Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Alcuin Society

Just wanted to give a little shout out (in the parlance of our times) to the Alcuin Society. Based in Vancouver, BC, this society, according to their website, is for people who "care about the past, present and future of fine books."

I joined the Alcuin Society last year, and they sent me beautifully printed materials about the society, which has a really interesting history, and about book arts in general. I always look forward to the journal, Amphora, because each issue comes with an original letterpress print (which is worth the price of subscribing by itself). I have one of the letterpress prints hanging in my dining room, and here is a photo of another that arrived recently (it looks crooked in the photo, but isn't in real life):

This print has a picture of a book, surrounded by illustrations of all the things that are bad news for books (rain, bugs, floods, and fire), and the words "tuere me" (take care of me). I will be hanging this one in my bookbinding studio.

This print was designed and created by Gary Sim of Entropy Press. You can find more of his artwork on his website http://www.sim-publishing.com/.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Medieval Help Desk

I recently saw a comedy skit, first shown on Norwegian television, that really made me laugh. It's set in the days when the book, not the computer, was the new technology.

You can find the video here on YouTube


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pictorial Bookbindings

Oh, dear, my blog has been sadly neglected lately. I have been spending the last few weeks working out new designs for journals, and also for some artist books I have in mind to make. Now I just have to find the time to make it all.... I have a couple of Christmas craft shows looming on the horizon, so the journals and other things I sell at shows will take priority right now.

I've also been reading more books on bookbinding. The one I'm reading right now is Pictorial Bookbindings, by Mirjam Foot. It's an interesting little book. It briefly covers a variety of bindings that have (as you might guess) pictures on the covers. Has lots of photos of different bindings, which is good, and illustrations of a variety of ways bookbinders have decorated bindings--pen and ink drawings, paintings, leather inlays, carved ivory, and hammered metal, to name a few. One of my favourite sections is on embroidered bindings--here you can see an example on the front cover of an embroidered book cover created in 1633:

The spine is even embroidered with flowers and bees, and the book had its own storage bag, which was also lavishly embroidered. Wish I had time to make such wonderfully intricate covers, but not in this lifetime, alas... however, I am working on a design for an artist's book that involves embroidery, although not in quite the same way. But more on that later...