Showing posts with label Caricatures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Caricatures. Show all posts

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Babette, Bärbel's long lost and secret older sister?

About a month ago I introduced Bärbel who had to leave school at the age of 13~14 following the death of her father, and go off to learn a trade so she could contribute to the household. Bärbel was the protagonist in Bärbels fröhliche Lehrzeit (Bärbel's Happy Apprenticeship) that I wrote about in Bookbinding as Chick Lit. This genre is known in German as Backfischromane, an interesting term. I had found the book by accident while surfing eBay... and ordered it on a whim, no researching the Author further in any detail. The story spoke for itself, and the illustrations were fun. After that post I received an email from a librarian colleague in Weimar who wrote to let me know that Felix Riemkasten had written an earlier version of the book in 1935... Well, now I was obligated to dig deeper if only to see what the differences were. After all, post-war Germany in 1953 was a very different time from Nazi Germany in 1935...

Babette bindet Bücher (Babette Binds Books) arrived early last week and provided a wonderful deja-vue experience. The 1953 story (Bärbel) was an almost identical word-for-word reprint with the same characters, but with a different illustrator (Lotte Oldenburg) than the 1935 story (Babette). Babette did however provide some differences that were interesting. The first was the choice of typeface in the 1935 story, an appropriately German fraktur. Makes for an interesting combination with the typefaces used on the cover... I did look through my Buchbinderlehrling to see if the book might have been reviewed or at least mentioned, but alas, no. Babette was described in Georg Ruppelt's Buchmenschen in Büchern (Book People in Books), 1997, accompanied by the frontispiece illustration.

Both books can be found via various online antiquarian platforms:

Cover | Einband

From the dedication below, I wonder if Lotti Kessler went on to become a bookbinder because of Babette's story...

Dedication | Widmung
Lotti Keßler
zum Geburtstag 1936
von ihrer Freundin
Lore Panzer.

The frontispiece and title page below show Babette in workshop with Meister Schwannecke and depict her as a the book-lover she is.

The 1953 story with Bärbel began with her being told by her mother that with the death of her father and the loss of income, that she would need to leave school to learn a trade and contribute to the household. We do not learn how the father died or other family details. These were, however, revealed in 1935's story about Babette... Babette's father was the local "city clerk" (Stadtsekretär, Beamter/Civil Servant) and went after his duties and responsibilities with great dedication. He was thinking of these on his way to hearth and home when he stepped into oncoming traffic on a slushy wintry day... He died instantly, a small consolation for his family... As the youngest of three she also had two brothers, one a student at university and the other a sailor. As a student, Babette was very bright and would certainly have followed her brother to a university - she wanted to become a teacher...

Babette cleaning the store room in her first days as an apprentice.
Babette muß in ihren ersten Lehrtagen den Lagerraum aufräumen.

More about Babette's family and the consequences from the death of her father...
Mehr über Babettes Familie und die Folgen vom Tode des Vaters...

Babette's mother spoke strongly about these consequences and the impact that they would have. Babette answered with "jawohl" and "jawohl Mutter...," I.e. "yes, ma'am! A good obedient child who knows her duties and responsibilities. The story itself is told very unpolitically, although duty and obedience (Pflicht und Gehorsam) could be interpreted that way, and probably should be in the context of 1935 when everything was politicized, including trades and education.

After this the story continues identically with only very minor variations for both Babette and Bärbel.

Coffee with her former teacher, note press under table.
Kaffee mit ihrer ehemaligen Lehrerin. Die Presse ist unter dem Tisch.

Babette gets to go dancing but is encouraged to wear gloves because of calluses...
Babette geht tanzen und wird geraten Handschuhe zu tragen wegen Hornhaut...

Babette sewing | Babette beim Heften

The cranky Journeyman's pants are glued to the stool as a prank, and torn out.
The other apprentice got sent to his apartment to grab a new pair...
Die Hose des fiesen Gesellen wird vom Lehrling an den Hocker geklebt.
Nach gelungenem Scherz muß Letzterer eine neue Hose holen.

