Holiday Miscellany

It’s December and I work in a retail establishment. Have pity.

Here are some tidbits to tide you over until I can write a real post:

Giard Water

Christine Giard and Uriel Cidor have joined forces with Gavin Dovey at Paper Dragon Books, which shall henceforth be referred to as the United Nations of Bookbinding. It’s the makings of a sitcom: a Brit, a Frenchwoman, an Israeli (and sometimes a Dominican tailor/baseball player) share a bindery and hijinks ensue. Someone write a treatment, please.

Design Bookbinders (UK) licentiate Hannah Brown is in North America. She will be in New York this week. We have a date at The Morgan Library to do some binding research. First up, a few bindings incorporating embroidery on leather. If you know Hannah’s work, you’ll know why this might be of interest. Then we are going to examine five Deborah Evetts design bindings. There are hundreds of Deborah Evetts works at The Morgan, as she was their conservator for many, many years. Naturally, they are mostly enclosures and conservation binding. However, there was a great collector, Julia P. Wightman, who donated approximately 1800 items to the library. The collection includes miniatures, early children’s books, ephemera and books relating to binding, and design bindings, including some by Deborah Evetts. I hope Hannah takes good photos because we all know by now that I don’t.

Please note that I have not posted the photos I took at NBSS of Polly Lada-Mocarski bindings. They will not be appearing.

New acquisitions:

Scan 16Hand Bookbinding Today, an international art, 1978.

Scan 15

Contemporary American Bookbinding, 1990.

Please join the discussion going on in the comments section of my previous post. Good stuff there.


Impatience and Eggshells

Is there such a thing as a book emergency? Other than fire and flood, I often try to tell myself there is not. It is merely someone’s impatience. It’s a useful thing for me to keep in mind. I should use it as my mantra. But I already have one.

This time, however, it was my impatience. It took two ENTIRE weeks for me to receive my copy of the The Neale M. Albert Collection of Miniature Designer Bindings. I even called the bookstore because they were off their usual timeline.

Finally it arrived!

Tom Grill takes MUCH better photos than I do.

I saw, in person, many of the bindings in the catalog. I did not have descriptions of the bindings at the time, just binder’s name and title of the book (and not always that). One of the bindings I tried to photograph was by Paul Delrue. When I came across it in the catalog, it gave me a giggle. The description states, among other details, that the binding was French sewn by “Gavin Povey.” Ahem. I believe the cataloger meant Gavin Dovey who, I happen to know, worked with Paul Delrue for a bit before coming to the US.

It’s all very nice that I got a laugh out of the Gavin typo, but I was left with the question: what is French sewing?

Turning to my ABC:

Chain stitch: A sewing stitch which catches up previous sewing threads but is not sewn to a support, also called unsupported sewing. Used in Coptic, Ethiopian, Near Eastern and Islamic binding and in France in the 16th century (called French sewing). Machine sewing is a type of chain stitch sewing.

chain stitch

No supports. That sounds like a good choice when binding a book slightly less than 3″ x 3″.

As I read through the catalog, another binding caught my eye. It is, I think, a very unusual technique, but I have seen it before. When I saw who the binder was, I knew why. It was a very delicate Mark Cockram binding, with panels of crushed and laquered eggshell. Guess whose first teacher was Mark Cockram, back in the days when they both lived in Lincoln? None other than current resident of the USA, Gavin Dovey (or should I say Povey?).

Several years ago, Gavin made something rather clever using eggshell panels. He describes the process briefly here [click the image]:


On her blog, Jana Pullman has a very detailed description of an eggshell panel project she did in 2010.

Anyone else experimenting with eggshell panels?

Oi tudo bom, Brasil? (Whassup, Brazil?)

Brazilian flagI got sidetracked by Brazil.  I was just beginning to talk about teaching lineage, but an exhibition catalog caught my eye:  Latin American Book Arts (1995)  at The Center for Book Arts in NYC.

Brazil is a huge country. But sixteen out of 38 exhibiting book artists from Brazil? That seems like a lot. Is there a substantial book arts community? Where do the binders train? Is it at Associação Brasileira de Encadernação e Restauro  (ABER)? They definitely sponsor competitions. A member of DBOAMarco Pedrosa, won first prize in 2009. Also take a look at Marco’s prize-winning binding in the 2013 Biennales Mondiales de la Reliure d’Art competition.

After poking around online exhibits, I found several other Brazilian binders. Initially, I was trying to track down some of the binders represented in the 1995 CBA exhibit:

  • Cora Bocayuva de Mesquita
  • Beatriz Ferreira Leal
  • Claudia Rezende Minerbo
  • Monica Schoenacker

I googled them all thoroughly — I am, after all, an information professional — and managed to trace only one of the four. This binding by Beatriz Ferreira Leal is in the 1996 of L’association Les Amis de la Reliure d’Art du Canada (ARA) exhibition.

Beatriz Ferreira Leal

ARA has several exhibits online. The 1996 exhibit included work by three other Brazilian binders:

  • Cristina Costa Viana
  • Isabel Corrêa de Lago
  • Marisa Garcia de Souza

These three binders founded an atelier called Palmarium Encadermaçōes de Arte in 1997. Since 2005 it has been run by Cristina Costa Viana (now Cristina Viana Tenenbaum) and two others: Ilona Wemeck and  Isabel Sewaybricker.

Cristina Costa Viana
Cristina Costa Viana
Isabel Corrêa de Lago has her own atelier.
Isabel Corrêa de Lago has her own atelier.
Marisa Garcia de Souza was among the founders of ABER in 1988, and is currently the Vice-Chair and on the faculty of that institution.
Marisa Garcia de Souza was among the founders of ABER in 1988, and is currently the Vice-Chair and on the faculty of that institution.
























Check out a lovely binding by Cristina Viana Tenenbaum in the 2012 Nobel Museum exhibit, the first Nobel binding competition open to all binders, regardless of country of origin.

Also shown in the online exhibit is a binding by the delightful Sonya Sheats (I’m a fan, so more about her later).