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The Devil's Dictionary
The Devil's Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce.  Bound 2011. Red and grey puckered goatskin, blind tooling,

My first fine binding, done in the french style. I was inspired by a video of Anthony Cains using this technique on a book.  As I was still working out how best to pare such a huge piece of leather I thought it would be best to have as little paring as possible.  While the binding might be over the top for Bierce's satirical dictionary, it was a very fun binding to do and a technique I have utilized a few times since then.

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Don't Look Now & Other Stories
Don't Look Now & Other Stories

Daphne Dumaurier - published by the Folio Society 2007.  Goatskin, Backpared onlay, blind & gold tooling, handsewn endbands, leather doublures.

 

Each year at the North Bennet Street School, students in the final year of the bookbinding program are each given a copy of the same text to bind in full leather.  This was the book assigned for my year.  The titular story in the book is set in Venice, and my obsession for maps led me to create a map of Venice for the design.  The canals in blue are all one large backpared onlay of leather. 

 

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The Right Stuff
The Right Stuff

Goatskin, Back Pared Onlay, Blind Tooling, Gold Tooling, Hand Sewn Silk Endbands.

Rebound in 2011 for the One Book, Many Interpretations: Second Edition show in Chicago.  As the focus of the book is on the United States, so is the binding, as only the USA is done in gold.  The launch site in Florida is the focus of the binding: from there issues a dense concentration of golden stars, meant to evoke both the trail of a rocket and the Milky Way.

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Dune
Dune

Frank Herbert - 1965. Rebound in 2012.  Buffalo skin, blind tooling, acrylic paint, handsewn silk endbands.

 

The only yellow binding I've ever done, as well as the only one in buffalo skin.  The skyline of the capital city of Arrakis is done with various gouges and pieces of line, and all the tooling is filled in with various colors of acrylic paint.

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Titus Andronicus
Titus Andronicus

William Shakespeare, with illustrations by Cho Lee and Theoni Aldredge, published by the Folio Society 1970.  Rebound 2012.  Red Goatskin, Blind tooling, Surface Gilding.

 

This book was largely an experiment in trying large scale surface gilding.  In order to get the design across the spine I had to apply the gold before covering the book with the leather.  Titus Andronicus is known as Shakespeare's most violent play, and I wanted to bring the elements of blood and royalty into the design.

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Folklore of American Weather
Folklore of American Weather

Eric Sloane - 1963. Rebound in 2012. Wood veneer, MDF, snakeskin, goatskin, ultrasuede.

Rebound over a week long workshop with Edgard Claes, I didn't have high hopes for this book.  In previous workshops I hadn't come away with very good books, but a lot of practicing to do on the structure I had learned.  By the end of the week though, I had come away with a book I was very happy with.

Claes calls this a Dorfner binding after German binder Otto Dorfner who developed the structure in the early 20th century.  It is a binding sewn on supports (in this case, watersnake skin laminated to silk) with the boards attached to the textblock only by these sewing supports.  The boards are not made of solid wood but medium density fiber board and wood veneer.  This allows for the look of wooden boards without worrying about cupping or warping as MDF is dimensionally stable.

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The Library of Babel
The Library of Babel

Jorge Luis Borges - published by David Godine in 2000

Goatskin, blind tooling, gold tooling, hand sewn silk endbands.

One of my favorite stories by one of my favorite authors, the Library of Babel describes an infinite library.  The design on the book is actually a map of the library.  Executed with a single piece of line and a single dot, this binding was an exercise in repetition, but overall a satisfying one.

The Raven
The Raven
The Raven
The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe - 1848, published by Cheloniidae Press 1985.  Bound 2014. Puckered Black Goatskin, Blind tooling.

 

For this book I wanted to make a binding that was appropriately moody for a poem that is such a classic.  A nice little touch on this book is the little bird foot tool used in the corners of the design, made by fellow binder Brien Biedler.

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A Fowl Alphabet
A Fowl Alphabet

Alan James Robinson, 1986. Bound 2015.  Goatksin, White oak veneer, goatskin onlays, hand sewn silk endbands, blind tooling, gold tooling.

When I was working on my bachelor's degree at Hampshire College I was very fortunate to take a course at Smith College's Mortimer Rare Book room with Martin Antonetti.  While there I as able to see many books in that collection, a lot of which come from artists living and working in the Pioneer Valley.  One of these artists as Alan James Robinson who operated the Cheloniidae Press.  I was enchanted with his amazing illustrations.  Nearly a decade later I was fortunate enough to buy some books from Alan that had been artists' proofs that he was looking to get rid of.  A Fowl Alphabet is one of these.

The design is a result of my fascination with texture.  Densely tooled blind lines ring a smooth frame of white oak veneer inlaid into the leather.  In the center panel leather are onlays of different colors meant to evoke the sweep of a wing.

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Voyaging Southwards from the Strait of Magellan
Voyaging Southwards from the Strait of Magellan

Rockwell Kent - 1924 Bound 2014

Goatskin, blind tooling marbled endpapers, hand sewn silk headbands, various color onlays, teak inlay, grain manipulation.

Kent's account of refitting a boat and the difficult journey he has at the southern tip of South America is beautifully illustrated in his trademark style. The design is meant to evoke both the rigging on a sailboat and the heading lines on older navigational charts. The golden ratio and the book's structure are used to generate the geometry. The leather onlays and grain manipulation are patterned after the changing colors of the ocean, and the wood inlays are teak, a wood used in shipbuilding for millennia.
Goatskin, blind tooling marbled endpapers, hand sewn silk headbands, various color onlays, teak inlay, grain manipulation.
 

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Linear A to Linear Z
Linear A to Linear Z

Russell Maret - 2016

Goatskin, blind tooling, gold tooling, hand sewn silk endbands.

I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a copy of Russell Maret's book in unbound sheets.  The book lacks almost all text, instead consisting of print of Maret's explorations of abstract letterforms.  The entirety of the introduction states "A letterform is a spatial disturbance; an act of interference on an otherwise passive grid." For my design this passive grid is tooled in blind on the cover, while lines that are similar to the print for the letter V are tooled in gold.

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Shaman: Anthropomorphic Figures in North American Rock Art
Shaman: Anthropomorphic Figures in North American Rock Art

Alice Cornell - 1997.  Bound 2016

Silk Endbands, Acrylic Paint, Goatskin, Paper, Stone Veneer, Foil Tooling

The star of Shaman are the prints showcasing the petroglyphs collected from across North America. The design incorporates stone veneer and foil stamping of two of the prints. The uneven application of the foil onto the rough surface of the stone is meant to convey weathering and antiquity. The stone veneer inlay on the doublures are abstract outlines of hands, the tools responsible for making not only the book, but also the ancient petroglyphs.

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The Island
The Island

Geert Mak - 2016. Bound 2017.  Goastskin, blind & gold tooling, handsewn endbands.

 

A recollection of squatting on a neglected island in Amsterdam, the author talks about the development and living conditions on a piece of land that has little infrastructure.  The one piece of infrastructure that did exist was electrical lines, and the golden lines on the book are meant to evoke those flying across the island while trash and debris piles around and gathers on the ground.

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An Inquiry into the Nature and Properties of Opium
An Inquiry into the Nature and Properties of Opium

Samuel Crumpe, M.D., published 1793.  Rebound 2018.

Full leather goatskin binding, onlaid dyed leather, blind tooling, wenge veneer inlays, hand sewn silk endbands, all edges rough gilt, marbled endpapers and pastedowns.

This book had been rebound previously by an amateur binder who had not done the book any favors.  I was asked to rebind it in a more suitable container.  I opted for a sympathetic cambridge panel style binding.  The center panels in this case are dyed leather to bring forth a brighter color like poppy blossoms and add a little bit of a psychedelic feel.