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Posts Tagged ‘jeanne goodman’

  1. Guild of Book Workers – Standards of Excellence Seminar // Cleveland 2015

    October 25, 2015 by Erin Fletcher

    I woke up very, very early on a Thursday morning to catch a flight out of Boston to Cleveland in order to attend the evening festivities planned for the first day of the Guild of Book Workers Standards of Excellence Seminar. I was delighted to be on the same flight with Deborah Howe, Collections Conservator at the Baker-Berry Library at Dartmouth College. The weekend-long event filled with book-related discussions had officially begun.

    We arrived in Cleveland to a brisk, yet sunny morning. My wonderful friends and colleagues, Henry Hebért and Jeanne Goodman, picked us up at the airport and we were off to the hotel located just a short walk from Lake Erie (and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame).

    The first day of Standards began with book-related tours across the city. At the last moment, I was able to snag a spot on the tour of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Our docent, a fellow GBW member, gave us a brief tour through the Western Art galleries, stopping from time to time to show off books from their spectacular collection. It was a real treat to see some fine examples of Western-style bindings and manuscripts.


    In 2002, the Museum underwent renovations that included this beautiful 39,000 square foot enclosed glass atrium that connects the original building with the newer wing and is where we met our tour guide. (click to enlarge images)


    We appropriately began our tour of early bindings with an Egyptian Book of the Dead of Hori scroll on papyrus dating roughly around 1969 – 945 BC. We swiftly made our way to the 11th century as our docent pointed out this beautiful Byzantine binding with the primary headbands still intact.

    We then saw a small collection of illuminated manuscripts with pigments that had been wonderfully preserved and appeared as bright as if they were created yesterday.


    As a great lover of Flemish art, Queen Isabella treasured her library of devotional books; on display at the museum is a Book of Hours crafted for her by the most talented manuscript painters active in Ghent and Bruges during early 1500s. This circle of artists were renowned for their border decoration that often featured realistically painted flowers, scrolling acanthus leaves, birds and butterflies.


    The Gotha Missal dating from about 1370 – 72 is shown in the image above (left) opens to a lovely miniature painting with vines running along the margins. Since the interest for most displayed book is in the content, binders get to see very little of the actual binding. Fortunately, the CMA has digitized and photographed a large portion of their collection. The leather binding over wooden boards is quite a beautiful example of a decorative medieval binding. The tooling could have been completed with a decorative roll and covers the entire surface of the covers.

    Next in the tour was a highly decorated leather case with cut-work and hand painted details in blue once used to cover a Qu’ran dated to sometime in the 15th century. We also saw a leaf from a Jain manuscript from India dating to sometime in the 15th – 16th century. But the final piece we saw was by far my favorite.


    An Illustrated Marriage of Apparitions (Bakemono konrei emaki) is a humorous hand scroll created in the mid-1800s. The story is mainly told through imagery with cartouches scattered amongst the illustrations as a way to describe the scene (much like a comic book). The scroll is displayed open to the part of the story with the birth of the first child between two apparitions or bakemono. A procession of 100 whimsical and supernatural monsters follow the couple through their matchmaking, engagement, marriage and finally to childbirth.


    The evening reception occurred at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Education Foundation. This was my first time at the Morgan and I was blown away by the size of the space. It was covered with a multitude of various creations. From what I could gather, the space was divided into different areas, a small shop right near the entrance, an area for printing, the center of the room was used as an exhibitions space, and the back half was for paper making and other workshops. I did miss out on the tour of the garden just outside the building in the back, but I heard it was absolutely gorgeous.


    Buoyancy was the exhibit on view at the Morgan, which explores themes of water and swimming and includes the work of Aimee Lee and Kristen Martincic. I really enjoyed Kristen’s realistic paper recreations of objects used in the water. Aimee created a large and impressive assortment of intricately woven sculptural ducks from hanji dyed with natural pigments.


    left: Aimee Lee | right: Kristen Martincic

    Being that we were on the turf of the Midwest Chapter, members were invited to bring books for a pop-up exhibit. To our delight, this was also on display during the opening reception.


