Wednesday 23 December 2009

Mersey. The River That Changed The World. It all begins to take shape.

The main construction of the book has been completed, now it is a case of applying the various panels. I am still keeping with the idea of the human element. The brown leather is hide, the same stuff that is used to cover suit cases... in fact the leather is from an old suit case.

The spine is an old leather glove. I love the texture. I always think of a lost single glove as the idea of some one passing, perhaps to start a journey, perhaps finishing their journey or en-route.

The front board in some detail. The image is of young boy and, well I like to think of the other person as his Grandma. The image is from my personal collection of old glass negs.
I feel that the shapes lend a nautical feel, shapes of hulls and the like. The map is derived from one of about 1870, aged and hand tinted.

Detail of the back board. Again an image from my collection, workers......

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Mersey. The River That Changed The World.

A new commission.
As the title would suggest the content is about the River Mersey, the river, the buildings on the banks, the great, the good and the everyday. It also has a human perspective, people who work on the Mersey, travelers, dockers and artists.

A fascinating book chock full of images...

I have decided to concentrate on the human angle to the Mersey, perhaps indicating the recent past and the now.
First is the end papers.

Suit cases piled on the dock side.

Saturday 28 November 2009

The Lives Of Gallant Ladies, Finished.

Both volumes finished.

End papers and doublers.

Thursday 19 November 2009

The Lives Of Gallant Ladies, Cold Gold tooling.

The gold leaf was applied to the pre dyed surface of the leather (on the book) and worked over with warm tools. The design is fluid, free hand if you like. This is not as easy as it sounds, working to a design ensures that mistakes are worked out before the tool is even used. However, I sometimes feel that working to design can result in work that is rigid and cold.
When the tooling was complete the surface of both books was worked over with a very fine wire wool. This reveals the dye work underneath creating a number of layers.

Friday 6 November 2009

The Lives Of Gallant Ladies, 5 books of gold leaf later....

The surface of the leather has been worked over with a very fine silicon carbide paper and lots of small pieces of gold leaf have been applied to the surface. Each square of gold leaf is about 1.5mm square and overlaps the squares next to it.
It has taken longer than i expected... about 2 days longer in fact.

Over the weekend I will be hoping to create more texture by pressing various things into the surface and tooling in a more trad way.

Saturday 17 October 2009

The bookbinder at work... love

A OUTRANCE is, at last, finished. Following a bout of some detailed stuff on the book one of the students took this very charming image of 'The Bookbinder at Work' Sad.

When does a bookbinder love their tools too much ? I would suppose when the bookbinder buys an antique box from the well known and much loved jewelry company of hamilton and Inches, 88 Princes Street, Edinburgh (by Appointment)

Love is a wonderful thing.........

Monday 28 September 2009

The Lives Of Gallant Ladies.

Now that the final sanding has been done to the boards and spine of the book I can turn my attention to the leather.
The skin was split to 0.6 mm with the turn-ins pared down to 0.4 mm.

The design has been hand dyed with spirit dye applied with a small brush. There is still more to be done but this is the base or foundation design. Being a two volume edition the 2nd volume will be different. So far, so good. I particularly enjoy seeing the brush strokes, the painterly quality lends depth and movement.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

The Diary of a Philip Pullman binder

The new blog is now on line, please follow the links.

Friday 11 September 2009

Diary of a Philip Pullman Binder.

Coming soon, a blog site dedicated to the Binding of a Philip Pullman book 'A Outrance'

Tuesday 8 September 2009

At last, the Pestival at the Royal Festival Hall.

After months of work, the making of books, the burying and eating of books and the subtle care and sympathetic restoration of what was left, the books make their way to the Royal Festival Hall. For some time I had been working out the display based on the dimensions of the display plinths given to me by the R F H people. Of course when I arrived I did not have the same plinths..... However with a bit of know-how and double sided tape it all came together.

Images of the insect eaten books, many thanks to Amoret at the NHM.
The pages have been reduced to the finest of laces. The light and texture create wonderful images within the paper and the text block.

The decayed book before the plinth was put in place.

