Sunday, June 26, 2011

Devil's Dictionary - Fine Binding #3

The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce. Third fine binding. And I'm pretty proud.

I have had a couple of first quality black leather skins from Harmatan for quite a while. One had a smaller smoother grain which was flawless throughout the skin. I figured something dark and comical would fit this leather well. I used the tudor panel technique that Dominic Riley taught my class (see post - A Tudor Treat for detail) and spelled out DEVILS on the cover with layers of leather. As the front was full of texture I decided the back should show off the almost velvet-feeling leather hence the lack of tooling or design. I solid edge gilt the head to really make the board edges pop and thought an excellent challenge would be to sew completely white head bands. To those who don't know black leather --> the challenge is not smearing the headbands with purplish dust and pasty mess of the leather while covering.





Limp Vellum Glory

The first thing my dad asked when he saw this book was "Hmm, is that sturdy?" I don't remember how I responded but my answer to that question is, YES. Vellum is wonderfully strong yet can be rather difficult to work with. My short take on the process -- animal skin soft and wet stretched out so far and thin that the fibers are petrified and harden. Stiff, tough, awesome. I bound Jost Amman's Cuts of Craft-Workers. The book is sewn on alum tawed leather thongs which are weaved through the vellum case, which can be removed and/or replaced if need be. A rough edge gilt the top edge of the book. For rough edge gilding you must mix up all the pages very well and then apply gold solidly to the edge. Once the process is finished and the pages are placed in their original order the edge no longer looks like a brick of gold but instead shimmers gently and subtly. Pretty.

Fancifying Salinger

I so enjoyed my three little pocket book Salinger books, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roof beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. While extravagant in their own right they physically lacked a certain Oomph. Everybody has these tiny books, shredded old copies, new shiny ones from the South Station book store in Boston, hard copies, rare copies. Many copies. I wanted mine to be unique. Fancy and unique.

From tiny fanned glue mass produced books, they were reshaped and reformed to feature round spines, false bands made with laminated strips of leather and vellum, navy leather, gold tooled lines and titling, and marbled paper, which I made myself.

I won't go into the gory details of this structure because the transformation process can vary from book to book. Just know that it is possible to give a simple book a fancy make-over. The only flaw is that I forgot to take before pictures so I had to borrow images from Google to show the pre and post surgery photos.

Please email if you'd like a makeover for any of your beloved books.



I know.

Round Spine Box

Round-Spine Box.

I laminated bass wood to a piece of Davey book board for a super sturdy piece to plane and sand into a round. I made false bands out of Davey board, covered with chocolate colored leather from Harmatan, and gold tooled lines along the bands. Slick business. My box can now attend the Academy Awards. In no way will this box ever represent the film, The Box. Don't worry.

See An Awesome Tissue Repair for information on the book housed within this box.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Am I a part of History now? The story of how George Washington and I became BFFs

When you hear the name "George" who do think of?

I usually think of my favorite comedian, the late George Carlin. Sometimes I think of the dad from Father of the Bride, George Banks, and of course my mind can't escape the hunky and politically savvy, Mr. George Clooney.

But for the past few weeks a different George has had my attention. President George Washington. Let me explain.

By now you know that I adore constructing boxes. Small. Large. Leather. Cloth. I love boxes. I've made hexagon boxes and multi-compartment boxes. Boxes for photographs and boxes for fine bindings. My latest box project was different from all the rest in that it featured celebrity belongings. A historic celebrity. And you thought seeing Jaleel White in an LA yogurt shop was rad. (Oh yeah. That happened.)

Long story a wee bit shorter -- I was hired by the Boston Atheneum to construct 18th century boxes for some books. The books to be enclosed were owned by George Washington himself and kept in his library. They are now safe inside quarter leather boxes with italian marbled paper. I used handle letters and double lines on black leather to make the gold labels.

Who's excited? I'm excited.