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Extra Bonus // Bookbinder of the Month: Tracey Rowledge

March 31, 2015 by Erin Fletcher


To finish off the interview series with Tracey Rowledge, I wanted to present one final binding (or two really). Just last year Tracey bound two copies of A Little Treachery by Libby Houston, one in full leather and one in paper.

It can seem challenging to push the envelope with a single signature text block. Yet, I think, when one begins to experiment, the creativity flows and the possibilities seem endless. What were your goals for the binding of A Little Treachery and how did you come to settle on this 2-part pamphlet structure?
I was commissioned to bind this book, having already bound it once as a full leather fine binding. The client liked the first binding but wanted his binding to be paper-covered. This commission gave me the luxury to revisit and develop the image I’d created for the first binding. As always, and as with the first binding I made, I wanted the book to open flat, so I devised this structure.


A Little Treachery by Libby Houston with dry point by Julia Farrer (Circle Press Publications 1990) // Bound in purple/blue goatskin, sewn on a stub, with leather-jointed hand-coloured endpapers, rounded and backed and gold tooled in Palladium.

Creating a structure bespoke for this book is no different to my creating a structure for an antiquarian book, or for a fine binding that may have alterations in the structure unbeknownst to the viewer. Really I approach all that I do in the same way: I always put the needs of the book first, employing all that I know in order to do the best thing for the book.

ALittleTreachery2-TraceyRowledge ALittleTreachery3-TraceyRowledge

My creative input is always there, it’s what gives the object its look, shape and feel. It’s just that in some bindings I may give deference to the age of the text-block and therefore leave room for the book as an artefact to take centre stage, rather than allowing myself to butt in with anything I might feel a pressing need to convey at that moment. Perhaps it’s all about trying to have good manners, about knowing when is the right moment to speak and when is the right moment to listen.

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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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