Sunday, August 18, 2019

Fritz Otto Buchbinder

Needed a little help, alright a lot of help in the studio, something that was very evident during Bookbinder Barbie's visit. We had fun, worked well together, and I was able to teach her about some of my favorite weird bookbinding proclivities like making parchment from fish skin. Most of what I learned from that experience was that working alone can be hard for any number of reasons.

That got me talking to some old connections in Germany, and through them learned about a very motivated and well-versed binder, Fritz Otto Buchbinder, who was looking for some new experiences. He's a Meister, learned from some very good (and not so good) binders in the trade, and spent at one of the few remaining art academies teaching binding. There are also a lot of under- and unemployed bookbinders around...

He arrived recently on Lufthansa who managed to lose all his tools, save one. Ouch! To the rescue. the New World's best tool maker, Jeff Peachey who was able to outfit him with some of his finest tools. I was able to scare up some bone folders and Berlin-style brushes with the metal handle that he likes so much. The one tool he managed to save was the bone folder his Meister gave him as an apprentice. This Meister had gotten from the Meister of his Meisterin. Apparently it had guided a certain Franz through his career as a binder. There it is grinning from the pocket of his lab coat.

Fritz Otto Buchbinder with his Peachey Swiss paring knife.

The tool starter set, more will appear as they are needed and made.

Looking at paring knifes in the 1928 Braunwarth & Lüthke catalog.
Fritz prefers the Swiss and French styles of knives to the traditional German kind.
This is the result of bad experiences he had with the knife his Meister gave him –
Said it was a stumpfe Gurke... (dull cucumber).

Fritz is already getting lost in the Fachbibliothek. He's glad to find his familiar
German manuals, but is also very interested in what he can learn from the
English (and other) ones. I'm sure his English will improve quickly.

Fritz was blown away to see this binding from the "golden age" of German binding,
the period between the World Wars.

Examining a "Dorfner-style" open joint binding on the print-on-demand version of
Ernst Collin's The Bone Folder (Der Pressbengel).

I look forward to having Fritz Otto in the studio with me, teaching him things as well as learning from him. He's curious, loves exploring the old binding manuals and trade publications. Mostly, I'm sure he'll get me binding more. I'll also be glad for his help working on the layout and running the trains.

Monday, August 5, 2019

A Fish Skin Rug

I was recently made aware of Studio Nienke Hoogvliet, "a design studio for material research, experimental and conceptual design based in The Hague, The Netherlands. The studio was founded in 2013 with a focus on "raising awareness of social and environmental problems in the textile, leather and food industry."

In her project SEA ME she researches how seaweed can contribute to a more sustainable textile industry. RE-SEA ME focuses on the applications of fish skin. She also published a book describing her method of preparing skins without chemicals. Based on the video this looks like she is making parchment, a topic dear to my heart. The book costs $75 including shipping to the US. Can't wait to get my copy and wish I had a rug like she made. Perhaps I need to make my own.

RE-SEA ME is the continuation of SEA ME. To show the duality between plastic waste in the oceans and the sustainable materials the oceans have to offer, Nienke continued her search for materials out of the sea. She discovered that fish skins are a waste product of the fishing industry, while you can also make them into beautiful leather.

She went to fish shops to collect their waste and discovered a way of tanning the skins without any chemicals. By using an old technique, that requires a lot of manual labour, she created a strong, sustainable and beautiful material that can be used like regular leather. To show the abilities of the leather, Nienke designed a small stool with fish leather seating. To continue the SEA ME collection, she also designed a conceptual rug where the fish leather is sown into a discarded fishing net.


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Bookbinder Barbie Visits Syracuse

So, @BookbinderBarbie is a real thing. In some ways she is becoming an "influencer" and a meme for the bookbinding and book arts set online, at least I hope she will become. We could all use a lighthearted ambassador that makes what we do accessible to the "masses," at least I think so.

She was started by North Bennet Street School Bookbinding (NBSS) students a year ago, and has been sharing her experiences in that program and during her travels ever since. This summer she is visiting binders, conservators, printers, artists, and many others throughout the US, before heading back to start her second year at NBSS. Think of it as a series of intense, short-term internships.

