served as inspiration for my design and material choices. His writing captivated me.

    Featuring the natural world, the short stories flow together as a series, reminiscent of native American story-telling connected to spirituality. This led me to create six shapes woven together, each a story by itself, yet connected through a common spirit. Lopez’s prose has ethereal dimensions of reality providing me the opportunity to abstractly incorporate them into the design with specific materials.

    This is one of my favorite bindings– it feels so soft and familiar like a precious leather journal. I chose kangaroo leather to bind the book, and hand-dyed it several times. The smoothness of the kangaroo leather offers a sensual feeling while holding the binding. I applied many types of manipulation and dying techniques such as craquele, embossing and tooling, to create a map documenting a surreal journey through both the physical and spiritual worlds. Visually it is worn, textured, rich, with unidentifiable tracks and lots of movement. The kangaroo is such a gorgeous material. It lacks grain, similar to calf, and therefore is a blank canvas for me to create the texture and colors that I want.

    The shapes are all inlaid individually and consist of a coral and green snake skin, bronze salmon skin, distressed copper, and painted calf splits. I purchased the snake skin in France from an Atelier that supplies exotic leather to luxury fashion houses such as Prada, Gucci, and Hermes. It is a python skin that was hand painted by in-house artists. I did add touch ups of coral and green acrylics in the pockets underneath the scales on the skin, as these pop open across the spine as the book opens and closes. On some bindings, I glue these bits down to keep the look tight and flat, but for this binding I wanted the movement to remain. The snake skin represents “a storm pattern rug woven out of the mind of a Navajo Woman”.

    I chose copper to represent mother earth. It is associated with the goddess Venus in alchemy, owing to its lustrous beauty, its ancient use in producing mirrors, and its association with Cyprus, which was sacred to the goddess. The patina was applied after I crinkled the copper to give it depth. The treated suede ruffles secured under the copper edges softens the metal and offers a somewhat feminine feel.

    The edge-to-edge doublures and fly leaves are thin slate stone veneer, an amazing material from Italy used in architectural applications. It is actual stone that has been laser cut to .3 mm and backed with a polyester and fiberglass backing, then vaporized with a sealant on the surface. I’ve used it for many bindings and it is similar to working with cloth yet it has an immense amount of texture and natural variation.

    One can’t tell from the photographs, but the binding has many minute sparkles that reflect the light. I used micaceous iron oxide many ways to emulate “Dust feels like graphite”; lightly washed over the blind tooled title area to emphasize the spiritual world; painted over the stone doublures “Black rocks glistening in the moonlight” in contrast to the bare stone flyleaves “Dreams of boulders”.

    There are many instances where you are placing an inlay or onlay across the spine of the book. What sort of technical challenges have you experienced from this placement and what solutions have you found? I imagine certain materials would inhibit the movement of the board, how does this limitation effect you during the design stage?
    I usually design and then try to figure out how to make it work, often experimenting with materials and methods. If I am to make an inlay on the spine, I will make a tight-back binding so as to not take the risk of cutting through the hollow. There are technical challenges taking a design over the joints across the spine. The joints are delicate and vulnerable with much thinner leather than on the boards to allow for easy opening of the book. Any material that is placed across the spine, inlay or onlay, also needs to be thin at the joint crease thus limiting the kind of materials that can be used. Many exotic leathers have too much texture variation to allow for easy opening; metals and stone will fail in the crease over time; Thick leather won’t work as the joint needs to be very thin. I have also found that inlays across the spine work best when flush with the covering leather. I have brought designs across the spine by building up the boards or spine prior to covering and sanding the pieces to zero at the crease. This is a different look. Alternatively, onlays can cross the spine, and I have seen two ways, one is to cut the onlay at the joint, similar to tooling where the line breaks at the joint. I have also made bindings where the piece lifts off at the spine, attached into the boards. Don Glaister uses this technique in on many of his bindings.

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  2. Catching up with Coleen Curry // No. 2

    January 7, 2018 by Erin Fletcher

    LOOM was published by Nawakum Press in collaboration with printmaker Richard Wagener and poet Alan Loney. After Richard began to explore the structure of a loom and the process of weaving, he approached Alan with three finished engravings. Alan was asked to respond in the form of a poem that would equally explore the beauty between connection and disconnection found in both woven work and life.

    Coleen Curry bound this copy of LOOM in 2015 in a black goatskin with inlaid pieces of manipulated leather. The interior is covered in distressed edge-to-edge leather doublures that include two additional inlaid panels of the same manipulated leather.

    The main decorative element on this binding captures the essence of Richard Wagener’s prints beautifully. Can you discuss your technique for creating these amazing distressed leather onlays?
    It was love at first sight when I laid my eyes on LOOM at the 2014 Fine Press Fair in NYC. Richard’s pristine end block maple prints are stunning and Alan Loney’s poem gently flows. I purchased a set in sheets and sat on the project for some time awaiting that design inspiration.

    Later that year, while experimenting with suede splits, I rather unsuccessfully attempted to emboss mull into the split – it stuck and I couldn’t remove it. My ahha moment, it was beautiful! This was perfect for LOOM!

    I made the colorful panels on one large piece of red by layering vivid colored papers, pressing and sanding. I then took sections of mull and carefully removed strands both vertically and horizontally until I had the shapes I desired. These were then pressed into the suede and additional layers of paper added. More sanding and pressing until I had the desired effect.

    To create the design, I cut and arranged the pieces to flow across the book, taking care to ensure the mull pieces flowed harmoniously. I embossed large sections of distorted mull into dampened black leather for a few background onlays and inlays to add texture and continuity. All the panel pieces with the exception of one, are inlaid at various levels: recessed, even, and raised. I inlaid two even panels on the edge to edge leather doublures as well. The pink leather incisions were added to weave the components together.

    The layouts of your designs have a rather organic flow to them, yet LOOM feels more hard-lined and controlled. Was your decision swayed by the nature of the materials or the subject matter of the book?
    I hadn’t thought about the book content being so controlled. The poem is very much about weaving, earth, spirituality, and movement. The typesetting although controlled and consistent, has breaks mid line for a pause and those breaks add to a weave or flow. Richard’s prints begin with a very simple weave and build into ever more complex weaves. Nawakum Press made a 15 minute video on the making of the edition that I find inspiring.

    My binding of LOOM is one of my favorite bindings and it was a hard one to let go. That said, I have another 2 sets in sheets, one of which I am working on these days.


  3. Catching up with Coleen Curry // No. 1

    January 1, 2018 by Erin Fletcher

    The first time I interviewed Coleen Curry was back in 2013. I am continuously inspired by Coleen’s work. She skillfully brings layers of color and texture to her work in new and interesting ways. So let’s start off the year feeling inspired to challenge and improve upon our own work with this updated interview with Coleen. We are starting off with Coleen’s binding of Of Woodland Pools, Spring-holes & Ditches.

    Of Woodland Pools, Spring-holes & Ditches was design and printed by Michael Russem of Kat Ran Press and includes 28 engravings by Abigail Rorer of Lone Oak Press. The prints are accompanied by selected entries from Henry David Thoreau’s journals from the months of March, April and May. These passages elegantly describe the early springtime landscape in New England. The woodland pools, spring-holes and ditches were all terms Thoreau used to describe the breeding grounds of wildlife as the fauna awoke from the winter season.

    Coleen’s binding is covered in a hand-dyed goatskin with edge-to-edge leather doublures. The design includes inlays of cat-tails and green calfskin with additional onlays of bronzy calfskin. The author and printer’s last name were hand-tooled in golf leaf. The leather doublures are distressed and paired with a leather split flyleaf. Coleen bound this copy for the Designer Bookbinders InsideOUT Exhibition in 2014.

    When I saw this binding for the first time, I felt that you had created a style that was uniquely yours. The most striking element of this binding is the hand-dyed leather. The dark veins flow across the book like water making the pieces of inlaid cat-tails and leather almost appear to float on the surface. Can you talk about the dying process for the leather and why you choose to have the accented pieces both sunken on the board and jutting outward?
    I would walk my dogs in a coastal woodland area by my home that has ponds and pools as described by Thoreau. With my tall wellingtons protecting me from the water, I would spend a few hours at various times of the day and peer down into the pools observing the multiple layers of life and plants teeming within. This murky layering was the inspiration for my design. I am deeply attracted to texture and color, and during my design process, I spend a lot of time choosing materials and found objects, mixing and matching, in an attempt to try to visually create the emotions I experience while reading a text and enjoying the art. I find stuff, constantly experiment, and keep everything. I want my designs to introduce the text by appealing to all 5 senses. This binding captured that essence and perhaps that is why you feel it is my own style.

    Working with undyed ‘fair’ goatskin, I applied several paste resists using liquid acrylics, a technique called ‘Craquele’. Thick layers of wheat paste are applied directly to the leather, allowed to dry, and then ‘cracked’ intentionally. The acrylic is then applied and is absorbed in the paste cracks; the paste is then removed. Several resists in various colors were applied to achieve depth and layers I desired. Hewits’ aniline dyes were applied to create the ruddy brown color, along with various embossing and debossing with inks.

    The leather became my water, and now I needed to create movement. First, I gold tooled dotted lines to create the glints of light that appear when sunlight hits water at certain angles. I used a special roulette, that I designed and Pascal Alivon crafted, of uneven dots that roll out crooked. Next, I added a few bright green inlays and onlays for the color of new plant life in the spring. I collected cat-tails from the ponds and dried them. After many experimentations with finishes to seal and protect the cat-tail, I settled on layers of black bison wax – a fine wood finishing wax that has an aroma of wood. To create the feeling of floating layers of intertwined cat-tail leaves, I created two inlay pieces off the book and these needed to be a variety of thicknesses to accommodate effective layering. At this point I had what Suzanne Moore and Don Glaister call ‘the eleventh hour blues’, this is when I experience the ‘my design sucks, it needs something else, it is ruined…”. And yes, this happens with almost every binding I create. At this point, I sift through all my materials and usually find that ‘one thing’ to add. For Pools it was some bronzy calf. I placed thin strips over the cat-tail leaves and inlaid only the tips so the mid portion has air.

    I’m also curious about the treatment of Thoreau and Rorer, their names appear in a sort of V-shape on the spine. It’s quite an unusual layout, does this reference the text in some way?
    The title is quite long ‘Of Woodland Pools, Spring-holes and Ditches’ – I toyed with a variety of shortened versions and settled on ‘Woodland Pools Spring-holes Ditches’ tooled in gold each on its own line meandering line on the front upper right in tiny type.

    I decided to highlight both the prominent author and artist on the spine. I enjoy incorporating letters as part of the design to add interest and intrigue. The ‘O’ in each name lines up with the cat-tails on both front and back covers and the gold letters add that glint on water and adds some continuity between the front and back covers.


  4. Catching Up With Lori Sauer // No. 5

    August 27, 2017 by Erin Fletcher

    For the final post, I wanted to highlight one of Lori Sauer’s more recent bindings. Done in 2017, Lori created a binding for Russell Maret’s Linear A to Z. Using an unusual binding style, Lori combine’s vellum and Japanese paper to create a binding that works beautifully with the text’s imagery.

    Russell Maret’s Linear A to Z is a beautifully printed book. And your play on the geometry perfectly harmonizes with the prints in this abecedarian text. Can you talk about the binding structure you used for this binding (particularly the board attachment and how it functions)? Is the vellum limp or over boards?
    I don’t know the name of this structure and sadly I can’t remember who showed it to me years ago. I’ll do my best to describe it. The text is sewn on vellum supports that are shaped like a bar with an arrow on each end. They have to be very precisely cut and measured as the bar is the width of the sewn spine plus the thickness of the covering material.

