RSS Feed

Posts Tagged ‘priscilla spitler’

  1. Seventh Triennial Helen Warren DeGolyer Exhibition and Bookbinding Competition // 2015 – Winners Announced

    June 16, 2015 by Erin Fletcher

    On June 5th, a conference was held at the Bridwell Library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. During the conference, the winners of the Seventh Helen Warren DeGolyer Triennial Exhibition and Competition were announced. Established in 1997, the DeGolyer Competition is hosted every three years to inspire and encourage the craft of bookbinding in the United States.

    After a title has been selected from the Bridwell Library Special Collections, American bookbinders are invited to propose a design and submit an example of their work. Three winners are then selected and announced during the conference. The title chosen for the 2015 competition was Bernard C. Middleton’s The Restoration of Leather Bindings. The winner of this year’s competition received a $6,000 commission to bind Ms. DeGolyer’s copy of Middleton’s manual, which has been signed by the author. Middleton’s classic work is a comprehensive overview of traditional restoration techniques specifically on leather bindings.

    The winning proposal was submitted by Priscilla Spitler. Here’s part of her proposal statement: If one was to visit Bernard Middleton’s bindery in the 1970s, when this text was published, it would not have been unusual to find a cat or two curled up in a corner.

    DeGolyerProposal-PriscillaSpitler

    Priscilla plans to cover the book in brown Hewit goatskin with raised bands on the spine. Traditional gold tooling will accent the spine and frame the two cats on the front and back boards. The sleeping cats will be made up of several goatskin onlays recessed on large green leather panels.

    Priscilla has been submitting to the DeGolyer Competition since it was established and won the grand prize for the first time in 2009 for her proposal of John Grave’s Goodbye to a River: A Narrative. You can read more about Priscilla’s background in bookbinding and see the fine binding she submitted along with her 2015 proposal here.

    The $2,000 award went to Jana Pullman for Excellence in Fine Binding, which recognizes quality in structure and technique. In addition to the proposal, binders are also asked to submit a complete binding showing techniques similar to those they are proposing. Jana submitted her binding of William Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, illustrated and signed by Rockwell Kent.

    DeGolyerProposal-JanaPullman

    Bound in terracotta goatskin with black and green back-pared onlays and thin leather onlays creating the outlines. Jana celebrates the artistic brilliance of Rockwell Kent by using one of his illustrations found in the text as the decoration for the binding. Copper accents adorn the head edge and endpapers.

    The $1,000 Award for Design was given to Samuel Feinstein for his proposal. This honor is awarded to a proposal that demonstrates originality, effectiveness and appropriateness to the selected book. Here is a portion of Samuel’s proposal: My design seeks to show the beauty of historical binding elements within a modernized context, a use of traditional techniques in a manner which is not strictly traditional. 

    Samuel was a classmate of mine at North Bennet Street School and I’m so pleased to see his work receive such an award.

    DeGolyerProposal-SamuelFeinstein

    During the planning stages of a design fine binding, I expect a percentage of the design to evolve during the binding process. So submitting a proposal with the design fully realized and explained was a challenge that I wanted to explore, which is how I came to send in the following proposal.

    DeGolyerProposal-ErinFletcher

    My proposed binding would be covered in brown goatskin and decorated using traditional hand embroidery techniques in gilt thread to imitate a historical gilt panel design. Other elements of the design such as the line border and motifs on spine would be gold tooled. Every aspect of the binding was influenced by the books being conversed within Middleton’s manual.

    Here’s my proposal statement:
    To conserve an object is to show patience, intelligence and dedication, qualities which Middleton emphasizes in the foreword of his book. In a way restoring a volume also pays homage to the history of the binding, as well as respect for the techniques employed in creating the binding. I propose to bind The Restoration of Leather Bindings as a design binding incorporating techniques and designs typically seen on deluxe bindings of the late seventeenth to early eighteenth century in England. The inspiration for choosing this specific period came from a particular book (mounted on proposal board) photographed several times in The Restoration of Leather Bindings. My decision to artistically imitate this binding, using period-appropriate techniques mixed with unconventional design techniques stems from the same attitude put forth by Middleton. I wish to pay homage to the book and its author by preserving a historical binding style by combining old techniques with unlikely materials.

    This year’s competition inspired seventeen other American binders to submit a proposal. You can see them all here.