Bookbinderbarbie on Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/bookbinderbarbie/

I was fortunate to have her visit this past week, and we had some great experiences in a few short days. She got here late because Air USPS "lost her," then decompressed for an evening by looking at some books including one about her in a past life, and playing with the trains. Next day we headed across Syracuse to see some sights and visit Boxcar Press and the great people there. That evening, I taught her the stiffened paper binding (Steifbroschure) and we made a 1/4 fish leather binding with sides covered in hand printed cloth made by an artist in Venice. This was a prelude to making her own parchment from salmon the next day. That next day she got to go to work with me, and while I was doing my thing with spreadsheets (she wasn't interested) she received a personal tour of Syracuse University Libraries' amazing Plastics Collection from Courtney, the curator. She was an instant fan!

After we got home it was time to make that parchment. Below a few photos, embedded posts from with links to the others from Syracuse. To see all her adventures, you know you want to, scroll through her Insta feed, better yet follow for there is much more to come.


Richard Minsky Nice to see Barbara Slate's Marvel Barbie comic.
It's been 25 years since Barbie taught at the Center for Book Arts.
Looks like a new bookbinder Barbie may take that position ❣️
Barbie #43, July, 1994.

Making a 1/4 fishskin case binding with printed cloth sides.
Barbie came with her own tools.

The stiffened paper binding (Steifbroschure)
More under https://pressbengel.blogspot.com/search/label/steifbroschure


Syracuse's own Niagara Mohawk building, an art deco gem.

I got to go shopping for a delicious meal in advance of Barbie's visit. Yum!

Stretching out the salmon parchment.

Inspecting the stretched out skin.

A full step-by-step description of the process can be
found under 

https://pressbengel.blogspot.com/2018/05/
more-fish-parchment-mehr-fisch-pergament.html



Finally, looking at some books, here the Boss Dog Press edition
of Ernst Collin's Pressbengel that was translated
by Peter D. Verheyen as The Bone Folder. 
Download the text laid out for binding in the left sidebar,
make some fish parchment, and bind your own copy.
Make sure to share pictures.

Links to all the posts from Syracuse:

I can't wait to see what Barbie does next and how she grows as an emerging professional. Perhaps she'll tell her story in a journal article or blog post somewhere. I know I had a wonderful time hosting her, and know all the others she visited did as well. What a great way to spend the summer. Made me feel young again.

Related, perhaps other programs and individual book artists could adopt this concept with their own Avatars, and then they could all converse and grow together as practicing binders and book arts professionals.

Oh, Twitter seems to be enjoying her, too.

Some tweet reactions!


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sprayed and Stenciled Papers

Decorated papers from the Hübel & Denck Monatsblätter 1924 & 1925, as well as a photo showing process from Praktische Winke für den Verkehr zwischen Verlag und Buchbinderei published by the Leipziger Buchbinderei A.G., 1926. The decorated papers are created with sprayed colors using stencils and other techniques. See also pochoir, schabloniertes Papier.

End- and covering paper Pekapapier Nr. 84 made in our own workshop
from a design by Paul Klein.
Hübel & Denck Monatsblätter, Nr. 2, 1924.

End- and covering paper Pekapapier Nr. 96 made in our own workshop.
Hübel & Denck Monatsblätter, Nr. 3, 1924.

Peka sprayed paper made in our own workshop using light-fast colors,
a new development that has man advantages in addition to the attractive soft-toned colors.
Hübel & Denck Monatsblätter, Nr. 1, 1925.

Photo showing process of making sprayed and stenciled papers
from Praktische Winke published by the Leipziger Buchbinderei A.G., 1926.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Bone Folder as Bound by Marc Hammond

Congratulations Marc! Absolutely beautiful and honored by the binding.

The Bone Folder was written by Ernst Collin as Der Pressbengel, translated by me, and printed by Don Rash's Boss Dog Press with photos by John (Hans) Schiff. Order information at left. Unbound sheets are sold out.

