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?

Have More Fun

Working out teaching genealogies is a pain in the ass (can I say that?) It’s complicated, time consuming, and boring to write about. I’ve gone astray already! Mea culpa.

I want to write about books and binders and beauty and technique. To that end, I’m hoping to return to The Grolier Club shortly, because…
I have been given permission to handle the Neale Albert Collection miniatures! I will get to hold those babies, very gently, and really look at them. Maybe I should bring a loupe. I will definitely bring a real camera. Soon, I hope to get my hands on normal size books, but with over 200 designer bindings by dozens of binders virtually at my doorstep, I’m pretty excited about the minis. Some of the binders, like Gabrielle Fox, specialize in miniatures, but most do not. I really look forward to looking at those little beauties; feeling the textures, learning about the delicacy and finesse required to bind at that scale.

Here is some more eye candy.

Gabrielle Fox Borders
Gabrielle Fox
Jan Sabota The Rose Trilogy  (Rebecca Press)
Jan Sabota
The Rose Trilogy
(Rebecca Press)
Louise Genest Erte Maquettes  (Rebecca Press)
Louise Genest
Erte Maquettes
(Rebecca Press)
Jamie Kamph The Seasons  (Jonathan von Phitzer Press)
Jamie Kamph
The Seasons
(Jonathan von Phitzer Press)