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  1. March // Bookbinder of the Month: Tracey Rowledge

    March 1, 2015 by Erin Fletcher

    FourQuartets1997a-TraceyRoweledge

    Tracey Rowledge bound her first copy of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets in 1997 (shown above) years before she would revisit the text again with a parallel binding in 2014.

    You have created two very similar bindings for T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets; bound in black goatskin with gold tooled markings. The gold tooled design on the earlier binding offers freedom and movement while the gold tooled design on the later binding feels more direct and deliberate. Can you discuss your concept behind each binding?
    For the first binding I was conscious of T. S. Eliot’s dislike for images on the covers of his books, so I decided to create two brush marks that evoked the flow of his writing, rather than creating an image depicting anything I perceived to be pictorial. This was a very early fine binding and as the book was letterpress printed on thick paper, it was my first rounded-only fine binding (i.e. not backed). It was also the most technically demanding gold tooling I’d undertaken to date.

    FourQuartets1997b-TraceyRoweledge

    Ivor (Robinson) very generously told me that my first binding of Four Quartets would be one of his desert island books, and it was during the second binding of this book that Ivor died. The image on this book responds to the text, to my first binding of the book, but also, and for me just as importantly, this image contains my thank you letter to Ivor, it was the perfect and most poignant place for it.

    FourQuartet2014-TraceyRoweledge

    – – – – – – – – – – –

    I’m so pleased to present the following interview with Tracey Rowledge. I didn’t know of Tracey’s work until Haein Song, whom I interviewed back in February of 2014, suggested that I interview her. What I came to discover is that Tracey is a keen artist who found a calling in bookbinding. Her artistic curiosities continue to influence her design choices as she blends together her artist techniques with those common to bookbinding. In the interview, I question Tracey both about her bookbinding and artwork and how the two have influenced each other.

    Check out the interview after the jump for more about Tracey, her background and creative process. Come back each Sunday during the month of March for more about Tracey’s work. You can subscribe to the blog to receive email reminders, so you never miss post.

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  2. 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. 

    musicalscorebinding1-erinfletcher

    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

    musicalscorebinding3-erinfletcher

    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.  

    musicalscorebinding4-erinfletcher

    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. 

    musicalscorebinding5-erinfletcher


  • 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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