    The three covering pieces, in this case vellum, are cut to size. The spine piece is folded along the joint and the sidepieces are turned-in along the spine edge only. Slits are then cut in to the fold of the spine and folds of the board pieces that correspond to the sewing stations/supports. The ends of the arrows are very carefully fed through the slits. The points of the arrow shape lock the pieces together and on to the text block.

    I then tipped in a thin board to the gutter of the board vellum and drummed the vellum on resulting in a semi rigid cover. The black lines are waxed Japanese paper laid in to embossed lines. The horizontal line is cut in to the board vellum and inlaid with a laminate of vellum and paper.

    The doublures and flyleaves have black and white lines that echo the design on the outside.

    This structure can also be done in a single piece. A gusset is then formed between the inner board and text block. I hope I’ve explained this well enough. It’s very hard to describe without drawing some pictures!


  5. Catching Up With Lori Sauer // No. 4

    August 20, 2017 by Erin Fletcher

    In 2016, Lori Sauer was one of six Designer Bookbinder Fellows selected to bind one the six titles shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Lori bound Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing, which was presented to the author on the night of the award ceremony.

    Your designs are so delicate, but have the power to capture deep emotion. Each element feels meticulously planned and placed in perfect harmony. Can you go through the stages of planning for Do Not Say We Have Nothing, specifically touching on the placement of the small red pieces?
    This is a binding done for the Man Booker Prize shortlist, work that always has a very tight deadline. I loved the novel, an epic tale spanning three generations of two separate families, who lived through a turbulent time of Chinese history in the mid twentieth century (the Cultural Revolution through to Tiananmen Square). There is a book within the book, called The Book of Records that ties the families and generations together. Classical music also plays a big part, in particular The Goldberg Variations, a piece based on repeated patterns and mathematics.

    I usually tend to work in light and pale colours, my penchant for minimalism. This is the first dark binding I’ve done for a long time but I felt it was needed to capture the psychological temper of the period. All of Chinese society at the time wore uniforms – drab, dark colours with only the Red Guard having something bright.

    With all of these elements stewing around in my mind I begin to sketch and when some of them start to work for me I make paper mock-ups – cutting out the right colours and shapes and moving them about – and take photos of the best compositions. I also work on my iPad with a drawing app. (I like Art Rage). I eventually settle on something that makes my fingers want to start work. Sometimes I settle on a design that’s a very long way from my starting point but I’m not unduly bothered that I move off in a sideways direction, as a good design will stand up on its own.

    The final design is my visual solution to a novel about music, the passage of time, families and Chinese writing.

    You’ve asked specifically about the small red dots. The ones on the outside (leather, shown above) were placed for compositional balance and add a necessary shot of colour. The dots on the doublures (paper, shown below) were very randomly applied. I worked instinctively and fairly quickly here and photographed a pattern I liked so I could use it for reference when gluing them down later.


  6. Catching Up With Lori Sauer // No. 3

    August 13, 2017 by Erin Fletcher

    Lori Sauer bound The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins in 2015, just three years after it was published by Arion Press. This limited edition includes illustrations by Stan Washburn. As Lori mentions below, she split the text into two volumes, creating two fine bindings that compliment each other beautifully. Each binding is covered with calfskin and decorative handmade paper.

    Can you talk about your use of materials and how they connect to the text? Which elements are paper and why use paper over another type of material?
    Relating a material to a text is not something that I ever find myself mulling over. In rare cases one might pick wood for a book about wood, etc., but in the majority of cases leather is used, as convention. I’ve moved away from leather and now mainly bind in vellum because it’s so beautiful. Just to break out from my habit I bound this one in calfskin and paper. The calfskin because it has no grain and paper because I’ve always wanted to use it as major material for a design binding. I’ve always had the feeling (perhaps I’m wrong here) that paper is not considered appropriate for serious work. But it has a longer shelf life than leather, is open to a wide range of decorative treatments and I haven’t met a binder yet who isn’t besotted with it.

    The circular shapes are paper and the area around the circles is calfskin. The paper is a heavy weight Griffen Mill, specially made for a commission I did and these are some of the off-cuts. The pieces have been tinted with watercolour to achieve a range of neutral shades. The leather has been sanded over the top of a pimply surface to create texture.

