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Posts Tagged ‘gold tooling’

  1. Bookbinder of the Month: Tracey Rowledge

    March 15, 2015 by Erin Fletcher


    This is one of my favorite bindings from Tracey Rowledge; the tooling is brilliantly executed and in such a way that is perplexing. Which is precisely why it was included in the interview. Tracey bound this edition of Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story by Paul Auster in 1997 using native red goatskin.

    I’m really intrigued by the design for the binding of Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story that you created in 1997. I would love to hear about the steps involved in executing the design; from the detailed image of this book, the tooling appears staggered, as if the depth of the impressions varied. Were you using a series of hand-made tools to create the overall design and this effect?
    This was a pivotal binding for me, as this image dictated that I alter my gold tooling technique from using albumen glaire and laying the gold on the book, to using BS Glaire and picking the gold up on the tool (Ivor’s method). The tooling was done using a series of pallets and irregular shape brass finishing tools (which I’d made), that overlapped in order to fill various shapes in the image. This was the first time I’d used Caplain leaf (18 carat), it’s a difficult leaf to work with as it’s quite brittle. It remains a favourite leaf to use as it doesn’t tarnish and has a wonderful melancholic tone.

    This book took about 100 hours to gold tool.


  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.  

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    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.

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

  3. My Hand…Little Birds

    August 20, 2012 by Erin Fletcher

    In April 2011, I took my first trip out of the country to London.  While I was there I made my way to the Natural History Museum for their touring exhibition of Sexual Nature, a show on the sexual habits of various animal species from the praying mantis to rams to angler fish to humans. I was intrigued and shocked by the facts and imagery presented in the exhibit, particularly the Green Porno shorts by Isabella Rossellini. On my way out I perused the gift shop and decided on a whim to purchase two books by Anaïs Nin (Little Birds and Delta of Venus).

    Both books are a collection of short stories published in the late 1970s posthumously. Written in the 1940s, Nin and a group of writers were given the task of writing erotica for an anonymous private collector. Her erotic shorts deal with various sexual themes, some quite taboo (varying from pedophilia to lesbianism), all the while she maintains a focus on the study of women and her female characters.

    The cover design for Little Birds was taken from the title pages of the individual stories, a ‘V’ formation of sparrows. I chose a simple color palette for my simple design, red (the color of love and seduction), white (the color of purity and innocence) and gold (the color of luxuriance). The book is bound in full scarlet goatskin leather from Harmatan.  The sparrows are surface gilt in gold leaf with white suede inlays.

    I covered the inside of each board with a leather edge to edge doublure in the same scarlet goatskin. An edge to edge doublure describes a technique where a thinly pared piece of leather covers the inside of the board, stretching from edge to edge creating a seamless transition from the outside to the inside.  The doublure also stretches over the joint and onto the text block creating a very strong attachment. Along with the leather doublure is a sunken panel filled with white suede framed in surface gilt gold leaf. The fly leaf is a handmade Lokta paper from Nepal, printed with a pattern of white feathers on a natural base.

    The book is housed in a rounded spine clamshell box, using the same materials as the binding. The spine is lined with scarlet goatskin with the title hand tooled in gold.  The case and trays are covered in the same feather pattern Lokta paper and are lined with Hahnemühle Ingres in smoke.

  • 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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