Below the post on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw2oyDJgbgg/:






The 1st Place winner in the "Bound Together" bookbinding exhibit is a binding of “The Bone Folder" by #NBSSalumni Marc Hammonds BB ’17 @marc.hammo. . Marc says, “Much of the subject of The Bone Folder relates to traditional bookbinding techniques. My inspiration stems from the raised sewing supports and endband cores used in historic bookbinding to attach the boards. In my design, they are illustrated by leather onlays and dots tooled with gold leaf. The goal I had in mind was to craft a very contemporary binding with a design which would allude to traditional techniques.” . “The Bone Folder” was written by Ernst Collins as Der Pressbengel, translated by Peter D. Verheyen @pdverheyen, and printed by Boss Dog Press. . See photos of Marc's book process here, including the titling on the spine. This is a full leather binding with onlays, dots tooled with gold leaf, and Diane Bond paste paper endpapers. . Come see the book in "Bound Together," open until tomorrow. it will also be in the 20th Annual Celebration of Craft: Student & Alumni Exhibit, opening May 1, 2019. More info: nbss.edu/acc2019 . #boundtogether #boundtogetherbooks #bookbinding #bookbindingtools #bookbinder #bookbinders #bonefolder #thebonefolder #bookbindersdesign #bookart #finebinding #bookbindingexhibition #acc2019 #bookstagram #books
A post shared by North Bennet Street School (@nbssboston) on

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Help [Hübel & Denck] Advertise!

Help [Hübel & Denck] Advertise!

"A good book is the best friend and helper anytime!," "read books, knowledge is power!," and "give books at every occasion!" Hübel & Denck, based in Leipzig was one of Germany's largest trade binderies, binding everything from notebooks to literature, including very high end specialty work. The image is from their house journal that published articles about typography, design, bookbinding, collecting, ...

From Hübel & Denck's "Monatsblätter für Bucheinbände und Handbindekunst," vol 2, nr. 12, 1925-26.

Each of the issues in the journal had it's own unique style that included the paper, typography, graphic elements, and samples of materials. More about those later.

The bindery and book cover factory Hübel & Denck, 1895.
Franz Weisse worked there in their extra-binding department.
Hübel & Denck also published the Monatsblätter für Bucheinbände und Handbindekunst (1924-28),
a monthly newsletter with articles by and for bibliophiles that Ernst Collin wrote for as well.
Each issue had its own distinctive typographical design and often included samples of materials

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Carsick and Corrugated Cardboard

Good article in the New York Times (3/22/19) about the resurgence of corrugated manufacturing in the US. Nice segue to sharing images of this project from last summer...

Last summer I finally got around to binding my copy of John Waters' Carsick that chronicled his hitchhiking trip from Bawlmer to San Francisco. Carsick is your "traditional" modern trade hardcover, adhesive bound with dust jacket... Nothing special.

So, rip cover off, take tacking iron (with protective layer between) to remove the bulk of the hot-melt adhesive and round while still warm. Next, attach a rolled cord to make a shoulder as there was none, make the endpapers, trim, give top edge a coloring of Woodland Scenics asphalt color (bookbinding and choo-choos overlap), apply rolled endbands, line spine, make case, cover with distressed corrugated cardboard, case-in. Got it? Good. Just another German case binding...


The start of Mr. Waters' journey, and mine.
Thought it might find use in the design.

A trip to AAA (Just like Mr. Waters) to get some road maps.
Started in Bawlmer/Maryland, an overall of the US, and finally San Francisco.

Textblock done, next the covers. Start with your typical corrugated cardboard box like you might pick up to make your hitchhiking sign, write destination (or in this case title) in Sharpie, and done. My vodka box was too clean though, so some light weathering was called for. Enter a post lunch-time coffee on Waverly Avenue, busy during that time, including with heavy truck traffic, just like along the interstate.




Result of the weathering...

Mr. Waters holding his sign.
From a review in the Chicago Tribune.

Needed a bit more, so coffee stains from the bottom of the cup.

End on view showing edge treatment, endband making use of map cutoffs,
and the corrugated.

The endpapers...

Overall view of cover. A torn strip of map depicting the heartland along the bottom

A very different yet very fun project where I felt I was channeling Richard Minsky's "material as metaphor" concept.

I enjoyed reading the book, too,really three stories bound as one, his fantasy trip, his horror trip, and reality. My masseuse (who didn't care for the book) undertook a similar trip last summer, retracing the one he made 40 years ago. Like Waters' experience, his reality was similar, a trip filled with meeting interesting people with interesting stories that reveal not all is lost in 'Merica.