  2. December // Bookbinder of the Month: Karen Hanmer

    December 1, 2013 by Erin Fletcher

    booksspeakplain1-karenhanmer

    The Midwest Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers recently revealed the exhibitors for a traveling exhibition called Plainly Spoken, which celebrates Books Will Speak Plain, a comprehensive survey of historical bindings by Julia Miller. Amongst the highly skilled and wide variety of bindings is a cutaway model by Karen Hanmer

    Karen bound her copy of Books Will Speak Plain as a traditional fine binding, sewn on flattened cords with laced-in boards. Partially covered in a beautiful light blue goatskin, otherwise hidden elements of the structure stay visible in this cutaway model. Tooling is done in blind and 23kt. gold foil to emphasize the location of sewing supports and lacing-on in addition to turn-ins, fills, sanding of the boards and formation of corners. The use of tooling as both an aesthetic treatment and as visual aid is just brilliant!

    booksspeakplain2-karenhanmerbooksspeakplain4-karenhanmer

    Although the book may appear to be incomplete, it includes all the necessary details that make a book a fine binding. The headbands are hand sewn using silk thread and the head edge is sponged with acrylic inks and sprinkled with gold leaf. The inside continues with the cutaway theme showing off the leather hinge, marbled paper endpapers, fills and corners. 

    booksspeakplain5-karenhanmer

    How did you approach this cutaway binding? Did you study Mark Esser’s models at the University of Iowa?
    I’ve made a lot of partially-finished models. They’re useful for teaching and help me remember process. But cutaways are something different since they appear unfinished and fully complete at the same time. Peter Verheyen has loaned me his springback cutaways several times, and I used them for reference when making my first cutaways. I’d admired Mark Esser’s two cutaway fine bindings in the University of Iowa’s online collection for a long time and was able to spend time with them on two trips to Iowa City this spring.

    I was able to use my design binding on Books Will Speak Plain twice this fall: for both an online exhibit of cutaways, and in a traveling set book exhibition. For the latter I added tooling to reference the binding process: the sewing supports and lacing, the turn-ins and fills, and the board-shaping.

    – – – – 

    The online exhibit that Karen mentioned above, is an annual themed exhibit held by the Book Arts Web called Bind-O-Rama. For 2013, the theme was historical cutaway models. The online exhibit can be viewed here

    Although I don’t know Karen very well (yet), she’s been incredibly sweet and supportive of my work. I first met Karen at her bindery in Glenview, Illinois. My friend, Anna, and I were in town for an exhibition at the Chicago Public Library; where both Karen and I had bindings on display. Since then I’ve kept in touch with Karen, leaning on her from time to time when I needed help. 

    I’ve had two opportunities to watch her work, which is quite fun. Once when she came to North Bennet Street School to teach us the flag book structure and most recently during the Standards of Excellence 2013 conference in Washington, DC. I hope to have more opportunities like this in the future. 

    After the jump is a wonderfully thoughtful interview with Karen, where she shares her experiences with bookbinding, teaching and marketing. Come back each Sunday during the month of December for more in-depth posts on Karen’s work in the field of bookbinding and artist books. 

    read more >


  3. Horizon: Online Catalog

    March 5, 2013 by Erin Fletcher

    Flatland-ErinFletcher

    After waiting patiently for months, the catalog for the Guild of Book Workers Traveling Exhibition: Horizon is now online!! I am so honored to be apart of this show, exhibiting with other binders and book artists whom I respect. Here are a few of my favorites from the show:

    1. I love the dyed goatskin and layered elements which include painted lizard on Coleen Curry’s Tamalpais Walking
    2. I am always amazed by the work of Mark Esser. His craftsmanship is always executed perfectly: William Anthony, Fine Binder
    3. Ever since I visited Karen Hanmer at her home bindery where she graciously allowed me to handle her work, this book has been one of my favorites: Horizons… Capri
    4. Horizon, Where Earth Meets Sky bound by Priscilla Spitler, whom I believe is one of the best at executing pictorial designs out of leather and other materials
    5. 42nd Parallel bound by Wendy Withrow is such an elegantly designed book on a theme we can all relate

    I also had the delight of being exhibited alongside three of my classmates from North Bennet Street School:
    1. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions bound by Erin Fletcher (that’s me)
    2. The Silmarillion bound by Heather Bain
    3. Dance of Death bound by Samuel Feinstein
    4. Hiroshima bound by Rebecca Koch


  • 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.
    Read more...
    Newsletter SignupBlog SubscribeFacebook PageContact Me
  • Categories
  • Friends
  • Archives