Showing posts with label Paul Kersten. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paul Kersten. Show all posts

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 who Collin also wrote about in articles.others). He followed Maria Lühr as teacher at Lette Verein, and 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 also 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 Kleins 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.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Noch mehr zum Fisch | More Fishiness

Beim stöbern in meiner Fachliteratur, vor allem meiner neuen Heftlade (Herausgegeben von Ernst Collin für den Jakob-Krause-Bund), fand ich einen Aufsatz von Paul Kersten, "Kurioses Einbandmaterial," (Bd. 1, Nr. 1, 1922 (9-13). In diesem besprach Kersten kurz die vielen im Allgemeinen unbekannte Materialien tierischen Ursprungs die Buchbinder verwenden. Unter diesen war auch Fisch. Als erstes erwähnte Kersten den Aal den wir zuerst von "Fips" kennen lernten. Kersten zitierte Zeidler eines der frühsten deutschen Fachbücher zur Buchbinderei.

While leafing through my reference collection, in particular my new copy of the Heftlade (published by Ernst Collin for the Jakob-Krause-Bund), I found an article in German by Paul Kersten about "Curious Binding Materials,"  (Vol. 1, Nr., 1, 1922 (9-13) in which Kersten discussed a number of what he considered highly unusual and large unknown animal-based materials Binders might use. Among these was also fish. Kersten began with his mentions of fish starting with eel skin, a material we first learned about from "Fips."

"Fips mit seiner Aalhaut | "Fips" with his eel skins
Johann Gottfried Zeidlers Buchbinder-Philosophie Oder Einleitung In die Buchbinder Kunst (1708) beginnt Ende der Seite 121 mit der Beschreibung von Aal als Werkstoff mit grosser Festigkeit der sich auch sehr leicht zubereiten läßt – Abziehen, aufspannen, trockenen, und fertig. Halt so wie "Fips" es machte (und ohne Entfettung). Wegen der größe der Haut (schmal und lang) lassen sich damit aber nur kleiner Bücher binden... Ein in Aalhaut gebundenes Buch konnte Kersten auch nicht finden.

In writing about eel, Kersten cites Johann Gottfried Zeidlers Buchbinder-Philosophie Oder Einleitung In die Buchbinder Kunst (1708), one of the earliest German binding manuals. In that, beginning on page 121, Zeidler describes the strength of the skin, and its ease of preparation - pull off the skin, stake out, and let dry, just like "Fips" did, but without degreasing. Because of the size of eel (long and narrow) it was really only suited for smaller books. Kersten also mentions that he has never seen a book bound in eel skin.

Kersten zitiert Zeidler zur Aalhaut | Kersten quotes Zeidler on eel skin.
Kersten beschreibt auch andere Fischarten, unter denen Kabeljau, daß er mit Kalbpergament vergleicht, "das haltbarste aller Einband-Materialien ist."

Kersten also mentions other kinds of fish, among them cod, that he compares with calf vellum, the most durable of all binding materials.

Kersten über Kabeljau | Kersten on cod

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Paul Kersten's Decorative Leather Work

There are very few mentions, never-mind articles about German bookbinders and bookbinding in English-language publications. Octave Uzanne's article "Paul Kersten's Decorative Leather Work," published in The Studio: an illustrated magazine of fine and applied art, is one of the few that I have found.

Frontispiece portrait of Paul Kersten from
Collin, Ernst. Paul Kersten: Festschrift des Jakob Krausse-Bundes zum 60. Geburtstage seines Ehrenvorsitzenden Paul Kersten. Berlin: Corvinus-Antiquariat E. Collin, 1925.
Lithograph by Edmund Schäfer

Wrote Octave Uzanne in his article:
The bindings of Mr. Paul Kersten, who has been established for a short time at Aschaffenbourg, and displayed some very fine examples of his work at the recent International Art Exhibition at Dresden, are the most striking manifestation yet made by the young German school of binding. He shines especially as a gilder. After a long course of work for a big firm at Leipzig, under the management of M. Sperling, for whom he did his earliest bindings, Paul Kersten was confident enough to start on his own account, in order to bring his name before the public and do justice to his signature.
[snip]
Having awarded full praise to the heavy leather covers of the bouquins of the seventeenth century, Mr. Kersten has to admit that the eighteenth century produced nothing but copies of French bindings; and, further, that if German bindings attracted any attention in the course of the nineteenth century, soon after 1840, it was solely due to the binders. Purgold and Trantz, men of German origin, living in Paris, and to Kalthoefer and Zaehnsdorff, who were established in London. As a matter of fact, try as one will, it is impossible to deny that Germany, during the centuries in question, was very poor as regards art binders, and this fact makes its recent efforts to achieve celebrity in this direction all the more meritorious. Mr. Paul Kersten had few predecessors, and when he talks of Trantz and Kalthoefer he must mistake the facts connected with these artists. They did no work "at home " - that is in Germany - but were "outsiders," who cannot be taken into account on the present occasion. Mr. Kersten himself is one of the foremost German exponents of his art, and he may without vanity be proud of the eminent position he holds.

