Adventures in Boston

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Hilarious Arthur Johnson binding spotted at the Boston Antiquarian Book Fair. Click for more information.

Homebound on the train from Boston, I thought about everything I’ve done and seen during the past week. The more I talk to binders, the more assumptions I didn’t realize I had are shattered. It’s wonderful! Break down my ignorance and build me up with knowledge. Bring it on!

On a related topic: I will be rewriting my Questions for Binders page as soon as possible.

I spent Monday afternoon with Sonya Sheats, all day Tuesday at the North Bennet Street School with Jeff Altepeter (I took terrible photos of some Polly Lada-Mocarski bindings and watched Sonya teach), and on Wednesday hung out with Jim Reid-Cunningham and the conservators at the Boston Athenaeum. We spent so much time in the conservation lab playing with Jim’s bindings and jabbering that there was no time for a tour. The Athenaeum was gutted and completely rebuilt since I interned there during library school (Fall of 1994?). I’ll take a tour another time.

Gavin Dovey was ubiquitous in absentia. I met Evan Knight in the Athenaeum lab. He worked in Gavin’s bindery, Paper Dragon Books, in Chelsea in 2006. I saw Uriel Cidor at the book fair. He is Gavin’s new I don’t know what. Assistant? Intern? Apprentice? Not sure. Everyone wanted to see the one piece of Gavin’s trade work my employers had with them at the book fair. He made it for a fragile, fan-freaking-tastic book. The binders all looked at the clamshell/slipcase combo and were suitably impressed by Gavin’s work, clearly redefining in their heads “trade” work. Then they looked at the book and pretty much said, “Oh. Cool.” That was the correct reaction.

Other binders I saw at the book fair: Abby Jones, Colin Urbina, and Erin Fletcher of A Flash of the Hand.

Next up: Sonya Sheats. You will feel even better about design binding once you know who she is and what she does.

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