Still haven’t done the post on the second part of the Paper Treatments course, but I just haven’t had enough time. Summer was absolutely wonderful, but now I’m back to school, doing two jobs, and other various things–I’m completely piled up in work, exhausted, and this is just week 1. How will I ever survive this semester!
Anyway, I took Bookbinding III at CBBAG last month, and now finally am working on leather bindings! Paring was a little difficult at first, but I think it’ll be an enjoyable process after getting more used to. Watching the instructor paring was quite mesmerizing–he has so much control! We made two books–the first one was on flattened cords with a hollow tube, and the second was tight back on raised cords.
Before working on the books, we had to do an “Intro to Paring” class, where we practiced paring on scraps and made little plaquettes.
An assortment of paring knives. I started off using an English knife, but eventually got more used to the rounded French ones.
Watching in fascination as our instructor removes a sliver of the leather.
We also had a paring machine in the studio, but in general I tried to avoid it just so I could practice paring manually. Nevertheless, a time-saving tool, definitely useful to have one!
One of my corners and the spines for the two books. As you can see, I knocked off the edge of my corner (I somehow managed to do this to every single corner…) and sliced through a bit of my first spine. I had to redo my corners several times, having ripped a few. My heart stopped every time I ruined something and had to redo, but that couldn’t be helped.
Sewing the book with raised cords. Most enjoyable sewing method ever?–I think so.
Demonstration of a conservation endband, on which we would then add the two threads of colour on top of.
The book with flattened cords, almost ready for the leather!
The second book, with the cords laced into the boards.
Demonstration of the proper proportions of a traditional leather binding. Although our books were not big enough for five raised bands, we still wanted to make the top section slightly longer than the middle sections, and the bottom section longer than the top section.
Demonstration of scoring a decorative line into the leather with a bone folder.
I’m happy to say that since the class, I’ve bound a leather book completely without help at home–a relief to know I can do it all by myself! I’d been reluctant to get the necessary tools to make books at home, since shipping and tax fees for ordering from Talas are excruciatingly expensive–almost costing as much as what you buy–but finally decided it was time to invest in some tools. At least I managed to get two lovely skins of goat leather at half price from a friend who was unloading some skins and marbled papers that he had!