Sunday, May 18, 2008

Handmade Books from Cuba, Part I

I went on a trip to Cuba a few years ago, and was lucky to visit the Taller Experimental de Grafica ( located at Callejón del Chorro No 6 Habana Vieja) in Havana. They make and sell handmade prints, and you can watch the artists at work. I picked up this wonderful handmade book there.
As you can see, it's called Los Dos Principes, by Jose Marti. The paper it's printed on is made by hand--it has lots of plant fibres in it--and is illustrated with lithographic prints. I just wish my Spanish was better! Nobody there really spoke English, and although I struggled valiantly, my Spanish is pretty terrible (more on the "where is the bathroom, please?" level), so unfortunately I didn't get to ask any questions about hand bookbinding in Cuba.
Here is a pic of the inside front cover:

And this is the back inside cover:

And the outside of the back cover:

The whole book is cleverly stitched together with one piece of help cord. On the back it says (I think) that it was made at the Taller de Papel Artisana in Holguin, Cuba, and that it was illustrated by hand. The pictures can't convey just how wonderful the texture of the printed paper feels.

NOTE: if you know of any other good bookbinding / book arts related places to visit, please do post information about it in the comments for this post. It helps to spread the word about the book arts! :)


Sweetwater Designs said...

oh thats fabulous..what a little treasure. My nephew gave me a hand stitched book years ago~nothing that elaborate but handmade enough that I've been afraid to make any marks in it. LOL yes.. I also have hand towels in my linen cupboard that no one has ever used.

Dana Jones said...

what a great find!