    This is a very long novel with many characters and lots of narrative layers. There were a number of key scenes set on some shifting sands, a metaphor for the quasi-surreal nature of the plot. My colour choice came from this and also why I wanted to use a variety of textures/materials.

    This is a single volume production (Arion Press) but I decided to split it in to two bindings because I find very thick books rather clumsy. It worked out well to divide it because of how Collins had structured the story into two sections. I liked doing a pair of complimentary bindings, as I was able to use more than just one of the many compositions I had played around with.

    Shown below are the two interior views of each volume. 


  7. Catching Up With Lori Sauer // No. 2

    August 6, 2017 by Erin Fletcher

    Lori Sauer bound this Arion Press edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Silverado Squatters in 2014. The book is bound in vellum with decorative elements in Japanese paper.

    I really love your use of materials on this binding. It offers a peaceful and calming interpretation of the Napa Valley landscape portrayed in this classic travel memoir. Can you speak about how you covered the book in vellum? Is the division created by using two separate pieces of vellum or through a decorative application?
    R.L. Stevenson is in the top five of my favourite authors and I’ve bound quite a few of his works. This one from Arion Press has sepia toned photographs from central California as illustrations. Bindings for books with images present a particular set of challenges. I never attempt to reproduce an illustrator’s work in a design but will do my best to capture the tone or mood. With this piece I used both the serene quality of the photos along with Stevenson’s literary style to guide me. Stevenson’s prose reads with such ease and grace, something that is incredibly hard to do. I’m pleased that you’ve picked up on this!

    Each piece of vellum (two on each board) is lined with a slightly different shade of backing paper in order to give a very subtle shift in colouration. The pieces are turned in on their meeting edges so that the line between them is clean and soft.

    The vertical lines are Japanese paper, onlaid in to pressed grooves.

    What technique did you use for the decoration on the doublures?
    I did an iPad ‘painting’ to create the doublures and inkjet printed them on to hand-made paper. (I like this technique very much and need to remember to do it more often). I then applied small pieces of Japanese paper and these were back sanded before I stuck down the doublure. Very subtle marks are made by the onlays on the suede flyleaves.


  8. Catching Up With Lori Sauer // No. 1

    August 1, 2017 by Erin Fletcher

    I first interviewed Lori Sauer for the blog back in March 2013. I thought it might be time to check in and see what new bindings Lori has created over the past four years. Over the month of August, I’ll be featuring five of Lori’s more recent bindings. Let’s begin with a book Lori bound in 2013, a copy of A Line illustrated by Suyeon Kim.

    A Line was published by Incline Press in 2009 and is an illustrative narrative of linocut prints by Suyeon Kim depicting the companionship between a blind fisherman and his dog. Lori bound her copy in the dos rapporté structure with dyed vellum. Lori adds decorative elements with twine and ink.

    I love the playfulness of the cover compared with Suyeon Kim’s linocut prints. How did you manipulate the vellum to achieve a hazy water-like quality?
    I love this book, no text, just a narrative in images. The images veer off in to fantasy, a bit like a Chagall painting, and are full of warmth and charm.

    You asked about the vellum – I dyed it. I buy very clear and clean white skins for this and interesting markings appear with the dye (I use watered down FW acrylic inks). I start with dying the flesh side as it soaks up moisture better. If I need to I’ll wipe some of the ink on the hair side too. The first pieces I coloured for this weren’t exactly right so I did a second set. I ended up using the first set as doublures. I can go through a lot of vellum this way in order to get the right shade but the rejects always get used up eventually.

    Are the red and yellow lines actual threads running across the binding? If so, how are they adhered to the vellum covers?
    The red and yellow lines are also acrylic ink, applied with a nib. The white line is inlaid string.

    I’ll also say that the book is printed as a concertina and folds out to seventeen feet, I think. It was pretty badly folded so I had to fiddle quite a bit to get the edges to line up. I decided that it would be rare or never that someone would open it all the way so I attached guards on the reverse to keep it like a conventional book. I then used a stub for the spine so that the pages would fan open. The physical result ties in well with the playfulness and watery theme of the images.


