RSS Feed
  1. My Hand // Designing Books

    May 3, 2020 by Erin Fletcher

    Writing about my own work has become an important part of my practice. It gives me an opportunity to reflect on my designs and techniques in addition to sharing my work with others. I hope these posts will inspire and inform others about the creative world of bookbinding.

    Design Bindings:

    2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke // one / two
    Happy Abstract by William Blake
    La Prose du Transsibérien by Blaise Cendrars with pochoir by Sonia Delaunay-Terk [Re-creation by Kitty Maryatt]

    Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of Frugal Fabric by Linzee Kull McCray
    Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

    The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde

    Dune by Frank Herbert // edge decoration / headbands / covering

    Goose Eggs & Other Fowl Expressions

    Field Book of Western Wild Flowers by Margaret Armstrong // one / two / three

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
    Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
    Fantasy & Nonsense by James Whitcomb Riley
    Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott
    James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
    Little Birds by Anaïs Nin
    The BFG by Roald Dahl
    The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl
    The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
    The Twits by Roald Dahl

    Client Work:
    The New House by David Mamet

    Into This World by Natalie Goldberg

    Ye Sette of Odd Volumes

    – clamshell boxes: Almost Home by Laura Davidson
    – multi-section slipcase: Charles Dickens Christmas Set
    Residence in Bermuda

    – clamshell boxes: Bullet Boxes
    Massachusetts Law Review Journals
    Three Nyatitis and Talek by Evan Ziporyn and Christine Southworth // one / two

    Talking to Myself journal
    – clamshell box: William Shakespeare Miniature Set

  2. Client Work: Single Section Full Leather Binding // Part Two

    August 1, 2013 by Erin Fletcher


    If you missed Part One of this post, you can check it out here.

    After cautiously and carefully paring a rather large piece of goatskin, I was ready to cover. Being that it’s summertime and rather warm in our bindery, I was faced with the challenge of a thirsty piece of leather and quick-drying paste. After wrestling with the leather, particularly the headcaps and corners, the book was successfully covered and put to rest overnight. 

    The design on the cover is quite simplistic, an inspiration from the first musical score titled Three Nyatitis. A nyatiti is a five to eight-stringed plucked lyre from Kenya. The eight lines are spaced wider at the head of the cover then at the tail, where they end to form a partial circular shape. This negative space represents the sound hole of the instrument. The lines have been blind tooled into the leather.  

    musicalscoresbinding9-erinfletcher musicalscoresbinding7-erinfletcher

    The title for each composition has been gold tooled along the visible spine of the leather on either side of the blind-tooled lines. Each title has been hand-tooled with 16 point Centaur handle letters.

    sheetmusic-erinfletcher sheetmusictext-erinfletcher

    An interior shot showcasing the beautifully handmade paste papers from Deena Schnitman.

  3. Client Work: Single Section Full Leather Binding // Part One

    July 30, 2013 by Erin Fletcher

    STORY OF THE TEXT: For his 50th birthday, my client, commissioned two pieces of music to be played during his celebration in Kenya. Each piece is inspired by two distinct features of Kenya, the Talek river and the nyatitis, an eight-stringed lyre instrument. As a commemoration of this event, he approached me to bind the sheet music into a full leather binding.

    ABOUT THE BINDING: The sheet music came to me as 17 individual loose sheets. At the same time, the most recent The New Bookbinder (Volume 32) from the Designer Bookbinders appeared at our bindery. The journal contains an excellent and detailed article by Ingela Dierick titled Single Section Bradel Binding.

    Using this article as a guide, I decided to guard the scores as a single signature. A single sheet of light green/gray Hahnemühle ingres was used to divide the two compositions. A single folio of the same ingres and a folio of pool blue handmade paper from Katie MacGregor was wrapped around the single signature to act as endpapers. 


    Once the signature was ready, I prepared a stub out of the same pool blue handmade paper to the thickness of the signature. The signature was pamphlet sewn to the stub, the layers of the stub were glued together using PVA and then put under weight until the next day. After trimming the text block and stub to size, I was ready to attach my final endpaper. A single sheet of waste paper was tipped onto the stub at the height of my shoulder. The waste sheet is then folded back and the endpaper is tipped onto the same position. The waste paper is then wrapped back around the fold of the endpaper. This creates a zig-zag and leaves a pocket for the false shoulder. This final endpaper will also act as the paste down and is a handmade paste paper designed by Deena Schnitman


    A false shoulder made from cord of appropriate thickness is tipped into the pocket between the waste paper that is tipped to the stub and where it wraps around the endpaper. The book is then placed into a press or job backer and the stub is rounded to create the shape of the spine and the shoulder. This is done with a bone folder and some force. From here I added the leather wrapped headbands and six layers of spine linings, which extend beyond the head and tail. Once the spine is dry, it is then sanded down smooth.  


    At this point, I attached a bonnet to the spine. The bonnet included a spine stiffener and was then slit to allow for the leather turn-in at the headcaps. Boards were laminated from 1.5 mm millboard and 20 pt. and attached to the waste sheet. The waste sheet was then torn off and smoothed down. Lastly, the boards were sanded to have a subtle chamfered shape. 


  • 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.
    The StudioNewsletterInstagramEmail me
  • Archives