At the exhibition | Bei der Ausstellung
The end | Ende

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bookbinding as Chick Lit

Bärbels fröhliche Lehrzeit (Bärbel's Happy Apprenticeship) by Felix Riemkasten written in 1953 is a charming piece of teen lit. for women. Illustrations by Christa W. Gräfin von der Schulenburg.

After the death of her father, Bärbel, at age 14, needs to leave school to take up an apprenticeship rather than going on to university like her eldest brother (She was a straight A student). She loves books, bookbinding isn't too strenuous (says her mother), ... What could go wrong? Nothing actually, mostly, and after finding an apprenticeship her first task is cleaning the store room (very familiar to me). Then there are challenges in dealing with the Altgeselle (Journeyman who never moved on to become a master), being the only woman, ... However, she's an ambitious over-achiever, pushes herself to learn new things, wants to create fine bindings and open new markets... A fun read that is remarkably accurate in its portrayal of many of the realities of apprenticeship, its descriptions of tools and equipment, and is up-beat, cheerful, and even empowering.

Bärbel pointing out some of her bindings in a book store window.

Although Germany had been relatively "progressive" about women as apprentices..., Bärbel was the first woman to apprentice with Buchbindermeister Schwannecke. All apprentices were referred to as "Junge" (boy), and Bärbel was also referred to as this... Bärbel's gender was also something that led to regular disputes with the Altgeselle, a journeyman who never progressed beyond that stage and was largely responsible for the day-to-day work and apprentices.

Bärbel heaving a sewing frame loaded with books through the bindery... Why? To demonstrate on her first day that she could carry her weight. Would be easier and safer to carry if held lower...

As woman, Bärbel was naturally weaker, something of a liability in a trade that required great stamina working while standing and carrying heavy loads... Hence, carrying the loaded sewing frame on her first day... Of course, she first had to identify the sewing frame never having seen one...The number and size (as well as dangerous) of the equipment and tools also intimidated her.

Among the adjustments was also that learning a trade as an apprentice was not a warm and fuzzy environment filled with mutual respect... Praise was scant, even when the work was well done, and apprentices (and journeymen) were chastised in the presence of others.

As part of her apprenticeship, Bärbel also had to go to trade school - the great equalizer where apprentices learned those things they might not learn in the shop... This was an experience she enjoyed, in large part because it was not the "bunker" her shop was.

Bärbel also learned about the value of acquiring the best tools and equipment very early on, and invested heavily in herself, often at the expense of a nice new dress... Fortunately, she was also able to borrow some equipment like hand presses or sewing frame so that she could practice at home...

Wrapped up in her ongoing conflict with the Journeyman was also the realization that it was very important to set personal goals for oneself, and that not to do so was to hold oneself back. For her, this meant going beyond mastering just the day-to-day skills, but taking it to the next level.

The book also did a good job of describing the types of jobs that came in, from repairing textbooks, to binding ledgers for businesses, to journals for libraries, ... This was the kind of work that sustained small trade binderies, and subsidized the more demanding work. It was also the kind of work that "allowed" apprentices to develop chops via rote memorization (of mind and hands), not her favorite. Via a conservation with another apprentice, she learns about his motivation for stealing, with his eyes, picking up tricks and new techniques. Bärbel is his favorite for this as she does the most beautiful work.

In terms of techniques, one of the best descriptions is for when Bärbel learns about decorated papers, and how to make and apply these. For her, this is also when she realizes even more what the design possibilities can be, and how to set her work apart. In some respects it felt the Bibliophile listening to the Master in Ernst Collin's Pressbengel (Bone Folder).

In the end, Bärbel passed her Gesellenprüfung ending her apprenticeship, but she stayed on at the bindery. First though, time to forget about the bindery and go dancing...

Bärbel gets to go dancing but is encouraged to wear gloves because of calluses...