    The books on display in the image above from left to right are: Cris Clair Takacs: Remembering Jan Bohuslav Sobota, Karen Hanmer: Bookbinding with Numerous Engravings and Diagrams and Richard BakerLe Tour du Monde en Quatre-Vingts Jours (Around the World in Eighty Days).


    Working down the exhibit table is Eric Alstrom’s The Long Goodbye (seen on the left) and Charles Wisseman‘s World Bones. 


    Next up Biblio Tech: Reverse engineering historical and modern binding structures from Karen Hanmer.


    On the left is Tunnel of Love from Mary Uthuppuru with miniatures from Gabrielle Fox on the right.

    Wrapping up my tour of the exhibit table is Joanna Kluba‘s Rainer Maria Rilke: Poems on the left and Emily Martin‘s Who Gets to Say on the right.

    That concludes day one of the Standards Seminar. Stay tuned for part two of the post soon.

  2. Conservation Conversations // About Equipmemt

    December 30, 2014 by Jeanne Goodman

    Book conservation labs are an interesting hybrid of a paper conservation lab and a bindery. Much of the equipment in a bindery you could find in a book lab, but not necessarily the other way around. Book labs can also be divided by activities, when space allows. Some processes are dirtier then others (such as sanding, red-rotted book repair, mold vacuuming) and need to be kept separate from clean spaces (washing sink, paper repair areas).

    Of the many considerations when deciding which equipment should be acquired and in what order, I would say the first is to identify and prioritize the needs of the collection you are conserving. If there is a large collection of over-sized maps, the documentations washing sink should be of a size to safely accommodate slightly bigger then the average size of those maps. Some equipment, such as a leafcaster, are highly specialized and you may not acquire one until much later when the right project or the funds become available. Other considerations to muck up the works are: square footage of the space available to you, budget, floor neighbors, budget, space infrastructural needs (water source, ventilation, outlets, noise suppression), availability of equipment…..and BUDGET.

    Just for fun, I am going to ignore all that annoying stuff and just give you the coveted lab equipment that made my list. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I stuck to things that you would find in a lab but not a bindery.

    Encapsulator. Used to create custom polyester sleeves for flat paper items. Not air tight as to create a micro-climate, the sleeve protects a fragile item by giving it support from both sides by a clear polyester film and leaves all physical attributes and information completely visible. Unique to the conservation world, this machine was invented by Bill Minter, another book conservator. How it works: an ultrasonic welder attached to a brace bar with a motor that it allows it to travel back and forth along the bar as the welder welds two sheets of polyester film together around the paper object. The item/polyester sandwich is held in place on the table by a blanket of magnets which also pushes out any air and keeps the item flat.

    Suction table. For controlled use of moisture and/or solvents to a localize area of flat paper during conservation treatment, especially useful with items that have friable or fugitive media. Invented by Marilyn Weidner in 1972, another clever and inventive conservator, this unique piece equipment will be found in most paper labs. How it works: The table work surface is a perforated aluminum top which draws air down providing a uniform suction over the entire work surface. Clean, dry blotter is placed between the item and work surface as treatments are performed.






    Vacuuming mold from books

    Fume hood. Used to protect workers from solvent fumes and exposure to mold spores. Conservators will place  mold contaminated items inside to vacuum and for treatment. Also a place to perform small treatments with solvents if you do not have a fume trunk. Not unique to conservation, fume hoods and trunks are found in chemical and bio labs that use solvents. How they work: fume hoods (or cabinets) are typically enclosed on five sides and have a sliding glass opening at about standing work height. They can be either ducted or recirculating, but both work the same by drawing in air from the open side of the cabinet and expelling the air outside the building or made safe through a system of filtration and recirculated into the building. (wiki answer)

    Documents Washing Sink. Just how it sounds, a giant sink for washing paper. The sink is typically custom sized to the space and standing working height with a special water filtration source. The large flat area is necessary for not only washing and humidifying large paper items, but can also be used to hold multiple trays to wash and humidify smaller items.






