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2015.11.25 - Smart Smithsonian Archival Enclosure Portfolio for a Photograph

Smithsonian Institution Archives has just published a Vine showing the use of special enclosure for a historic photograph. That’s the first video posted on their channel and I hope we’ll get many more interesting illustrations for the smart ideas used in that institution. To find the full story (and diagrams) of the photo and specially tailored portfolio, you can visit their official blog.

It is great to find some new approach and design for the problems you have to deal with. Even for masters of the bookbinding craft there always is a chance to learn something new even from the students and apprentices who bind their first books. That’s also a special moment when you can get some ideas from other specialists like people who work at the Smithsonian.

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2015.11.19 - Brian Dettmer Book Sculpture - 06-Interiors-view6-1620x1080

Book sculpture isn’t a new thing. Many artists butcher books in attempt to make something new. Usually they treat them just as a carving material, without giving any notice to the contents. At best you’ll find the carving to correspond to some elements of the cover. That’s not the case for Brian Dettmer (New York, USA) and Alexander Korzer-Robinson (Bristol, UK.)

For them, the contents of a book is as much a source of inspiration as a sculpting medium. Instead of just cutting through the layers, they first search for illustrations and other design elements to incorporate them into the sculpture.

Some of the illustrations are kept, other are cut out. Alexander Korzer-Robinson prefers a straightforward approach. His books retain the conventional rectangular form of a codex. He just adds a window on the front cover that invites you to a new imaginary world of illustrations, which were divided among the pages, but became one crowd with artist’s help.

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Paring Leather on a Lithographic Stone

Paring leather is a very important stage of bookbinding process. Leather should fade away starting at some point 3 or 4 cm from the edge to the edge, and be quite thin at turn-ins. It should be pared evenly, otherwise all the little bumps would show on the surface and ruin the otherwise perfect (hopefully) book.

There are many paring techniques. Different knives and devices are used to pare leather. But there is also another important element that affects the result a lot — the surface you pare your leather on.

I’m not sure how an outsider pictures the process of paring (if he or she pictures it at all), but for many bookbinders it’s commonplace to use a lithographic stone, or a piece of lithographic limestone, to be precise. Not that all bookbinders have one — I, for instance, do not have a lithostone.

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