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Bonus // Bookbinder of the Month: Sonya Sheats

June 30, 2013 by Erin Fletcher


Photo by Brandon Constant

Les Mémoires de L’Oiseau Mendelssohn by Monique Lepeuve was bound by Sonya Sheats in 2005 and was her first polycarbonate binding made during her first apprenticeship with Edgard Claes in Belguim. It tells the story of a bird by the name of Mendelssohn, who introduces the reader to the incredible characters in his family.

This style of binding is referred to as “À Creneaux” and is archival in the sense that no glue or paste is applied to the text block. The signatures are sewn directly to the PVC spine with monofilament and could safely be removed by simply cutting the monofilament. The hinge between the polycarbonate covers and PVC spine is made from a spring-loaded watch pin.

Sonya talks about her process for creating the airbrushed covers:
The painted covers were done using two different processes. First, I applied four coats of paint with an airbrush (red, blue, white, and yellow ochre), and while these coats were all still wet, I took a steel brush and lightly scraped the paint. This created the fine bamboo-like grain of the design. Second, I used a series of templates to mask portions of the covers and airbrushed feather-like forms in shades of purple, circles in purple and lime, and black contour lines throughout the design.


Photo by Brandon Constant



Photo by Brandon Constant 

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  • My name is Erin Fletcher, owner and bookbinder of Herringbone Bindery in Boston. Flash of the Hand is a space where I share my process and inspirations.
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