    Before treatment

    Photo documentation. The equipment used for photo documentation vary from extravagant use of space (separate room with multiple copy stands, backdrops, dedicated lights and tech) to more humble situations (plexi glass on stacked crates and roll of grey paper mounted to the wall), but all will have a dedicated camera, typically a high quality DSLR. Photos are taken before and after treatment and are included in the written treatment report that accompanies all conserved items. Documentation of items being conserved is an industry standard and a dedicated photo documentation area in the lab helps streamline the process to make it less time consuming.

  3. Conservation Conversations // About Spaces

    October 2, 2014 by Jeanne Goodman

    In the first Conservation Conversations, way back in January, Anna brought up the idea of working in a “studio” or “lab”. There is another running joke that is very true about conservators always ending up in the basement. It’s not because the PTB* don’t like us, but when designing conservation spaces, there are a myriad of factors to account for some of which are proper ventilation, water sources, and public access. It all begins with what actual physical space is available. In some cases, a conservation department is added on later in the institution’s history, which can limit the spaces available properly suited for a conservation lab. Hence, basement dwellings. Or the attic. Or that closet that used to belong to facilities.

    Whatever the case may be, re-purposing a space to our needs (as we sometimes do with tools) is not an unusual situation to be in and if we are really lucky, and been really good and the stars are aligned just right, we could also be in on the planning for a brand new space.

    The following are images of studios, labs, and binderies I have had the pleasure to visit along with some solutions and customizations for how spaces can be re-purposed for conservation.

    conservation lab in a historical building

    Believe it or not, this lab is actually located in the basement level of the building, which sits on a hill overlooking a cemetery. This side of the building includes windows that are historical to the structure. Due to this fact and that the windows are original, renovation plans to update the conservation lab had to include them in the designs. Most conservators would give their non-dominant arm for a window (don’t even ask me what we do for more than one window). However, windows are difficult for us in two ways: 1) they can mess with the stability of your inner environment such as temperature and relative humidity. Drastic changes in temperature and weather on the outside are buffered better by insulated walls rather then floor to ceiling windows. And 2) sunlight coming through must be filtered for UV to protect objects that might be staying in the lab while they are worked on. The Solution: modern windows with UV filtering glass were built on the inside of the historical ones allowing for better insulation. A building inside a building.

    private bench for rent in a shared bindery space

    This is a bindery studio located on the 6th floor of a Warehouse Building, that also houses other artists and small businesses. The bindery shares the floor with a photography studio. There are four work benches that are rented by the month and renters pay for their own special supplies. Large equipment like board shears and book presses are shared as well as the overhead for utilities and basic book materials such as bookboard, lining material, text block paper and adhesives.

    example of a university conservation lab

    This lab was added to a brand new space built on University grounds, which enabled the head conservator to have input on many specifications for the space as it was being built. The building is on one level and is shared with classroom spaces and offices. Modifications for this lab were better insulation and HVAC systems to control the environment as much as possible. Due to public access of the building, the lab also has a top of the line security system.

    private artist studio used as a bindery

    This bindery is located in a more traditional building of Artist Studios. Artists rent studio space by the square footage and bring in there own equipment and supplies. This collective also has a shared gallery space on the first floor where artists can have there own shows and work collaboratively with one another.

    paper lab lunder2lunder3

    This lab is located in a Museum and was built in a way that the public could observe conservators as they work. The paper conservation lab is shown here and two of the walls are clear so visitors can walk around the entire lab.

    example of a conservation lab used for teaching

    And last, this space is part of a Conservation School. Here, students learn about treatments and work on individual projects. The school also hosts workshops on conservation, which is when this picture was taken. Three pairs of tables are spaced evenly in the center of the room, each with recessed light boxes. Overhead fume hoods on movable, retractable necks from the ceiling are spaced through the center of the room so they can be adjusted over any workstation including over the large washing sink. Two rooms bookend this larger space, one used for photo conservation and the other dedicated exclusively to book projects. The school also hosts workshops on conservation, which is when this picture was taken.

    These examples represent only a small number of conservation spaces that are out there, but you start to get the picture. If there is a kind of space not represented or if you know of a particularly interesting solution to a space re-purposing conundrum, I would love to hear about it! Please post in the comments below.

