Sunday, August 26, 2018

Binding Designs By Paul Kersten and Paul Klein

German binding manuals and related books of the first third of the 20th century often featured ideas and designs for bindings to instruct and to serve as a source of inspiration. For examples see Designing Spines and Paul Kersten's Decorative Leather Work.

Paul Kersten's (1865-1943) and Paul Klein's (1894-1968) Vierzig neuzeitliche Entwürfe für künstlerische Bucheinbände (Halle: Verlag Wilhelm Knapp, 1928) featured 20 designs each by two masters of the craft, noted teachers, and fine binders who both helped define design in the field. The "book" was issued in the form of plates printed on heavier newsprint-like paper in a wrapper. The table of contents indicated the finishing technique, e.g. blind or gold. The binding designs were printed on very thin glossy paper. The wrapper and layout were designed by Paul Klein. My copy of the text had been bound by attaching the (now rather brittle) plates to stubs and over-trimming the textblock. I'll blame the apprentice. A copy as issued (below) is/was available from my favorite dealer in Germany via eBay It is also available in facsimile.

Kersten who studied with Georg Collin (at W. Collin) was the teacher of  notable students including Otto Dorfner and Otto Pfaff, both of whom Ernst Collin wrote about in articles. Kersten followed Maria Lühr as teacher at Lette Verein, was recognized as one of the greatest finishers of his generation, and was the subject of a Festschrift written by Ernst Collin. In 1904, Kersten published Moderne Entwürfe künstlerischer Bucheinbände, The book was serialized in 6 installments of loose plates, much like the book depicted below.

Paul Klein began his studies and apprenticeship at the Bauhaus (1921-22) under Dorfner where he led the binding workshop, and continued on with Dorfner as a journeyman after Dorfner left the Bauhaus. He later led the hand-binding division of Th. Knaur in Leipzig (a large firm) and subsequently went to work as a binder and designer at Hübel & Denck, also in Leipzig. According to Otto Dorfner: Zwischen van de Velde und Bauhaus (Halle/Weimar, 1989), edited by Mechtild Lobisch, Klein's trail ends in the mid-thirties in Munich where he is said to have worked for a publisher.

As issued, image from Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas

Wrapper by Paul Klein

Design in gold Paul Kersten

Design in blind by Paul Kersten

Design in blind by Paul Kersten

Design in blind by Paul Kersten

Design in gold by Paul Klein

Design in blind by Paul Klein

Design in gold by Paul Klein

Design in gold by Paul Klein

More images from the book can be found via Europeana, here and here.

Below some actual bindings by Kersten and Klein from the Archiv für Buchbinderei, 1928.

Bindings by Paul Kersten, member of the Jakob-Krause-Bund (J.K.B.)

Bindings by Paul Klein, member of the Jakob-Krause-Bund (J.K.B.)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

A Bookbinder's Journey

Was very honored to have been asked to give a presentation on my career as a bookbinder with a focus on my creative (rather than conservation/preservation) work. Among the facets discussed were how my experiences and the mentorship I received as a work-study student guided me to apprentice in me “native” Germany; the materials and techniques used to craft my bindings, many of which have been exhibited throughout the US and abroad; and a recent project that ties together many of the threads of my career. In addition to slides, I brought a selection of bindings, and some of the tools and materials I use in my work for attendees to explore.

See my 4-part interview with Sarah Kim, The Ponderings of a Bookbinding Student for more about my experiences Slides for the presentation can be found here. Sample slides below.

A Bookbinder's Journey
Title slide

First internship

Apprenticeship and earning my chops...

The Book of Origins

Parchment from fish

Additional images from the Syracuse University Libraries' Instagram feed: