This past semester I had the privilege of teaching bookbinding at the University of Utah in their beautiful Book Arts studio. I had a lot of fun, and the students were terrific. Here is some of their work:
Japanese Stab Binding and Chitzu:
I was a little bit stunned with the creativity of some of these students: During my demo I had the class sew mini books, almost like sewing cards, just so that they could see how simple the construction is, but I also wanted them to see how it’s possible to come up with your own sewing patterns. They seemed to take that challenge and run with it: Many of these sewing patterns are the students’ own designs:
Flatback and Round Case:
For their finals, the students wrote proposals of what they would like to make. Here were some of my favorites:
The cover to the above book is constructed of old shingles that the student had found. Kind of cool, but crumbly, and smelly, too ;)
I recognize this blog has been severely neglected. Hang on–I’ve got plenty of (bookbinding-related) things I’ve wanted post to but I just haven’t made the time. (Tonga was great, thanks for asking, and I promise to post an update soon!)…
In the meantime, please enjoy photos of my pumpkin from this year:
A couple months ago I was invited by a former art professor to come to Tonga for ten days. The idea, as far as I understand, is to join a group of American students with a group of local Tongan artists to make paper and dyes from native materials. Then we’ll each make an artist’s book, and the final books will be shown in a traveling show. This sounded beyond fun to me, but I was pretty sure I couldn’t justify it… but then I decided I couldn’t not justify it… I’m going! I leave tomorrow. My travel buddy Shannon is coming, too, and after our time in Tonga, we’ll hop a plane over to New Zealand for 10 days of exploring the North Island. Too bad it’s the dead of winter down there, but I’ll take what I can get! (A trip to the South Pacific has been on the top of my “if I get to do any international traveling this decade” list… as long as I was going to be in Tonga… I had to hit New Zealand, too!) I’ll be sure to report back… wish me luck!
I’m a bit late in writing about it, but a couple weeks ago I finished a two-week class in advanced leather binding with Monique Lallier. I hadn’t been back since 2007, and we had a really great group and a really good time.
Unfortunately my designs are a bit involved, so I didn’t finish my books, but here’s what came of two weeks at the AAB:
A sewn text block. This one is a bit unconventional because it’s a UK deluxe edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which had originally been perfectly bound (glued sections as opposed to sewn). So I made sections using a sewing machine so that I had a “fold” to sew through.
The book is sanded until it’s glassy and then decorated with color or gold. This is the best shot I could get of the reflective surface.
I’ve done quite a few edges this way: I put a red layer of color down, let it dry, masked it, washed some of the red off, and then put down the purple layer.
Quite dramatic once the tape is removed!
Here’s the 2nd Harry Potter book:
headband in progress, top of HP2 book
headband at tail of HP2 book. (Who said that headbands have to match?) :)
HP2 book ready for covering. It’s covered now, but I don’t have a photo of it yet. And the design will take a while, but it’s going to be great… someday, when it’s finished. I’ll post pics.
The busy crew.
A Telluride sunset along the river trail:
I saved a few copies of my book that I did for my final show for fine bindings. The above design is taken from one of the illustrations in the book.
designs cut out by hand.
The book, ready for covering. But only after I took the leather down to .5 mm
And lastly, the final book. I’m quite delighted with the outcome (Well, it’s not actually final. It still needs its doublure, too… I’ll try and get some good photos when it’s all done.
I’ll leave you with one more fantastic Telluride sunset.
These are the practice pieces that Tini Miura made in 1964 as part of her studies to become a Master Designer Bookbinder. I asked her if it would be all right if I post them on my blog, and she said of course. Click on the tiles for a larger view.
These plaquettes took Tini 3 months to complete. It takes an understanding of the process to properly appreciate the skill involved in each of these. Each line is done with a hand-held brass tool called a gouge, which is heated and pressed into the leather. In my next post I’ll talk a little bit more about the process.
The week of Presidents’ Day we invited Master Bookbinder Tini Miura here to Salt Lake City to teach a weeklong course titled “Execution of a Cover Deisgn on a Leather Surface.” I first met Tini in 1999 when I took my first bookbinding classes at The American Academy of Bookbinding, and I took subsequent classes from her in 2002 and 2004–but I never had taken her onlay and gilding class.
I’ll spare you much words and just jump to the photos I took of the students’ work. Here are the final plaquettes: (final being relative–they’re still not cleaned up and polished)
Diclaimer: some of us were not that thrilled about our designs–the main point was to practice the techniques, so my classmates said I could post photos as long as I don’t say who did what; but I will tell you that mine is the Micky Mouse — er — water molecule one (designed by my brother in-law for his dissertation that I bound years ago…and will someday finish). I’m thinking if I turn the water molecule upside down and use two closer colors for the parts, it will look less mouse-ish. Also, it looks like I didn’t get a photo of one of the student plaquettes. Darn. :)
Needless to say, each of us who took the class had a great time. Tini is truly a master at what she does. She is incredibly generous with her wealth of knowledge and experience, and even more, she is a delightful person with a huge heart and amazing stories to share. Combine Tini with the rest of the personalities in our group and it was of course a recipe for a great week. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers has some great members.
It was so good to see Tini and to learn from her again! I still can’t believe my luck that I’ve had the privilege of learning from such an extraordinary person.
I first joined the Guild of Book Workers perhaps a decade ago. But not once had I attended the annual seminar. This year, with the prodding (and financial assistance!) of my boss, I made it out to San Francisco. And it was great. A very short, but sweet time.
The highlight, for me, was on Friday evening when we were invited to the home of a gentleman who collects fine bindings. The books were all out and available for us to gawk at (and even handle)–I have never in my life seen so many spectacular design bindings in one place–nor have I been at liberty to look at them so closely. The binders/designers represented included Michael Wilcox, Philip Smith, Paul Bonet and many more (well known names if you’re into this sort of thing). Below are a few of my favorites. (I’m trying out this gallery feature–click on the image for a larger version).