Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Foundation course... first steps in bookbinding and book arts.

As my reader may have noticed, I have a series of bookbinding courses... from foundation to advanced. It is not often I post images of foundation work on my page but I thought I would share one of my students work.. This is the students first multi sectional, rounded and backed case binding, with hand made and applied endbands. The book cloth was decorated by the students in under 3 minutes... The future is bright, the future is.... many colours.
Please note that this is the work of a foundation student (day 6) Please note that this post should not be used a tutorial.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Victorian, full cloth case binding restoration/repair... Finished.

Simple full cloth restoration/repair of a Victorian (1871) case binding and text block. The text block has had a bit of a sort out with the old spine linings removed and replaced, a little manipulation to get the shape back and apart from tidying up a few wispy bits the restoration/repair work is finished. The book now opens well and is secure. As one can see the square is (in my opinion) to big for the thickness of the board. However, the client wishes for the book to retain as much of the original as is reasonably possible.
Please note, I am not a full time restorer, the methods and techniques I use may be different to ones others use, different does not automatically mean wrong.



Monday, 4 June 2018

Victorian, full cloth case binding restoration/repair.

 Not often seen on my bench..... For many years I worked as a bench monkey.. standing at a bench and working for peanuts. I learned so much, more of that later...... a book repair job.  I do not usually do restoration work, however for interesting jobs, a nice person or for long term clients... exceptions are made.. Please note, I am not a full time restorer, the methods and techniques I use may be different to ones others use, different does not automatically mean wrong.

 I balance the requirements of the book, the clients wishes and what I think is applicable. Oh yes... and budget.

  My ethos is simple when it comes to this sort of work. Minimal intervention, keep what is important, both for the history of the book and the owners needs/wishes. Be reasonable in costs and no B.S.

 The usual Victorian, cloth bound case binding. Very bumped, worn spine and some dear in the past has adhered the spine of the text block to the spine piece... got to love them......

The text block is removed from the case and will be worked on separately.

 Once the turn ins have been peeled back the true extent of the damage to the boards can be seen. The square is way too big and has become vulnerable to bumps, knocks, warping over the edge of the text block. This in turn has led to the board de-laminating.


 What still fascinates is the archeology of the book. In this case the hemp boards, with either soot of cinders trapped among the fibres, things like that still fire my imagination.


 Repair papers are toned by cross-hatching various coloured pencil crayons.



 The problem with this particular book is that the square is too big for the thickness on the board resulting in the board edges becoming very vulnerable. The corners have been repaired and reinforced with a repair paper, the boards have been retained - lined with a 130gsm neutral ph paper. The spine has been repaired with a repair paper a new spine piece of manila has been applied.

The work on the restoration of this Victorian, full cloth case binding draws to a close. The Case was allowed to dry around the text block, under pressure/weights overnight. The corners are firm, the board edges are stiff.


I know everyone bangs on about leather restoration and the like but cloth bindings do have a patina that works with age.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

The ABA Rare Book Fair London, Evolution of a book... in the studio. A re-think.

 It is bizarre, I sit in front of the computer for a portion of every day I am in the studio. I know the potential of the device and am in the shadow of many when it come to realising the potential of this new (new when compared to many other forms of doing things....) device that has changed so many lives and aspects of our everyday lives. It sits on the work desk, allowing me to access a new world that I realise I know so little about. Over time, as new ways of communicating, seeing and being seen have become available, the time worn phrase " the world gets smaller and smaller" is often heard or read.
I am not sure that the world becomes smaller, I believe that I have become smaller as I now realise how small a thing a single life is when compared to the whole of life before during and after.. Any way less of my ramblings. Back to Evolution.

It has taken me sometime but I have, at last, sort of finished the text block for my workshops for the ABA Battersea Evolution, London SW8 4NW .
A combination of a construction technique used by the Pamphleteers, old school cut and paste as used in early Fanzines and the trusty Mac and printer. It has been something of an evolution - from one revolution to another. The finished Booklet/Pamphlet with have an end paper and a semi limp cover.

 I have often said that I combine, perhaps now I am beginning to evolve as well. By drawing into the huge potential of the immediate of the machine I sit in front of, I will be able push my work forward.

 The finished text block combines different skills  from different ages. A combination of the traditional with the now. Perfect.

A B A Book Fair.....

Monday, 7 May 2018

Evolution.. How a book evolves in the studio......

 I suppose the first thing is to have the idea , the notion of what the book will be about. This book is my interpretation of evolution. How something, in this case a book starts, the stages, the cul-de-sacs of thought and doing that follows a path, eventually expiring forcing us to begin a new path, a new process of evolution.

 First the paper is stretched, when dry, the base colour is applied, bold sweeps of sponge and pigment, enhancing the subtle texture of the page.

 As with much work it is often a question of waiting.. waiting. Then the frantic dash, waiting, waiting.....

 Since the Man Booker, last year, I have been enthralled with this little chap. Since his creation, I have wanted to give him a new life and I think that Evolution could be perfect for him.

 Further to my interest in the little chap the copies of him, less eyes and the like (used to create the multiple eyes, noes and mouths held a fascination. A little macabre perhaps, like experiments in evolution, tragically wrong or small steps in the evolutionary process.

 By arranging the various elements on a spreads I am able to create the narrative, a pictorial journey.  The enlarged half tone lends depth and a physical tension. The almost machined, plain factory functionality of the dots reacting with and against the frailty of experimental evolution and an element of the state of human kind.







 Finally the stretched paper is released from board........




 .... and the final spreads cut in preparation for the next process.




Saturday, 21 April 2018

Evolution A B A battersea, London.



Cut and paste, with the first image now complete only a few more to go .....