Unidentified binding from Octave Uzanne's article


The complete article can be read in The Studio: an illustrated magazine of fine and applied art, Vol 24, Nr. 104, 1902. The Studio was one of the premier arts & crafts journals.

Paul Kersten (1865 - 1943) was one of the seminal German fine bookbinders, and his Der Exakte Bucheinband (1923) helped define German fine binding. Ernst Collin wrote the biographical "Festschrift, Paul Kersten," of this in honor of this seminal binder's 60th birthday in 1925. It was published by Collin's Corvinus-Antiquariat E. Collin for the Jakob-Krauße-Bund. The publication is divided into 6 essays titled The Pioneer, Apprenticeship and Journeyman Years, The Author, The Artist, The Craftsman, and The Man. Also included are a bibliography of Kersten’s writings and illustrations of 48 bindings created between 1896 and 1925. Among them also a binding of Der Pressbengel. The illustrations were taken from Kersten’s Der exakte Bucheinband, and the Archiv für Buchbinderei, one of the premier arts & crafts bookbinding journals. Like Georg Collin with whom he worked at W. Collin, Kersten was heavily involved with teaching, including at the Lette Verein (a trade school specifically for women founded in 1866) where he succeeded Maria Lühr, Germany's first woman Meister. Other notable students included Otto Dorfner and Otto Pfaff, both of who Collin also wrote about in articles.



Colophon from Paul Kersten

Below Kersten's Bundverzierungen, Spangen und Schliessen in moderner Richtung für die Vergoldepresse (1898), a sampler of dies available for embellishing raised bands and boards. While in German, the illustrations speak for themselves. Below, embedded text from HathiTrust.



Kersten was the author of numerous manuals for bookbinding, design, gilding, ... , however his Der exakte Bucheinband; der gute Halbfranzband, der künstlerische Ganzlederband, die Handvergoldung is considered the first manual for arts & crafts design binding. What makes the book especially interesting are the 133 depictions of bindings, technique, and design patterns, in addtion to 48 samples of decorated papers and other materials provided by various vendors at the back. Below, embedded text from HathiTrust.




Der exakte Bucheinband was also mentioned in Ernst Collin's Der Pressbengel (translated as The Bone Folder) when the Meister and Bibliophile were discussing board attachment. See "Aufschabeblech - What would it be called in English?", a post published back in 2011 for more information.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ernst Collin Signature!

Received an exlibrary copy of the limited edition Ernst Collin's Paul Kersten Festschrift (1925), copy XX to be precise.

Habe heute ein Bibliotheksexemplar von der Sonderausgabe Ernst Collins Paul Kersten Festschrift (1925) bekommen, Exemplar XX um genau zu sein.

Cloth with paper sides | Halbleinen mit papier

Exlibris

Withdrawn | Ungültig


Copies A-F and I - L, were signed by both Paul Kersten AND Ernst Collin.
Die Exemplare A-F und I-L wurden von Paul Kersten UND Ernst Collin signiert.



And large: wonderful to have this and one step closer to that elusive photograph...

Und in groß: ein Schritt näher zu dem flüchtigen Foto.


Ernst Collin signature detail from Paul Kersten (1925), copy XX

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Something Fishy - Fish Leather for Binding

In 1919, after the end of World War I, there were severe shortages and civil unrest in Germany. This situation repeated itself after World War II. These shortages led to a high level of experimentation with ersatz (replacement/alternative) materials such as straw for paper and board, spun paper, ..., silk instead of linen for sewing thread, but also colored straw for inlays (Strohintarsien). Ernst Collin and others wrote articles on the subject in such periodicals as the Archiv für Buchgewerbe, the Buchbinderlehrling, and the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien. This post is about one of those "ersatz" materials, fish leather.

In "Fischhaut zu Bucheinbänden" from the Archiv für Buchgewerbe ( Vol. 56, 1919) the bookbinder Franz Martini of Charlottenburg (Berlin) recounted a war experience in which he saw cod skins that had been pulled off the fish in a field kitchen in Belgium and discarded. Drawing on his experiences at the bindery of Lüderitz and Bauer, he examined the skins to ensure there were no cuts/tears, then carefully removed the scales and made parchment from them, using them to bind various such as military journals. Based on these experiments he deemed the fish parchment superior to calf or sheep for durability and working properties such as the ability to mold over raised cords without wrinkling.

Martini had the leather tested at the national testing center on the recommendation of Paul Kersten (Director of the School for Artistic Bookbinding in Berlin), and the Director of Royal Library of Berlin. The results of this testing were impressive, especially in terms of fold and tear strength where the fish parchment easily reached 50,000 double folds without damage.

Material: Fish skin (untanned), sheep parchment, calf parchment
Mittlere Reißlänge in mm = average breaking length in mm
Mittlere Dehnung in % = average stretching in %
Resistance to folding.


After these tests Martini also developed a way to tan these fish skins to leather, also taking out a "utility model" (Nr. 674 741), a more limited form of patent, on this invention. Below some images of bindings he  created with these tanned skins from the Archiv für Buchgewerbe. Obviously, fish skins are most suited to half/quarter bindings due to their shape... Images from Archiv für Buchgewerbe ( Vol. 56, 1919).


Half-leather extra binding with leather onlay and original pastepaper

Half-leather extra binding with leather onlay and original pastepaper


In the 1934 Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien (Vol 49, Nr 19), Ernst Collin wrote an article titled "Bucheinbände aus Fischhaut" ("Bookbindings in Fishleather") that described the process in more detail, illustrated with photographs by Ernst. Shown is the same Franz Martini as mentioned above demonstrating how to remove the skin from the fish and prepare it. Martini has been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of tanning fish on a variety of species including cod, halibut, shark, eel, and others. Ernst points out that one of the reasons fish leather is not common is that most consumers prefer to cook the fish with the skin on - he suggests wrapping in gauze for the same effect, the cooking method is not mentioned.

From "Bucheinbände aus Fischhaut"
Click to enlarge.

The article recaps an earlier article by Paul Kersten from the  1917 (Nr 7) Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien which was similar to the 1919 article mentioned above. Ernst's article also states that Martini's attempt to patent the process failed as it was not unique enough and had been described in earlier publications.

Ernst concludes by praising this material and encouraging the German fisheries to take advantage of the need for durable yet affordable native materials to help contribute to sustainability and German economic independence.

The 1938 volume of the Buchbinderlehrling, a periodical for apprentices, describes the manufacture of fish leather in the context of the 4-year plan to make Germany independent of imports, and increased rationing in advance of the looming war...

The fish were carefully skinned and then tanned in rotating drums using a vegetable tannage -  summach, dividivi, or willow. Unfortunately the tannins in most domestic plants were not effective enough. To dye the skins, aniline dyes and pigments (for darker colors) were used. Finally, the leather is pressed and glazed. Overall, these processes are identical to tanning other animal skins with an equivalent quality possible. Fish leather retains its flexibility and softness. It is also very resistant to tearing.

The article concludes by reminding the upcoming bookbinders that this is a material that they will need to become comfortable with, just as all other binding materials.

A final article on the subject from the 1946 (Nr 12) issue of the Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien leads with "Fish Leather Developed by Bookbinder." It recaps the articles mentioned above, and concludes by saying fish leather has established itself as a binding (and other leather trades) material, but no one remembers that a bookbinder first developed it.

Images of fish leathers below from my leather "stores." Of these the eel is the thinnest and smoothest by far, and only really useable on millimeter bindings, on small/light books, or for onlays. Almost no paring is required for use.

The other fish leathers, trout, salmon, cod, and carp are available glazed and suede. Paring is possible, but what I've found most effective is pasting out the back for dimensional stability and letting it dry on Mylar. Peel off and sand (a "micro" belt sander is great) with a little edge-paring. These leathers can easily be used as a structural element of the binding, just as any other leather - they're not just for onlays...


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


The dogfish/shark and stingray skins are very difficult to pare, the former being very rubbery - kills Scharfix blades, fast.  The stingray is very hard and best used as an in/onlay. Cutting with a knife also very difficult. Probably the reason I haven't used it yet. Abigail Bainbridge wrote a great description of working with shagreen for the West Dean College Current Projects blog.


Click to enlarge


Below examples of bindings using fish leather that I have made. Click image to enlarge.


On Søren Kierkegaard by Edward F. Mooney

Bound in salmon leather on spine with stained birch veneer covered boards; endpapers of handmade Roma paper; graphite top edge; leather endbands; title stamped in gold on front cover with goat leather onlays. Enclosed is cloth-covered slipcase. Bound 2013.

The Book of Origins – Le Livre des Origines, André Ricard, 2004

Modified Bradel binding (Gebrochener Rücken); textblock sewn on three slips of Cave Paper brown walnut dyed paper; endpapers of Cave Paper brown walnut dyed paper; gilt top edge; sewn silk endbands; Bradel case with 1/4 veined calf vellum spine and undyed goatskin sides; slips laced through at joint; decor of codfish leather onlay and blind tooling.
22.5 x 14.5 x 2.5 cm. Bound 2005. Collection of Karen Hanmer.

Gaylord Schanilec and Clarke Garry, Mayflies of the Driftless Region, Midnight Paper Sales Press, 2005

“Open joint” binding; sewn on 3 brown salmon leather slips; flyleaves and doublures of Cave Paper “layered indigo day” paper; graphite top edge; rolled endbands brown salmon leather; spine covered in gray salmon leather; boards covered in full vellum with printed illustrations from text below; salmon leather slips attached to boards and framed with decorative weathered wood veneer; tied mayfly attached to front board. 26.5 x 19 x 2 cm. Bound 2013.

Ladislav Hanka, Remembering Jan Sobota, 2013

Modified Bradel binding (Gebrochener Rücken); layered Indigo Night Cave Paper endpapers; sewn link stitch on 5 reinforced slips of same paper as ends; endbands of endpaper paper around core; spine covered in brown Kangaroo with cutouts to reveal slips and sewing; boards covered in brown tie-dyed Pergamena deer parchment; onlays of suede Salmon leather with fishing fly mounted into lacuna in parchment; title stamped in gold on front board. 33 x 25.4 x 1 cm.Bound 2013.