West of the Plains was a juried exhibition put on by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers between 2008-09. Coleen Curry submitted two fine bindings to this exhibition, Desert Dreams by Lawrence G. Van Velzer with illustrations by Peggy Gotthold and Grand and Sublime Scenery by W.W. Elliot.
In 2008, Desert Dreams was bound as a traditional French-style fine binding, sewn on 5 cords with laced-in boards. Bound in Harmatan goatskin with matching doublures and suede fly leaves. Lacunose-style sanded leather raised onlays decorate the covers. Blind and gold leaf tooling, title is hand tooled with golf leaf. The head edge is gilded. The binding is housed in a clamshell box lined with ultra suede and covered in ‘Duo’ cloth using magnets for closure. A colored agate slice decorates the box cover.
Coleen was inspired by the vast mesa in Utah. While she drives to Telluride from California, she often travels through an area of Utah called the Paradox Valley. The colors on the binding are that very mesa. Coleen is excited about the lacunose technique because it so easily creates a feeling of landscape and motion.
Laura Wait acted as an exhibit juror and wrote quite the review of Coleen’s work: “Californian Coleen Curry’s binding “Desert Dreams”, is perhaps the finest example of traditional French binding in the show, with leather doublures, suede flyleaves and raised onlays. It also opens well!”