Showing posts with label Fritz Otto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fritz Otto. Show all posts

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Tanning Steelhead Trout in Green Tea

I was recently graced with a gift of two nice-sized steelhead trout skins by the fishmonger's wife. For a change they were a matched pair, i.e. they could have been both sides of the same fish, a nice bonus when thinking about binding designs.

Decided to tan these using green tea. I had seen wonderful examples by Janey Chang and Abigail Bainbridge in which much of the natural coloring had been preserved. It would have largely been lost had I used black tea, or made parchment.

Cleaning and other preparations the same as before, lots of changes of cold water with unscented/undyed dish detergent kept in the fridge. Next...

The skins in the first bath of 5 bags of tea. I used about 60 bags
total of Tetley's Green Tea.
It is important to start with a dilute tannin mixture
to ensure the skin tans through to the center.

The second bath had 10 bags of tea.
This went on with changes every day and half in
which the amount of bags increased each time. 
The last was about 25 bags for 2 days.
I snipped into the skin during changes to make sure
the center was getting tannins.

After taking the skins out, dripped-dried them, then started working by stretching and massaging. When starting to feel like they were drying worked them over a stake, in my case a c-clamp that was smooth and had a rounded shape. Benefit of the c-clamp was that it didn't move...

Got tired after a while and had Fritz Otto take over. He had a few things to say, but did a good job...

"Making parchment from fish is nothing...
This softening after tanning is brutal hard work.
Working on oversized books was bad enough."

As he felt them drying he added some olive oil to his hands
to help lubricate the skins and finish them.

Team-work and a good week's work.

In the first step of the process, cleaning the fish, we decided to filter out the shinies (aka scales)... A few stubborn ones went through the tanning process and ended up yellowish. For kicks we threw them on the flatbed scanner (4800 dpi and downscaled for web).

A sampling...
Untanned, note the growth rings, just like tree-rings
 said the dendrochronologist's daughter...

This was one of the stubborn ones that wanted to be tanned...

These skins will be used on Life-history and Habits of the Salmon, Sea-trout, Trout, and other Freshwater Fish (1910). 


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Fritz Otto makes The New Bookbinder

When Designer Bookbinders' latest issue of The New Bookbinder, volume 40 arrived, the one with my article "Fish Tales: Experiments with fish skin for bookbinding", Fritz Otto was blown away to find himself and the salmon parchment/shark leather box he made included in the "Lockdown" section of the issue. It's a fantastic issue, that carries the subtitle/theme of "Creative covering; the clothes on our books." Fish skin certainly fits that theme. 

"Lockdown" was a two-page spread of images from each of the issue's contributors with a brief blurb about what they had been doing during the COVID-induced lockdown we have all lived with since March. Lots of different projects, most binding related, some not such as mask making, gardening, and painting. It was a wonderful recognition that the work we do does not exist in a vacuum.

Checking out the cover with Nadine Werner's
fantastically photographed paper folding.

Hey, look, that's me! How'd that happen?
You can't see it, but that's the picture from when I made that box.
The Meister shot it on b/w film, something he has been getting back into.

Here's the description on the back.
Even mentioned my guide, the Bone Folder.

Hmmmm, a sign of the world of total information control
we live in. Instagram added this when the image was uploaded.
Better watch what I upload, or not! ✊


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Fritz Otto Thinks About Portfolios

While looking at all the Warwick Press books, Fritz Otto noticed this small and elegant (right-sized) portfolio with flaps protecting one of them in the Once Upon a Time series (at right).

Most of the Warwick Press collection.

What interested him in particular is proportionate and elegant the flaps were. Here was only really familiar with ones made of binders board that required multiple pieces and were covered in several steps. They also never seemed to fit the item that well, especially smaller/thinner ones. This is a great solution. Can't remember where I learned it, might have been from Bill Minter in Chicago.

Here's a link to the handout I created for PRT552, Book Arts, that I taught at Syracuse University in 2007.

Opening the portfolio. The flaps are made of book cloth and paper that
have been glued together and when dry, cut to size and folded to fit.

Opening the portfolio and removing Once Upon a Time, vol 4.

He really likes the way the flaps look and work.

Hmmmm...

Definitely like it...

