This stunning binding was created by Monique Lallier almost ten years ago. Yet the design appears so fresh and relevant to the experimentations happening with contemporary design bindings. When you land on Monique’s website, this is the binding you are greeted with and it will, no doubt, cause you to click through every single page of the gallery. The Drawings of Caravaggio by Ally Jones was bound in full scarlet leather in the French technique. The boards have been cut to reveal the red suede fly leaves through a collection of wires that have been embedded into the thickness of the board. Straddled around the top edge of the cut-out is an onlay of snakeskin.
The book is housed in a box covered in black silk with matching red and snakeskin onlays.
If I remember correctly you told me that this is one of the first bindings you completed and that it is still your favorite. I love this binding as well for many reasons: the use of bright colors, contrasting textures from the goatskin, suede flyleaves and snakeskin onlay and the inclusion of a window cut-out of the cover. This window element is peppered throughout your portfolio. What does this element bring to your designs and why do you keep coming back to it?
This binding was done in 2005. I had done the “window element” before to give space for an agate in 1985, so I suppose it evolved to an opening that was not totally filled-in like The Fables of Aesop where I have wires imbedded in the thickness of the front board and you see, through the opening to the lion stamped on the leather fly leave, or this Caravaggio, also with wires imbedded in the thickness of the boards. It was done in an advanced class for AAB (American Academy of Bookbinding) and I wanted to show the students how to line the thickness of the boards with black leather in this case.
I suppose I keep coming back to it because I like the effect of “seeing through”, like in Les Sonnets (shown below) where the boards, the covering leather and the leather doublures are all cut out. In this case, it was to illustrate how Les Sonnets have an impression on you. (More images on this binding later!)
Monique’s work is awe-inspiring. Not only do I find her bindings to be so, but also her involvement in the bookbinding community. Our community and the craft of bookbinding thrives when talented and dedicated people like Monique become teachers. Between my first and second year at North Bennet Street School, I jumped at the opportunity to take a week-long private workshop with Monique at her home in North Carolina, where I absorbed everything she had to offer (no doubt an infinitesimal amount to the vast knowledge she holds).
I’m really honored that Monique agreed to be interviewed for my blog, which she has complimented me about several times. So without furthering gushing, please enjoy the interview after the jump. Stay updated with posts by signing up for an email subscription. Since Monique has an ample collection of work, each week I’ll be showcasing multiple bindings including a few newly bound and unseen works!