  9. North Bennet Street School // Student & Alumni Exhibit 2017 – Alumni Work

    May 18, 2017 by Erin Fletcher

    In the second portion of my post on the Student and Alumni Exhibit at North Bennet Street School, I want to highlight some of the pieces showcasing the talents of our alumni. If you missed the post where I interviewed the graduating class on their set book, check it out here.

    I’ll start with my own bindings. This year I chose to submit two recently completed bindings. The first is a miniature binding of Bobbie Sweeney’s Rookwood printed by Mosaic Press in 1983. The text chronicles the Rookwood Pottery studio founded in 1880 by Maria Longworth Nichols who fell in love with the Arts & Crafts movement. She and her employees pioneered a variety of different pottery styles and glazes over the course of Rookwood’s existence.

    Bound in a Dorfner-style binding, the boards are covered with stone veneer with onlays of wood veneer and handmade paper. The interior side of the board is also covered in stone veneer facing a suede fly leaf. The edges have been sprinkled with purple gouache. The box is covered in dark grey buffalo skin with a back-pared onlay of light grey buffalo skin in one variation of the Rookwood insignia.

    The second binding I chose to submit was completed just last month after working on it for over a year. This fine binding of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities is bound in two buffalo skins, with dark grey on top and light grey on the bottom. The top is adorned with a series of onlays in green goatskin (show in both leather and suede), ruby Novasuede, stone veneer and multilayered palladium gilt pieces. The bottom half is embroidered in a matching thread in such a way that partially mimics the top portion. All of the lines on the top are palladium tooled and the bottom are blind. I was greatly inspired by all of the imagery in Calvino’s abstract telling of a conservation between Kublai Khan and Marco Polo. I will be posting on this binding further, there is so much to reveal about the edge decoration and doublures.

    Colin Urbina, BB’11
    Next up is another lovely miniature, this one was bound by Colin Urbina.

    Colin’s binding of Shaman is covered in a medium brown goatskin and adorned with onlays of stone veneer. Illustrations gleaned from the text are stamped in red foil. The head edge is sprinkled with red acrylic paint. The title is stamped in the same red foil along the spine of the book.  The box for this miniature book is quite large because it holds the book, a paper folder of loose prints and a map (displayed open). The spine of the box is covered in a tan goatskin stamped in blind with the same icons from the book.

    Samuel Feinstein, BB’12
    As always, Samuel Feinstein impresses with his incredible tooling abilities. His binding of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Ballads and Sonnets is covered in a bright blue goatskin and intricate gold tooling. His work is always teetering on the line of classic design and modernism.

    Gabby Cooksey, BB’14
    The Book of Penumbra comes from the very talented Gabby Cooksey. Her work is always fresh and interesting and splendidly weird. The cover stands out in a unique way against the rest of the bindings and so does the technique. Gabby arranged the illustrations from the book in a chaotic way before debossing them into the black goatskin. Contrast is created through the application of varnish on the raised areas. The text block was also illustrated and printed by Gabby, you can read more about the work here.

    Becky Koch, BB’12
    My dear friend Becky Koch submitted this delightful little binding of The Farm by Wendell Berry. I love the array of colors she used to capture such a bucolic landscape.

    The sun is beaming over the country side, literally beaming with Becky’s use surfacing gilding in gold leaf. Oh, I love that little patch of blue. Brilliantly place amongst a sea of mainly reds and browns. The title has been hand-tooled with carbon.

    Fionnuala Gerrity, BB’ 11
    Last up is Trinity is a small, but not quite miniature, laced vellum binding containing hand calligraphed pages from Maryanne Grebenstein. The transparent vellum reveals Fionnuala’s painting underneath.


  10. 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.

    AberrationOfLight-AmyBorezo

    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.


  • Visit My Bindery
    My name is Erin Fletcher and I live in Boston working as a Bookbinder.  This blog is an extension of Herringbone Bindery where I can share my inspirations with you.
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