Know-how and double sided tape.

Sunday 30 August 2009

jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, the Japanese paper in-lays.

The in-lays are finished. As the single book is now three volumes, each with a different set of end papers the design reflects this. Volume one has a single line of in - lays in the same paper as the end papers. Volume two has two lines, the first being a continuation of the first line on volume one and a new line of in-lays below it in the same paper as the end papers in volume two. Volume three takes the same approach.

The overall effect is subtle and I am liking this.

Saturday 29 August 2009

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, the covers.

After a great deal of looking and some experimentation the covers have been made. The binding is of leather with the reverse on the outside. The client has asked for something with natural tones, aged like old ivory.... so I have stained the leather with a leather varnish. This protects the surface of the leather and lends a warm tone. The leather has taken the varnish in varying degrees, I think it looks good and is well on the way to be finished with multiple inlays of Japanese Paper.

Friday 28 August 2009

The Book Eaters Number 4.

Man thanks to Marc at parklightpictures for the image....

The book is finally finished, it along with lots more books will be on display at The Royal Festival Hall on the south bank on the 4th 5th and 6th of September.

There will also be a film of the making and eating of the books and lots more stuff to do with insects as the Pestival takes place.

Monday 24 August 2009

Monday 17 August 2009

The Book Eaters Number 2.

The book was frozen, this is sounds strange but is important as I do not want all of my books to be eaten in the studio.

Now comes the not-so-easy part of the project, the cleaning away of any wee beasties and muck. A long process as the book has to dry out first. The contours and colours are wonderful, full of texture and smell !

As the pages are opened the paths and holes created by the larvae and insects.

The staining and pressure marks have fused a number of pages together to form ridged pages...

... whilst others have become more lace like. I love this book.

Wednesday 12 August 2009

The Book Eaters.

I spend my life making books. Recently I have been burying my books and today was exhumation day for one of them. As I rummaged through the soil,, worms disappearing down dank holes, shiny beetles defending their turf and other stuff i cared not what it was, I slowly unearthed my book.

Cleaning off the soil from the pages revealed a myriad of colours. Fungi and moulds creating pattens and swirls to delight the eye. Then the insect and their spwan damage began to take form. First the edges of pages had been nibbled.

On opening the pages holes began to make their mark adding to the page.

The book was being taken back to nature being both home and food, an environment within an environment.

Saturday 8 August 2009

Burying Books.

First the weather, the summer in London has been interesting. Having nipped out for a quick one in the middle of a down pour the equipment failed.

As part of this years Pestival at the Royal Festival Hall, south bank, London I have been making books and burying them in locations around Studio 5. I have been working with Amoret Whitaker ( the celebrated Forensic Entomologist ) looking at the interaction of insects and the book. The results will be displayed during the weekend of the Pestival.

The books were buried some time ago, having exhumed them and checked up on them at regular intervals the books have become a micro environment within the natural world. Top stuff.


Thursday 23 July 2009

End Papers and end bands.

Once the end papers have been tipped on the cords were frayed out, trimmed to about 1 1/2 cm and glued down on to the end papers.

Next is the first spine lining of Fray Not is applied with PVA and lots of elbow grease.

The end bands are made from a flat leather core with paper wrapped around and moulded over the leather core. The paper corresponds to the end papers of each individual book.

Kraft paper is the final spine lining, again applied with PVA and elbow grease.

Neatly trimmed to fit the spine perfectly.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Sawing and stuff.

With the spine cleaned the book is split into the 3 volumes.
Narrow grooves are sawn in to the spine. The first cut is vertical, being careful not to cut too deep.

Once the depth has been cut (just deeper than the binders cord - 3 ply) I saw at an angle, first one way.....

.... then the other. Creating an inverted V which will lock the binders cord in place.

PVA (or Fevicol for my Indian Chums) is then applied to the spine, ensuring that the adhesive has gone in to the grooves. It is important not to over do the glue.

It is then a question of waiting for the glue to dry.

This is just one method of securing the spine of an adhesive binding, as with everything, practice is the key.