Sol Rébora bindings: Argentine Eye Candy revised

The first time a saw a picture of a Sol Rébora binding, I felt weak in the knees. It was (and still is) on the Designer Bookbinders of America web site.

There is an extensive interview with Sol in The Thread That Binds. (Seriously, people. You have to get a copy of this book.) Coming from a family of artists and bookish folk (an aunt was an antiquarian bookseller!), it seems that Sol was born to be a designer bookbinder. At art school, Sol chose bookbinding as one of her classes three years in a row, despite planning to be a fashion designer. Call it coincidence; call it fate. Whatever you call it, bookbinding kept throwing itself in her path. First, her aunt needed some bindings done for books in her store. Her brother, who worked in a store selling conservation and restoration materials, introduced her to an artist who needed help figuring out how to put her work into a book to show at a gallery. The curator wanted to know who made the book. He turned out to be the editor of books with very small limitations. The edition of 40 copies he’d just done needed boxes. Guess what? His bookbinder had just died! Sol got the job and found her first binding mentor and cheerleader. When she showed him the design bindings she had been goofing around with at school, he showed he a book with pictures of 20th century French bindings (was it the one by Alisdair Duncan?). Once she saw those pictures, Sol knew that was what she wanted to do. At the time, no one in Argentina was doing design binding. Now what?

First, Sol studied privately with a bookbinder, learning traditional French fine binding. Eventually, though, Sol knew she would have to go abroad. There were many obstacles, but Sol is a lucky woman. After a few false starts, things started to fall into place. Sol was finally able to study with masters in Canada, the United States, and Europe. The results of her hard work, combined with her natural talent, are impressive (understatement).

Neale Albert has a couple of her miniatures in his collection, so I was able to experience her work up close.  Her technique is superb.

I had a quick Facebook chat with Sol recently. She was so nice. She answered my questions about my favorite binding and offered to send me more pictures.

Alice in Wonderland. Dos Amigos Press. 33cm x 27cm Shown at the Buenos Aires Antiquarian Bookfair 2011

Alice in Wonderland. Dos Amigos Press. 33cm x 27cm
Shown at the Buenos Aires Antiquarian Bookfair 2011
The flowers are goatskin onlays and the tooling and lettering are done with candle soot over blind tooling.

Rebora Alice upper board

Rebora Alice spine

Rebora Alice w box

Society of Bookbinders 2007 Award for Craftsmanship Maria Sol Rebora Carta de Anastasio el pollo sobre el beneficio de la Senora La Grua

Society of Bookbinders 2007
Award for Craftsmanship
Carta de Anastasio el pollo sobre el beneficio de la Senora La Grua

Society of Bookbinders 2009 Harmatan Award for Forwarding Milongas by Jorge Luis Borges Full leather with a design in five sections. Edges gilt. The spine and front edges are red goatskin, the central panels are onlays. The doublures are also red goatskin. The title has been tooled in gold along the spine.

Society of Bookbinders 2009
Harmatan Award for Forwarding
Milongas by Jorge Luis Borges
Full leather with a design in five sections. Edges gilt. The spine and front edges are red goatskin, the central panels are onlays. The doublures are also red goatskin. The title has been tooled in gold along the spine.

Balada Para un Loco By Horacio Ferrer Single copy with Calligraphy, Design and Illustration by Nancy Leavitt Bilingual edition (English translation by Alberto Paz) Published - 2009 Size - 284mm x 182mm A full goatskin binding that is divided into six pieces by inlays with different levels worked with onlays in relief, with violet and white goatskin worked with sandpaper to change the shades. Tiny circles have been inserted across the cover.

Balada Para un Loco
By Horacio Ferrer
Single copy with Calligraphy, Design and Illustration by Nancy Leavitt
Bilingual edition (English translation by Alberto Paz)
Published – 2009
Size – 284mm x 182mm
A full goatskin binding that is divided into six pieces by inlays with different levels worked with onlays in relief, with violet and white goatskin worked with sandpaper to change the shades. Tiny circles have been inserted across the cover.

First Prize 1º Premio Competencia Internacional EARA Fernando Noy - Hebra Incompleta.  French structure. Full goatskin leather cream color, with inlays on natural  and cream colors. Blind tooling around the circles. Title in blind.

First Prize
1º Premio Competencia Internacional EARA
Fernando Noy – Hebra Incompleta.
French structure. Full goatskin leather cream color, with inlays on natural and cream colors. Blind tooling around the circles. Title in blind. 19.7 x 13 cm.

Hebra

Romeo and Juliet 1973 French binding construction, covered in full goat skin leather; natural, white, yellow, black and brown onlays, leather sanded to get different tones of color. Doublure and flyleaves on goat skin, black and brown color. Décor of gold and blind tooling. Top edge gilt.  35 x 26 x 3 centimeters. Created 2005.

Romeo and Juliet 1973
French binding construction, covered in full goat skin leather; natural, white, yellow, black and brown onlays, leather sanded to get different tones of color. Doublure and flyleaves on goat skin, black and brown color. Décor of gold and blind tooling. Top edge gilt. 35 x 26 x 3 centimeters. Created 2005. Lent by the Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University for the Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibit, 2006.

Distinguished Winner Designer Bookbinders International Competition 2013 Romeo and Juliet, illustrated by Michèle Forgeois. Calligraphy by Mark Livingston. The Allen Press, California, 1988. 28 x 18 cm Full white goatskin with red goatskin underlays. Titled in blind on the spine. White goatskin doublures and dyed Japanese paper flyleaves.

Distinguished Winner
Designer Bookbinders International Competition 2013
Romeo and Juliet, illustrated by Michèle Forgeois. Calligraphy by Mark Livingston. The Allen Press, California, 1988.
28 x 18 cm
Full white goatskin with red goatskin underlays. Titled in blind on the spine. White goatskin doublures and dyed Japanese paper flyleaves.

Cole Porter. Brush Up Your Shakespeare. 3 x 3 inches Photo by Hannah Brown

Cole Porter. Brush Up Your Shakespeare. 3 x 3 inches
Neale Albert Collection
Photo by Hannah Brown

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s To a Skylark French structure. Full black goatskin with low relief covered on natural color goatskin and relief pieces in white goatskin and black goatskin worked with mixed techniques. Doublures of patinated embossed black goatskin. First flyleaf in patinated light gray goatskin.

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s To a Skylark
French structure. Full black goatskin with low relief covered on natural color goatskin and relief pieces in white goatskin and black goatskin worked with mixed techniques. Doublures of patinated embossed black goatskin. First flyleaf in patinated light gray goatskin.

10 detalle tapa 1 mail

11 detalle tapa 2 mail

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4 Comments on “Sol Rébora bindings: Argentine Eye Candy revised”

  1. So…beautiful! Thank you so much for bringing Rebora’s work to our attention.

    Like

  2. What a beautiful way to start my first week as a follower of American Bound ! I had seen some pictures of Sol Rebora’s work on her Facebook page but the quality of the photos seems better here . The leather mosaics on Alice in Wonderland are very beautiful ! The craftmanship is impeccable and it seems to be present in all her other bindings in this review ! The beauty of her technique is particularly visible in the last picture of ” To A Skylark” . Even if I was not trained in decorative designer bookbinding I can appreciate her different creations . She certainly has all that a skilled bookbinder needs to create beautiful figurative designer bookbindings . Congratulations Sol ! : o )

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