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  1. May // Bookbinder of the Month: Monique Lallier

    May 1, 2014 by Erin Fletcher

    DrawingsOfCaravaggio-MoniqueLallier

    This stunning binding was created by Monique Lallier almost ten years ago. Yet the design appears so fresh and relevant to the experimentations happening with contemporary design bindings. When you land on Monique’s website, this is the binding you are greeted with and it will, no doubt, cause you to click through every single page of the gallery. The Drawings of Caravaggio by Ally Jones was bound in full scarlet leather in the French technique. The boards have been cut to reveal the red suede fly leaves through a collection of wires that have been embedded into the thickness of the board. Straddled around the top edge of the cut-out is an onlay of snakeskin. 

    The book is housed in a box covered in black silk with matching red and snakeskin onlays.

    If I remember correctly you told me that this is one of the first bindings you completed and that it is still your favorite. I love this binding as well for many reasons: the use of bright colors, contrasting textures from the goatskin, suede flyleaves and snakeskin onlay and the inclusion of a window cut-out of the cover. This window element is peppered throughout your portfolio. What does this element bring to your designs and why do you keep coming back to it?
    This binding was done in 2005. I had done the “window element” before to give space for an agate in 1985, so I suppose it evolved to an opening that was not totally filled-in like The Fables of Aesop where I have wires imbedded in the thickness of the front board and you see, through the opening to the lion stamped on the leather fly leave, or this Caravaggio, also with wires imbedded in the thickness of the boards. It was done in an advanced class for AAB (American Academy of Bookbinding) and I wanted to show the students how to line the thickness of the boards with black leather in this case.

    I suppose I keep coming back to it because I like the effect of “seeing through”, like in Les Sonnets (shown below) where the boards, the covering leather and the leather doublures are all cut out. In this case, it was to illustrate how Les Sonnets have an impression on you. (More images on this binding later!)

    LesSonnets4-MoniqueLallier

    Monique’s work is awe-inspiring. Not only do I find her bindings to be so, but also her involvement in the bookbinding community.  Our community and the craft of bookbinding thrives when talented and dedicated people like Monique become teachers. Between my first and second year at North Bennet Street School, I jumped at the opportunity to take a week-long private workshop with Monique at her home in North Carolina, where I absorbed everything she had to offer (no doubt an infinitesimal amount to the vast knowledge she holds).

    I’m really honored that Monique agreed to be interviewed for my blog, which she has complimented me about several times. So without furthering gushing, please enjoy the interview after the jump. Stay updated with posts by signing up for an email subscription. Since Monique has an ample collection of work, each week I’ll be showcasing multiple bindings including a few newly bound and unseen works!

    read more >


  2. Bookbinder of the Month: Lang Ingalls

    March 30, 2014 by Erin Fletcher

    Ici-LangIngalls

    On exhibit from June 20th to September 14th of this year is Lang Ingalls‘ binding of Ici by Roger Munier. The exhibit is sponsored by ARA France in partnership with the city of NÎmes and its renowned Carré d’Art Library for the XIth FIRA International Forum & Exhibition.

    This edition is copy 13 of 47 and is signed by the author. Bound in the reliure à cru structure in black sanded calf with sewn red thread elements. The binding is complete with squared suede headbands, suede doublures and suede flyleaves. The title, author and date are hand tooled on both covers.

    This binding stands out in your portfolio due to the absence of color in the design, however the treatment of the leather is exceptional. It reminds me of how a photocopied image begins to degrade and become fuzzy with each subsequent copy. Was this effect created through a dyeing or printing process?
    This binding was made in Paris with Ana Ruiz-Larrea last fall. The structure is called reliure a cru, a soft-cover leather binding. The text is about how all things go round, all things in life. I decided on a circular element and taped #18 thread to the back of black calf. I sanded and — viola! — the calf was distressed and the circle came through. There is a hint of red in the text, the initial letter at the start of the copy, and I borrowed from that when I made small sewings of red thread through parts of the circle. The French teach that 2/3 of your design is on the recto and 1/3 is on the verso, thus the placings of these tiny thread elements, while considering the title, author and year.


  • Visit My Bindery
    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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