Newly minted as a journeyman binder, Bärbel seeks out venues for showing her work, and perhaps earning some extra income. A local bookstore is more than happy to display her work in their shop window, also indicating that customers can contact her via the store. Ironically, she has very little success in attracting work. She does gain a patron of sorts in her brother who was at university and is now doing well, binding books for him (and his friends...). This eventually catches the attention of the (now other) journeyman who rats her out to the Meister. Without her Meister and the license to run her own shop she cannot legally do this kind of work on the side. However, after reprimanding her more for using shop resources without permission and compensation, he senses opportunities for his business and adds Kunstbuchinderei to his name. This gives him more prestige, and with Bärbel's skills that he acknowledges are more refined than his, a broader pallet of services. The other Journeyman gets reproached for being a busy-body, and further when learning that she is earning more than him, and as a girl no less, plans for further revenge. This back fires, or as is said in German "geht in die Hose" (went to his pants), literally. Bärbel, meanwhile, continues to be allowed to borrow equipment, and is quite happy with the situation.

The cranky Journeyman's pants are glued to the stool as a prank, and torn out. The other apprentice got sent to his apartment to grab a new pair...

The frontispiece: That's a heavy load that she's carrying on her shoulder. She's carrying a book in a finishing press through town, just like on the other occasions when she borrows equipment from the shop to keep working on her own books at home...

Finally getting a binding job via the book store, she gets to know a Frau Director Feld, a woman who is very successful and independent in her life. This Frau Feld becomes her patron in the classic sense, giving her commissions, discussing bookbinding with the interest of Collin's Bibliophile, but even more. Asking her to leave her portfolio of designs, materials, and decorated papers, she shows these to like-minded friends, but also arranges a tea in her home where Bärbel gets to meet these friends and give her pitch. While very surprised by this scenario, she is very prepared, poised, and confident.

Bärbel confidently and enthusiastically at work.

One of the guests mentions an upcoming competition for a new guest book for the city (every village, town, city, ... had one). Open to all, Bärbel enters a design finely executed on a sample binding. She is heart-broken to learn that she did not win having been beaten by established artists, and is told by Frau Feld that the gentleman who encouraged her to enter was doing so largely in jest – she was still very young and inexperienced, and the winners were established and highly respected artists. She did, however, come in fourth and her work was exhibited with the winners, a consolation. Her Meister was appropriately proud, and wanted her to remain with him to do the higher end work that she had been bringing to the bindery – who would do it if she left... Frau Feld had other ideas however and had been busy networking to find Bärbel a position in a large trade bindery where she would work in the extra binding department. Having worked in the same bindery for her apprenticeship and journeyman years, she had very limited perspectives and alternative experiences. Moving on would be very important for her professional development, something the Meister also realized.

The [binding] world was hers for the taking, and with her drive, passion, and the help of patrons and mentors she would succeed.

Bärbel dedicating a guest book she bound to her patron.

So, from this 54 yr curmudgeon, a fun read loaded with accurate descriptions of the trade and apprenticeship in general, positive and encouraging, and with the complications of teen love and its associated drama. Based on my personal experiences as an apprentice in Germany during the 1980s, I found the portrayal of the Meister and his relationships with the others fair and largely accurate - apprenticeship is not summer camp, management style ranging from brusque to encouraging, what we would expect in the traditional trades. For someone like Bärbel who was academically strong and would have gone on to university, the contrast would have been stark and revealed crass differences in class and educational background, as well. Throughout though, Bärbel and the Meister handled themselves and each other well, and the real antagonisms were expressed through the journeyman who never showed any drive or enthusiasm, but was jealous of those who did. Ultimately his behaviour had him strongly reprimanded – shape up or ship out – and he and Bärbel came to an understanding. Finally, there was Frau Feld, a successful and cultured woman whose strong support (and some enabling) opened many doors for Bärbel, doors that she walked through with confidence to close the deals that Frau Feld had started.

