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Posts Tagged ‘elbel libro’

  1. Bookbinder of the Month: Ben Elbel

    July 12, 2015 by Erin Fletcher


    I love this structure developed by Ben Elbel, which he appropriately named Onion Skin Binding. A lovely description inspired by layering effect that creates the mesmerizing maze-like spine. In this post I talk about this structure with Ben starting with its development to how he’s adapted the structure.

    The Onion Skin is another one of your innovative structures. Did you develop the structure around an existing project or was it simply a product of play and experimentation?
    Absolutely a product of play back in my student years when I had a lot of time on my hands. :)

    It was born from playing around with the idea of guards/stubs in photo albums. I introduced colour, and tried to use uninterrupted pieces of paper and suddenly the pattern was born. Readability is a key element of my personal work. I like to be able to follow a line, understand how something is built and be able to take it appart mentally. This is also the idea behind my ‘dos rapporté’ binding.


    The Onion Skin binding is another structure that you offer as an online workshop and is also how I learned the technique. I found it to be surprisingly simple once I understood the pattern of the layering. Is this a challenging structure to teach (particularly online)?
    Exactly as you say. Once you have understood the sequence it is very simple to make, and consequently very simple to teach too.

    If you don’t have the opportunity to take Ben’s online course, you can simply purchase his comprehensive tutorial here.

    You’ve really played around with this structure; can you talk about how you’ve adapted the binding?
    I have adapted the principle for a single section binding- the signature is sewn on a single stub made from different layers of paper, which are then folded and glued around the initial connection, until it is thick enough to form shoulders to accommodate boards, exactly as in a traditional binding.


  2. July // Bookbinder of the Month: Ben Elbel

    July 1, 2015 by Erin Fletcher


    Boven Kamers is a collaborative Dutch pop-up book between neuroscientist Gerard J. Boer, professor Harry B.M. Uijlings, paper artist Ingrid Siliakus and graphic designer Moon Brouwer. The book contains a total of six laser cut pop-up spreads which send the reader on a tour through the human brain and its functions. Printed in a limited edition of 50, each book is numbered and signed.

    Ben Elbel‘s innovative rebinding of this book was just completed earlier this year.

    I have been waiting in anticipation to see this binding after you spoke to me about it. In your newsletter on this binding, you mention that the compensation folios are sewn together. The spine opens to a sharp ‘V’ allowing the pages to lay flat, can you elaborate on the sewing structure and any treatment done to the spine?
    Boven Kamers (literally means upper rooms in Dutch, a colloquial expression meaning brain), is an exploration of the human brain in the form of a pop up book, by the young Dutch designer and publisher Moon Brouwer.

    I was commissioned to re-bind the book by the Dutch Royal Library (The Hague).

    When I first received it, the book presented itself as a series of folios laminated with one another, each folio containing a pop up. A hard cover was provided but disconnected from the textblock.

    Technically, the challenge was to provide compensation for the pop-ups as well as a perfectly flat surface for them to smoothly unfold, all of this without sewing and without introducing blank pages between the folios.

    After some research I concluded that none of the existing binding structures (traditional or contemporary) were quite suitable to do all this, so I created a new one from scratch.


    It took about a year and the result is a series of ‘T’ elements made from heavy paper, sewn with one another. The folios are inserted between each T and secured only at the fore-edge. On the next images one can see how the spread ‘floats’ on top of the binding, allowing the pop up to fully unfold. The original cover was mounted at the back of the book and a lettering was created, on the spine and front board, to evoke a kind of staircase leading to the upper rooms.


    You can read a bit more about the binding and see some images of the book at various stages through the design process here.

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    Ben and I have kept in contact ever since he embarked on offering online courses (more on that in the interview). His work and business ethic are quite inspiring as Elbel Libro has expanded beyond the traditional bindery. He ceases to amaze me with his sleek designs and innovative binding structures. There seems to be no stopping his creativity.

    Check out the interview after the jump and make sure you come back during the month of July for even more probing questions regarding a selection of Ben’s work. You can get email reminders by subscribing to the blog, just click hereread more >

  • 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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