Manhattan Book Fair, April 11th

Codex was massive and amazing. It was the best book fair debut an independent bookseller could hope for. I met pen pals in person, I made new friends, I saw old friends, I preached the gospel of contemporary fine art bookbinding, and I sold books. San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond were very good to me.

Now I get to bring it all back home. Really. It’s about 20 blocks from home. I can walk there.

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What Makes a Binding Great?

Bookbinding is a difficult profession. It costs a lot of time and money to attain the level of craftsmanship necessary to do anything well. Being an obsessive perfectionist is not an absolute requirement, but it helps.

Then there are the artists who have chosen bookbinding as their preferred medium. It is a bit perverse of them. The level of craftsmanship, the depth and breadth of the knowledge of structures and materials that they must achieve before they can begin to create art in codex form is astounding. Combining all of that knowledge to imagine and create new tools, new structures, new techniques, and use unusual materials with which to express themselves is something few can do. Even then, not every binding is a success. This is true of art in any other medium.

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I Sold Some Books in San Francisco

The San Francisco Bay Area is a hotbed of book arts with a long-standing tradition of French-style binding. Historically, binding in the Northeast US owes more to the English and Germans. I’m not going to discuss dates, patterns of immigration and migration, or happenstance. The research has been done and written about by actual binder-scholars. I refer you to the index to the journal of the Guild of Bookworkers. These days, in San Francisco, you can get excellent training in both French and English binding methods from the many binders who reside and teach in the area.

The point is that in San Francisco there is an especially appreciative audience for exquisitely crafted fine art bindings such as the ones I brought to CODEX.

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