Thinking that this book might have been reviewed, or at least mentioned, in Das Falzbein, THE journal for bookbinding apprentices I leafed through my complete run page-by-page starting in 1952. Alas, nothing, disappointing because I think the book could have encouraged readers to at least consider our craft. I did, however, find numerous images of female apprentices and art school students who could have been models for Bärbel.

So anything like this appear in English or another language?

See also my post about Babette, Bärbel's long lost and secret older sister?, aka Babette bindet Bücher.

Both books can be found via various online antiquarian platforms:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

„Safety first"

Bin dabei etwas in der Fachbibliothek zu stöbern und fand im 12. Jg. vom Falzbein (1959-60) diesen Aufsatz zum them Sicherheit und Risikobereitschaft. Thematische Zeichnungen stammen ebenfalls aus dem Band...

Been browsing the reference collection and found an article on safety in the workplace and the willingness to take risks in Das Falzbein, Vol. 12 (1959-60). Without translating the article. Be safe when appropriate (see caricatures), but otherwise learn to take risks to move yourself and career forward. No risks, no rewards... The caricatures are from the same issue...

Even the Meister doesn't dare enter the workshop...

„Safety first" ist nicht immer angebracht

Nichts gegen gewisse Sicherheiten! Nichts auch gegen das „safety first!" im Kampf gegen den Verkehrstod auf der Straße und gegen den Unfallteufel im Betrieb. Das besagt aber nun noch lange nicht, daß die Parole des „safety first!" immer und überall angebracht ist. In den entscheidenden Augenblicken unseres Lebens nützt uns meistens alle äußere Sicherheit nur in dem Maße etwas, in dem wir unserer selbst sicher sind. Diese geistige Sicherheit jedoch kann immer nur auf dem Wege äußerster, bewußter Unsicherheit gewonnen werden. Das gilt es heute mehr denn je auseinanderzuhalten. Denn wer zur rechten Zeit nicht mehr den Mut zum Risiko aufbringt, der setzt sich nur allzu leicht dem Risiko aus, daß andere ihn noch zu viel größeren Risiken zwingen. Dieser Gefahr gilt es vorzubeugen...

Der ganze Aufsatz ist hier als PDF oder unten als JPG.

Poster asks, "are you grabbing a wasp's nest?,"
apprentice about to put hands in glue machine responds with "stupid question."

Take a breath and slow down (pay attention) /
otherwise you'll lose the tip of your thumb /

Klick Bild zum vergrößern | Click to enlarge

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Bookbinding Caricatures, 1948

Mehr Karikaturen aus'm Falzbein, 1948. Das Falzbein war die Lehrlingszeitschrift und erschien als Beilage zum Allgemeinen Anzeiger für Buchbindereien. Es ersetzte den Buchbinderlehrling (1927-1943). Alle Zeichnungen von Jopf ausser dem Obersten.

More cartoons out of the Falzbein, 1948. The Falzbein was the magazine for bookbinding apprentices, appearing as an insert in the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien. It replaced the Buchbinderlehrling (1927-1943). All drawings by Jopf, except for the top one.

Wenn das nur gut geht!
If only nothing goes wrong!

Ha, ist dann der Titel schief oder bin ich schief. Dumme Frage alles Schief.
Ha, is the title crooked or am I crooked. Dumb question, everything's crooked.

Nit möglich, raucht der Stift doch meine Zigarren!!
Really, the apprentice is smoking my cigars!!

So, wenn Du nicht sofort sagst wer mir den Kleister in meinen Spinat getan hat,
werde ich Dich mit 'ner Hülse hinterkleben und bis morgen so stehn lassen...!!

So, if you don't tell me right now who put paste in my spinach,
I'll put a hollow on you and leave you in here overnight...!!

