Monday 29 October 2007

The Man Who Died is finished.

After some 80 hours of work the Man Who Died is finished.

Front Doublure and end paper.
The Doublure is the final 'lining' of leather or paper of part or the whole (edge to edge) of the insides of the boards, pasted down as a seperate piece.

Back Doublure and end paper.
The doublures and end papers are hand printed. The book is standing on top of the box which will protect it. The label is hand printed with the title Type Set (individual letters cast in a soft metal) using a bench top Adana Printing Press.

The Adana, I have five of them in three different sizes. They are wonderful, simple to use, easy to maintain, I love them.

In a few days time I am off to India to work with some bookbinders. Very exciting and a little daunting as they suffer from leprosy. I have had so many injections for a variety of exotic sounding conditions that I feel like a walking medical cabinet. By far the worst is the antimalarial course I started a few days ago. Potential side effects are innumerable including hair loss, discolouration to the skin, hallucinations and blurring or partial or complete loss of vision. Still, it is all in a day's work.

Monday 22 October 2007

The Man Who Died

The Man Who Died by D.H. Lawrence with illustrations by John Farleigh.

A full leather binding that is very near to completion.

Front board detail

Back board detail

The original leather was Fair Goat (a pale cream colour) that I first dyed with black leather dye creating two distinct white areas.
The text block was resewn with new end papers, more about those later and end bands of Japanese silk.
Once the book had been bound I allowed it to rest. This is important as the leather can contain moisture from the various adhesives I use for some time and can effect the final look of the book. In fact a book can can spend much of the time resting inbetween the various hands on time (me working on it) During this time I usually finalise the design of the book and practise the techniques that will be employed to realise my scribbles.
The red,white and black lines and circles are seperate pieces of leather that are inlaid in to recesses that are cut in the covering leather. It sounds simple and in theory is, however, as with many simple things the detail is in the execution. The initial cuts must be correct first time and the inlays of leather must fit perfectly.

The illustrations are sumptuous wood cuts by John Farleigh

When binding a book of this nature I try not to compete with the contents (as I am in no way in the same league) I aim to compliment. I consider the end papers to be a vital key in the transition from the text block to the binding. I usually print my own, taking elements or themes from the illustrations or the text. The end papers are made with a leather joint that leads on to the Doublures (a posh way of saying the end paper adhered to the inside of the board)

Printed front end paper and doublure. The doublure will be trimmed to size and put in place over the next few days.

Thursday 18 October 2007

My Bone Folder and others

Some of my hand tools. From left to right, we first encounter the Bone Folder which is....wait for it, made from bone (bovine I think) and is used for folding and manipulating various materials. Widely considered to be the general purpose tool for the book binder. Its neighbour, the Teflon Folder, much the same use as the bone folder, much more the space age than the stone age. Next is the Awl or Bodkin, I must say that I am not sure as to the correct term so I just refer to it as The Sharp Pointy Thing. Manifold uses including working with very small pieces of leather as in the image The Bookbinder Working on Klimt (see below). We move swiftly to the Craft Knives, useful for many things including cutting stuff up. The final two knives are specialist, the all metal knife is a Straight Blade or English Paring Knife. Though in the U K we may just say Paring knife. Used the work and trim mainly leather but also vellum, paper and book cloth. The rounded knife with the wooden handle is a French Paring Knife, the French would just say a Paring Knife (in French of course) Does much the same as the English Paring Knife but with a little more style.

To give some idea of the size of my tools the green cutting mat forming the back drop is graduated in centimeters.

Thursday 11 October 2007

Pilgrim's Progress

Pilgrim's Progress.
A full leather binding with multiple inlays and onlays of leather
( over 1000 separate pieces )

Gustav Klimt, the world in female form

Gustav Klimt, the world in female form.
A full leather binding with multiple leather inlays and onlays.
I love the work of Klimt and could not help but lavish the binding with
23 1/2 carat gold leaf in a Rimpa style.
A celebration of his work , the colour, texture
( a book is made to be held ) and Klimt-like motifs.

The Bookbinder at Rest.....

A rare image of the Bookbinder.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

A full leather binding with mixed media panels.
Soft plate off set print panel in the backboard.
Double soft plate off set printed end papers.

The binding,textures and colours are intended
to reflect the fractured nature of the life and death
of Dorian Gray. Bound in 2006 for the
' Beautiful British Books' exhibition in Japan, 2006.