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Decorative Techniques & Plaquettes

Design Binders often make “plaquettes,” which are boards covered in leather, so they can practice techniques or designs without having to bind an entire book. They might just be trying out various techniques, or they might be trying to prefect something before they repeat a technique on an actual binding.

Onlays of leather, inlaid leather, blind tooling, and creased copper sheeting. In one of my art classes I was given an assigment in which there were a bunch of dots and I had to connect some of them, then use my medium of choice… I chose to do a leatherwork plaquette.

2.5″ x 2.5″ Tiny bits of eggshell were placed one at a time. You might recognize the pattern from my final show. I will be replicating this on a bound volume of my final show.

Lacunose. This is a decorative technique where scraps of leather are pared very thin and glued with PVA to a Japanese tissue paper. It is then consolidated with a wash of watery PVA, and once dried, all the ridges are sanded off of the leather collage. The leather might be stamped with tools, or areas cut out, which creates texture, and then another layer of leather bits is glued down, consolidated, dried and sanded… This is repeated until the binder is happy with the results. As a finishing touch, it is shined up with a leather dressing called SC6000. Lacunose is typically used for onlay; little bits of this might be cut out and used in small quantities in a design binding. (I’m yet to incorporate this into a book).




2 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda permalink
    September 2, 2008 12:48 am

    I’m speechless!

  2. Sharon Long permalink
    December 24, 2008 1:39 am


    What an amazing portfolio of work you have… I am interested in the Lacunose method. Could you please make notes to my understanding of your directions.

    1. You say that you start out with paper thin pieces of leather. Will the the thickness be similar to a think learher hinge or fatter?

    2. Then arrange the leather by design/random/ till I like it.

    3. Cover with a diluted pva wash?

    4. Keep adding to the collage? Let dry.

    5. Sand the edgesof color areas and other surfaces?

    6 What is the shiny compound? Can you use Renaissance wax?

    6. Then I pare the edges to form around the book like in a full leather binding?

    7. Can you use inks, if so what kind?

    9. Then on top of all this I can gold tool, or blind stamp, etc, once I glue this to my boards?

    10. Any suggestions to add.

    thank you so much, I thinkI want to try this on a box I am making..

    merry christmas and happy new year..
    when do you sleep???

    Sharon Long

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