    *PTB=Powers That Be. These can be a board of trustees, company president, or someone just known as Your Boss.

    **All pictures used here with permissions of the owners of the spaces. If you would like to know where any individual picture was taken, please email with the request.


  4. North Bennet Street School // Student & Alumni Exhibit 2013

    May 30, 2013 by Erin Fletcher

    At the annual Student & Alumni Exhibit for North Bennet Street School, the 2013 graduating Bookbinding class* showcased their design bindings for the set book The Periodic Table by Primo Levi. The text is largely a memoir of the years before and after Levi was transported to Auschwitz. Through a set of chapters titled after elements on the periodic table, Levi recounts his Jewish community in Italy and his life as a student and young chemist; exposing how life’s pleasures can resist and endure in the face of tyranny.


    Kevin Sheby bound his edition in black goatskin with hand-dyed goatskin onlays, tooled with palladium. The title and author are also hand tooled in palladium. Edges decorated with graphite and irregularly gilt with palladium. Kevin finished off the inside covers with black goatskin doublures and sunken ebonized veneer panels.


    Jeanne Goodman covered her binding in full navy blue goatskin with sunken hexagon panels on either cover displaying two illustrations from the text. Each illustration is created through the use of several decorative techniques including feathered onlays, tooling in blind and gold and surface gilding in palladium. A tooled double border in gold runs along the outer edges of the covers. All three edges are gilt in gold and the interior is finished with handmade graphite paste papers.


    Bound in full black goatskin, Katrina Kiapos, accented her design binding with a minimalist, geometric design. Three onlays in shades of black and grey mirror each other from the front and back covers. Katrina hand tooled the title and author in palladium. Edges decorated with graphite and sprinkled with palladium. The interior is covered with black goatskin doublures and leather flyleaves.


    Betsy Roper bound her design binding in full hand-dyed goatskin. The skin was dyed to have a mottled look, creating texture and movement. Various hexagons are placed on the front and back cover, both protruding from and sinking into the boards. Title hand tooled in blind. Edges decorated in a soft brown tone. A marbled paper accents the island paste down and flyleaf.


    Avery Bazemore created a design to reflect the chapters of the book, emphasizing the section about gold with a surface gilt square onlay on the front cover. The book is bound in full grey goatskin with additional onlays in black goatskin. Title and author were hand tooled in carbon. Head edge decorated before sewing in graphite; Avery again emphasizes the chapter in gold by gilding that particular section of the text. The single line continues onto the headband and headcap. The interior is finished off with leather doublures.


    Covered in full dark green goatskin, Lauren Schott created a design binding reminiscent of the Art Deco era. Hand tooled gilt lines run the height of the front cover, wrapping around the spine, board edges and back cover leaving the outline of a hexagon. The title and author were also hand tooled in gold. Edges decorated with graphite and sprinkled with gold leaf.

    In addition to student work, a small handful of alumni work was also on display.


    Library of Babel bound by Colin Urbina in full brown goatskin and hand tooled in a repeating hexagon pattern. A single hexagon is gilt on the front cover. Edges decorated with alternating shades of brown and chartreuse green.


    A full leather rounded spine clamshell box from Samuel Feinstein. The front cover has a built-in window to house a printed portrait of Walt Whitman in addition to a gold tooled border along the frame.


    The Complete Works of Shakespeare bound by Celine Lombardi in full red goatskin. Titling and cover design hand tooled in gold. Each title on the spine is linked to a tab on the foredge of the text block through a corresponding gilt line.


    There are four great pieces on display in this case. On either corner are two of my bindings: Fantastic Mr. Fox and James and the Giant Peach. Last year, Marie Oedel paired up with book artist Laura Davidson (whom I interviewed on my blog in April) to make custom boxes for her book Every Nib. Lastly, is Celine Lombardi’s Murmurations, a small edition printed and bound during her year long fellowship at The Center for Book Arts in New York.

    * Nancy Baker’s set book was taken from the exhibit before I could photograph it for this blog post.

  • 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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