Ich werde Dir helfen die Bücher zu flicken...
I'll help you "fix" those books...
"Zweimal Old Shatterhand" refers to one of the lead characters in Karl Mey's
Western series, as well as the hand of the Meister that is about to strike the apprentice...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Final Exams und Prüfungen

Best of luck to all those working on their final projects and exams at North Bennet Street School, American Academy of Bookbinding, University of Alabama, Columbia College Chicago, University of Iowa, and all others. Auch für die die an ihren Gesellen- und Meisterstücken arbeiten besten Erfolg!

Competition during final exams
Chief Guild Master Paolucci watches as the Journeyman candidates reveal their secrets...
Caricature by JOPF, from Das Falzbein, 1948 (112)

Create your own caption and enter in comment box below.
Schreiben Sie ihre Bildunterschrift im Kommentarkasten unten.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Spring" Binding Hath Sprung - Zum Frühling

The ground in Syracuse (NY) still has snow and the temperatures are still unseasonably cold from time to time, BUT the Sun crosses the Equator tomorrow and the first day of spring is here. The days are getting longer, our clocks "sprung" forward in the US on the 8th, so why not "celebrate" one of my favorite binding structures, the springback.

Hier in Syracuse, NY, liegt noch Schnee, die Temperaturen sind noch gelegentlich niedriger als normal, ABER die Sonne überquert den Equator morgen und der Frühling ist hier! Die Tage werden länger und wir haben in den USA am 8. auf Sommerzeit umgestellt. Also, warum nicht den Frühling mit dem Sprungrücken feiern? (im Englischen ein "gutes" Wortspiel...)

Above the logo for the first Bonefolder Bind-O-Rama (2004) that was featured on the cover of the Bonefolder. While published in the fall, the Bonefolder was announced early in the spring.

Oben, das Logo für das erste  Bind-O-Rama des Bonefolder von 2004. Das Heft kam im Herbst des Jahres zum ersten Mal heraus, wurde aber im Frühling angekündigt.

The Bonefolder, Vol 1, no. 1, Fall 2004

And from the Bind-O-Rama, this miniature springback by Roberta Lavadour.
“A Counting” – English-style springback, leather cover with double straight bands laced with deer vellum. 600 pages of 9 lb. Canary paper with painted edges. Inscription notes the multiplier for each of the 300 page spreads needed to equal the number of dead and wounded American soldiers and Iraqi civilians since March 2003. 7.5 x 7 x 2.5 cm. Bound 2004.

The mechanics of this springback reflect Richard Bakers demonstration at the Guild of Book Workers Seminar on Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding in Denver CO, with a few references to Vaughans 1929 classic, Modern Bookbinding. The new purpose of this springback is to pop up the pop-up. The book measures 5.5 inches by 6.5 inches by 1.5 inches. Bound 2004.

Historical ledger bindings in an archive...

The structure is most common to the German and English binding traditions and has seen increased interest in the US since the early 2000s with articles and presentations largely by Peter D. Verheyen, Donia Conn, Richard Baker, and Karen Hanmer.

Sprungrücken gibt es am Häufigsten in der deutschen und englischen Buchbindertradition, und hat in den USA aber Anfang der 2000er neue Aufmerksamkeit gesehen in Aufsätzen, Vorführungen, und Kursen, hauptsächlich durch  Peter D. Verheyen, Donia Conn, Richard Baker, und Karen Hanmer.

Poster for the German tradition by Verheyen and Conn based on materials for our article in The New Bookbinder.
Guild of Book Workers Standards Friday Forum poster session, Minneapolis, MN, 2002

Richard Baker "hammering over" the headcap for the English-style.
Guild of Book Workers' Standards, Denver, CO 2003.
Cut-away model of German springback
Schnittmodell vom deutschen Sprungrücken

Interactive cut-away diagram (auf Englisch) here

These tutorials, with bibliographies can be found at | Anleitungen auf Englisch gibts hier:
  • The Springback: Instructions in the German tradition for a binding designed for account, ledger, and guest books. By Peter D. Verheyen and Donia Conn.
  • The Springback: Instructions in the English tradition for a binding designed for account, ledger, and guest books. By Peter D. Verheyen.
The structure is also described in all the leading bookbinding manuals published in German and in England.

