Adventures in Book Arts

I’m Back . . . With More Crafts!

During the last year I’ve let this site languish, but I’ve also made some big changes to my life. Since I last posted, I’ve moved twice, first back to Northfield and then to Iowa. If you find yourself in Northfield, you can visit my fine binding of The Merchant of Venice (which I’ll post about soon!) in Special Collections at Carleton College. If you’re ever in the Twin Cities, I highly suggest you visit the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, where I interned last year with their Exhibitions department. I also wrote and article for the Andrew Marvell Society Newsletter, available here, about the creation of my fine binding of the Poems of Andrew Marvell.

I’m now in my first year of the combined Library Science/ Book Studies program at the University of Iowa. It’s wonderful; I’ll end up with a Library Science degree, a Certificate in Book Studies from the amazing Center For the Book, and more experience with book repair and preservation from my job in the Conservation Lab! Look for more updates in the coming days as I bring this website up to date, and for some pictures of old and new work on my new tumblr. But for now, here’s a taste of some of the work I’ve started doing at the Center For the Book, where I’ve taken up calligraphy:

I work of a facsimile page of the Lindisfarne Gospels

Hard at work on a Lindisfarne Gospel facsimile page

Gothic Binding

One of the final projects in the North Bennet Street School curriculum is the Gothic Binding. After months focusing almost exclusively on modern fine bindings, with thin boards, thinner leather, and smooth, gradual curves, this solid historical structure was definitely a change of pace.

Finished Gothic Binding model Read the rest of this entry »

Marvell Poems

First off, I have some exciting news; my Silmarillion was accepted to the Guild of Book Workers’ Traveling Exhibition, so it will be shown in a variety of locations throughout the country over the course of the next year! I’ll post the schedule when it becomes available.

In other news, I made a parchment over boards binding of the poems of Andrew Marvell.

Poems of Andrew Marvell with lines and titling in gold

Poems of Andrew Marvell with parallel and oblique lines

Read the rest of this entry »

How I Made My Elvish Finishing Tools

So in my last post I briefly mentioned that I made a bunch of tools so my titling for the Silmarillion could look like this:


Titling--Tengwar (Feanorean) characters, in the Classical mode

I made nine tools in total (and will almost certainly be making the six or so more that I need to be able to tool the entire alphabet). Finishing tools are used in bookbinding to impress designs into leather. The general method when tooling on a fine binding is to make a light impression with a cold tool, then to heat the tool to a sizzle and go over the impression again, and then to dampen the leather and tool it with a warm tool. If done well, you end¬† up with crisp, smooth impressions that are darker than the surrounding leather. This is called blind tooling. They can be left blind, gilded with gold or palladium, or tooled with smoke or carbon to make a very black impression. Read the rest of this entry »

The (Tarnished) Silmarillion

I recently finished my first fine binding, a refined, modern, full-leather binding that often features decorations informed by the contents of the book. What we learn at the North Bennet Street School is a variation of the French style of fine binding, although it’s been informed by the English style. Because we had free reign to choose the book for this project, and I am a huge geek, I bound a copy of The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien. Here is the finished product (as always, click for full-sized images):

My binding of the Silmarillion, showing both boards

My Silmarillion, completed.

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Treatment Report: Facsimile of the Black-Letter Prayer Book

Title: Facsimile of the Black-Letter Prayer Book

Author: N/A

Place of Publication: London

Date of Publication: 1871

Before: front (detached) board and spine

Facsimile of the Black-Letter Prayer Book--Before

Before: Back Board

Facsimile of the Black-Letter Prayer Book--Before

Before: Broken front hinge with letter

Read the rest of this entry »


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