Thank you for showing me. Instructions for making these are where...?
Ah-ha, the handout is here.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Fritz Otto Makes a Box with Lid (Kasten mit Hals)

As we saw in Fritz Otto Says Be Safe, he is working on keeping his bench skills sharp.

Here he is making a box with lid to be covered in salmon parchment.  He's following instructions from Fritz Wiese's Sonderarbeiten des Buchbinders. The book was bound by Altmeister Arno Werner and is from his collection. The fish monger's wife brought the raw skin of the fish over requesting a small box for jewelry... Let's see what we can up with for her, especially since she also dropped of a 70+cm salmon skin to make into parchment.


Fritz Otto is going to make the variant on the left.
The diagram shows a cross section of the components and how they're covered.

Fritz Otto redeeming himself after miscutting the boards for box.
The Meister was demonstrating in a live FB feed and was most embarrassed...
Because parchment is so transparent, Fritz Otto painted the exterior
of the box black first. Then he glued the parchment onto the sides,
 and is now paring shark leather to go on the ends. It was a small salmon fillet.

Here he is edge-paring the shark leather.

One shark leather panel is on at the top of the box, next he'll glue on the other.
When done, he'll put felt on the base, something that'll also hide the turn-ins.

Here he test fitting the panels that will go inside the box that will create "neck"/Hals
that will keep the lid in place. They are made from card stock and covered fully
on one side and turned in enough on the other to cover the "neck."
You can see that he has already pre-folded the salmon for the lid.

Pieces going in as they should... So far so good.

Everything fits... Good!
Long sides first, then short sides between those during final assembly.

Getting ready to glue the salmon onto the sides of the box.

Almost done with the turn-ins.

Test fitting the lid. If you click on the picture, you can see the join for the "neck."
This way of creating the "neck" is pretty simple. There are more complex ways
to cover the box that wouldn't show cut edges.

Lid fits, and the shark and salmon go together well.

Not bad...

Can't deliver to fish monger's wife yet. Still need to put paper on
the inside of the lid's sidewalls, and then some felt on the base.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Fritz Otto Says Be Safe

Fritz Otto is playing it safe, saying at home, and keeping his bench skills sharp. In this case, he's making a box with lid to be covered in salmon parchment.  He's following instructions from Fritz Wiese's Sonderarbeiten des Buchbinders. The book was bound by Altmeister Arno Werner and is from his collection.





Sonderarbeiten des Buchbinders as bound by Arno Werner

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Lunch Instead of Fish Skin Binding

Back before Christmas, Fritz Otto was on vacation in Greece (aka Wegmans like any good fisherman) and caught a bunch of sardines. Finally, a right-sized fish he could work from start to finish for his own binding(s).


Today, pulled them out of the freezer to practice his flaying skills...

Catch of the day.

Filleting was the easy part.

The Peachey lifting knife was great!

Filleting was the easy part, but alas, the skin was too thin to get off. He also tried pulling it off of the intact fish but that was even less successful. Alas..., nothing left to do but make lunch for himself.

Just fried in a little olive oil with pepper. Didn't need more for a tasty meal.

Rülps! (How Germans Burp) That was delicious!
So, defeated in making parchment, successful in preparing a meal.

To learn more about making parchment from fish, see
"Fips" and His Eels: Fish Skin in Bookbinding
Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Fritz Otto Doing a Colored Edge and Endband

↣ Happy New Year 2020! ↢



Here's hoping we don't go too full-on Weimar,
but some bindery projects will help keep us sane, maybe.



Coloring the freshly plowed top-edge using a paste paper technique.

I think I'm liking the effect!
Next, I add some shape and crispness to the rolled leather endband.

And, a little more in that spot...

OK, that's done. What's next?

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Holy Mackerel!

Fritz Otto's latest adventure. As usual, he only gets to do the dirty, thankless tasks, never the whole thing. At least the eatin' was good...

Making sure the implements of destruction are all ready.
I got sent out of the room, and didn't get to watch the de-skinning or stretching...


Inspecting the skins. Brrr, it's cold in the basement studio this time of year.

Oh, great... I get to scrape away the nasty, left-over fleshy stuff... Gross!

Detail of the grossness. The Peachey lifting knife is great for scraping this stuff off.
Some day I better get my own fish to skin, prepare, eat, and use on a binding.
Better be worth it.

 Broiled with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and pine nuts – it was wonderful!

Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019)