Die Einbandart ist in allen gängigen Fachbüchern zu finden, also Henningsen, Lüers, Moessner,Wiese, Zahn...

[Edit 28 April, 2015: Nice article from West Dean Conservation in the UK on a student's first time making an English style springback | Schöner Aufsatz von einem West Dean Conservation Studentin in der UK: Springback Binding with Richard Nichols by Lucy Cokes]

Donia Conn cutting the spine on the German style
Rücken Ende absägen beim deutschen Sprungrücken

What's the attraction to this arcane structure that has long since been replaced by Microsoft Excel and now mostly sees use for guest books? It's the energetic springing flat of the pages as the book is opened that seem to give it wings.

Warum die Aufmerksamkeit für diese ausgestorbene Einbandart die vielleicht noch für Gästebücher anwendung sieht? Es ist das kraftvolle Öffnen und die flach-liegenden Seiten die dem Einband Flügel verleihen...

At left, "Not possible...," at right, "whoa! Wow!"
"As seen at the 1948 journeyman's exam in Cologne"
Sprungrücken, Das Falzbein, 1948, pg 96

So, let's spring into spring with renewed energy!
Also, ab in den Frühling mit erneuter Energie... !

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Bonefolder (no, not that one)

Recently acquired volumes 1-9 (of 12) of the Falzbein (the Bone Folder), the successor publication to the Buchbinderlehrling. The first volume appeared in 1948, the last in this form in 1960. A journal like this was a bridge to trade school that continued the overall education of the young apprentices because at that time they were dropped from the university-bound track. Subjects included social studies, math, and science as they related to binding. This also included paper making, leather tanning and parchment making, cloth, and in-depth engineering of bookbinding machines... Unlike the Buchbinderlehrling, this one also included numerous cartoons in each volume by Jopf. Can't find anything about him online, so he will remain a mystery, for now...

Below a cartoon from that first volume. I'll share more with translated captions.
My daddy isn't here. How would you like to have your prayerbook bound,
as a springback, perforated, or like a calendar
with tear-off pages?

But all good things have to end as indicated by this note in the parent periodical, the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien (AAfB), Vol. 73, 1960, pg 120:
The Falzbein will cease publication and the editorial board will say farewell in it to its readers with the March issue. That the decision to cease publication was not premature was  demonstrated by the apathy of the whole [bookbinding] trade that found no words of regret regarding the decision. So, we will publish our last articles with this issue. As of April, the Masters who subscribe to the AAfB will have 2 pages in that publication that they can refer their apprentices to.
The colleague in Germany who shared that notice reports that the new "minimal" format comprised 2 ~ 3 articles and ca 1/2 page for the serialized version of Moessner's Buchbinder ABC, a bookbinding dictionary in German. Schmedt, a large bookbinding supply company provides it online. Publication in any form ceased in 1966.

My next post will hopefully contain photos of my 9 volumes and a bit more background information. If not, I'll share another caricature or two. As in the case of the Buchbinderlehrling, the volumes were all bound by apprentices in various styles.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Glue Pots

The glue smells really peculiar today... [mustard]
From the Falzbein (December 1959, Heft 9, 12Jahrgang)

I remember seeing this and doing it during my apprenticeship. I did not get to eat the sausage, the Meister grabbed it first. Evidently he knew the prank, too...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vee alvays knew zis

Seen on the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) leaving Toronto, Canada on the way home this afternoon... One of the most hideous highways I have had the pleasure to drive on. At least something entertaining today...

Bradel General Contractors

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bookbinders at Work

And now a slightly different depiction of bookbinders at work. The embarrassed gentleman at left is in all likelihood a journeyman binder with the master at right.

It seems we have some quality control issues.. 

And here in a poster shared by Rodrigo Ortega, binder in Mexico...
[Edit 19.3.2015]

And on 28.5.2015