You know what I’m really good at? Buying books about bookbinding. I bought my first catalog of a bookbinding exhibit in April of 2000 (I still have the receipt). This is where my money goes, instead of feeding my family. Fortunately, since I’m good at it, I didn’t pay much for most of these. The Tarlau book is a notable exception in more than one way. I paid a lot for it and it’s a novel. My excuse? It’s a very thinly disguised autobiography. I can’t speak for the very personal details, but it’s about her experiences within the bookbinding community in France. Names have been changed, but even I can identify many of the characters. It’s an education.
Gérard Charrière is a Swiss bookbinder and artist who practiced in the United States from 1965-2001. He now lives in Berlin.
I recently acquired the catalog pictured below. Sadly, all the images are in black and white. It has been a bit of a struggle to find color images of his work.
The first color image I saw of one of his bindings is in the retrospective section of the Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibition catalog (another recent acquisition). The catalog is online, but I wanted my own copy.
There’s a really terrible image of the binding on the back of the catalog. Fortunately, I discovered that Bowdoin College in Maine has several Charrière bindings, including that particular binding and a binding quite similar (but not identical) to the one in the 1982 exhibit. Bowdoin has excellent images embedded in their online catalog, bless them:
Two more spectacular Charrière bindings from Bowdoin College Special Collections: