The Marbler’s Apprentice

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Chemically Altered: Historic Paper Marbling
Garrett and Gretchen Dixon from The Marbler’s Apprentice
North Bennet Street School, Boston
Monday May 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm

The New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers will sponsor a presentation by Gretchen and Garrett Dixon from The Marbler’s Apprentice.  This is another installment in our lecture series hosted by North Bennet Street School.

The Dixons specialize in historic marbling, particularly 18 century and early-mid 19th century papers.  They utilize the water color pigments and techniques that were in use from the introduction of paper marbling in Europe in the 16th century through the 19th century.

During this special event we invite you to bring your one or two of your own examples of historic marbled papers– we all have  interesting papers in or on bindings that are either typical or unusual.  The Dixons will devote some time to examine and discuss the papers you bring and hopefully we will all learn from the sharing.

In addition, Garrett says he will “discuss the history, patterns, and fabrication techniques for the group of what I refer to as chemically-altered patterns of marbled paper:  Stormont, Shell, Broken, Romantic, Schroetel, Tiger eye.  These patterns all involve the use of chemical additives to the watercolor paint in order to achieve their effect.  These patterns were popular from the end of the 18th century through the 19th century.  We will show examples of the patterns, both original and our reproductions, and discuss some of the difficulties encountered in trying to decipher the old recipes.”

There will be a wide selection of papers on hand to peruse, and samples available for purchase.

This presentation is free and open to the public.  Directions available at nbss.edu.

Intensive Study Opportunities in Boston

The following is from our friends at North Bennet Street School:

There are a couple of intensive study opportunities this summer for up and coming bookbinders and book conservators.  You can find information about these classes, to be held at North Bennet Street School, at www.nbss.edu.

The first course is open to any and all and is an experimental class based on input from potential students.  North Bennet Street School has previously held 3 month intensive workshops in the fall, but many people have requested a shorter course held outside of the academic year.

The second course listed below is designed specifically for book conservators, pre-program or practicing.  This class requires permission from the instructor, Chela Metzger (see below).

Bookbinding Intensive
Monday – Friday, June 25 – July 27, no class 7/4
8:30am – 4:30pm

Instructor: Stacie Dolin
$2700

$1000 deposit

This class is designed for individuals interested in an intensive, hands-on bookbinding experience and is suitable for book artists and novice binders wishing to learn or enhance fundamental bookbinding skills. This course also provides a solid foundation for individuals interested in the NBSS full-time bookbinding program. Explore a variety of book structures and binding techniques and the process for determining what materials and structures to use for a given project. The five-week program uses the school’s fully equipped bindery providing the opportunity to work on advanced topics and with a wide range of professional equipment (such as foil stamping presses) not available in most introductory courses. The class also covers studio techniques for those without access to a professional bindery. Field trips and other specific topics are part of the curriculum and will be based on student interests. The tuition includes a materials fee for paper, board, and other basic supplies; students are expected to provide some materials and all hand tools.

To secure a spot, a deposit and registration is recommended by June 1. Please read the intensive refund policy before signing up.  www.nbss.edu.

Introduction to book structures for conservators

Monday – Thursday, July 19 – August 17, no class 7/4
9:00am – 4:00pm

Instructor: Chela Metzger
$2200

This class will have a few open slots by permission of the instructor. It is part of the Mellon Funded enhancements for the education of Library and Archives Conservators taking place at the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, in collaboration with Simmons School of Library and Information Science and the North Bennet Street School. 

http://www.artcons.udel.edu/

http://www.simmons.edu/gslis/

http://www.nbss.edu/ 

This five-week class meets Monday – Thursday each week. Field trips are scheduled for some Fridays, otherwise Fridays are considered work days/open studio. The course is designed to further basic bookbinding bench skills and to explore historic book structures in the context of the conservation of books as historic artifacts.Readings, research on book structures and bookbinding history, and creating models of historic structures are the basis of the course. Class presentations, short essays and online publishing are required. The course is for students who are seriously interested in exploring conservation of books as cultural heritage, and could be used to help develop a portfolio for further work in library/archives conservation, or bookbinding study. Class size is limited. Application requirements include a short personal statement on the role of the class in your work, a phone conversation, and images showing three-dimensional studio work of some kind if possible. Students will need to supply their own hand tools, or purchases them at NBSS. For more information, please contact Chela Metzger cmetzger@winterthur.org.

Scaleboard Bindings with Julia Miller

Scaleboard Bindings

Lecture from Julia Miller

Thursday April 26, 2012

6:00 pm

North Bennet Street School, Boston

 

This lecture is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers and North Bennet Street School.  Please register online at nbss.edu so we can prepare an appropriate space for the number attending.

 

Drawing from her study of 350 scaleboard bindings in library collections, Julia Miller explores the variety of structural elements and material combinations used on American imprints bound in scaleboard.

Scaleboard, also known as scabbard, is thin wood that was used for bindings in Europe and Britain until around 1600 (and much less so thereafter). The material was incorporated into American bindings as early as the 1680s (and probably earlier) and was used through the 1840s. Scaleboard was used in place of paste or pulpboard long after those materials were widely available in America and Boston is considered the center of early scaleboard/scabbard use based on the number of Boston imprints that survive in scaleboard bindings. Through her research and presentations, Julia aims to increase awareness of these bindings and increase the identification and description of these bindings in research collection cataloguing.

 

Introduction to Scaleboard

A hands-on seminar with Julia Miller

Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, 2012

North Bennet Street School, Boston

 

Please register online at nbss.edu.

 

The first day of the workshop focuses on building a solid understanding of the variety of structural elements encountered in collections of scaleboard bindings. The day includes a presentation by the instructor, hands-on examination of historical binding examples, discussion and descriptions done by students in teams. During the bench portion of the workshop, students create a cutaway model of a full leather scaleboard binding. Students also create a set of structure and material samplers to use as aids when working with Americana collections.

Book Cover Design in Renaisance England

Thanks to Sam Ellenport for inviting us all to the following talk.
 
Sam Ellenport will give a talk at the Mass. Center for Renaissance Studies at U/Mass Amherst on October 26 at 4pm.   The topic will be “Book Cover Design during the Renaissance in England.
“Design reflected the wealth of the community of purchasers, mirrored the shrinking size of books, and remained bi-laterally symmetrical during this time.”
 
All are welcome.
 

More Bookbinding Study Opportunities

Following up on our recent promise to do better about keeping you all informed about New England study opportunities…

North Bennet Street School offers another round of courses this summer and there is still time to register!

Bookbinding Courses

Stacie Dolin will teach the fundamental bookbinding course, Cloth Case Bookbinding.  June 27- July 1, 2011.

Martha Kearsley will offer a comprehensive introduction to book repair with The Cloth Case Reback, July 5-8, 2011.  Martha will then teach Sewn Boards Binding, July 9 and 10, 2011.

Two creative, recent NBSS graduates will present a unique course exploring the use of natural dyes in bookbinding.  Paper Dying with Plants runs July 11-15, 2011, and will be co-taught by Arini Esarey and Celine Lombardi.

Jeff Altepeter will offer an Introduction to Leather for Bookbinding, July 18-20, 2011.  This course is primarily focused on leather paring (thinning the leather) and will include plenty of hands-on practice as well as an in-depth discussion of the materials, tools and techniques used in leather bookbinding.  Great for those with basic bookbinding skills or for those that need to pick up long-neglected knives!

Modernizing the Historic Model will be co-taught by Stacie Dolin and Arini Esarey, July 25-29, 2011.  Come explore variations on historic binding structures using modern materials.

Martha Kearsley will be back, August 1-5, 2011, with an Introduction to Boxes and Enclosures.

A one-day class, Embellishing the Cloth Case, will be taught by Celine Lombardi and Anne McLain on August 6, 2011.  This is a great follow-up for students that have taken the fundamental cloth case binding course and anyone else that wishes to add some new layers.

Calligraphy and Related Arts

Maryanne Grebenstein of Abbey Studio will be at NBSS again this summer and fall with her popular courses on Calligraphy and Illumination.  Manuscript Gilding, July 9 and 10, 2011; and then come back for Hand Lettering: Five Styles, August 1-5, 2011, to learn the five basic lettering styles using a broad edged pen.

If you want more than the taste offered in these summer calligraphy courses please check out the Three Month Calligraphy and Illumination Intensive offered in the fall of 2011.

Online registration for North Bennet Street School workshops is available at http://www.nbss.org/workshops/schedule.asp#BOOKBINDING

Garage Annex School

There are some great study opportunities available to you all in the New England area this year.  We apologize for not doing a better job keeping you informed of them, but there is still time to register!  We are passing along the following message from our friends at GAS:

Garage Annex School for Book Arts 
Dear friends:We are grateful to all of you who have registered for workshops recently.Tomorrow we are meeting with the folks from Williston prep school to determine if we satisfy their minimum requirments for the number of lodgers. We are hopeful they may let us use the dorm for the most populated of our summer workshops. 

So, again, if you are thinking of studying at GAS this summer this would be a great time to let us know!

GAS, located in Easthampton, MA, is offering a variety of workshops taught by Daniel Kelm, Art Larson, Nancy Moore Bess, Dea Sasso, and Julia Miller:

Independent Projects
with Daniel E. Kelm, June 20-24

The Book Restructured—Wire Edge Binding
with Daniel E. Kelm, June 27-28

The Ultimate Album
with Daniel E. Kelm, June 29-July 1

Letterpress Broadsides
with Art Larson, July 2-3

The Codex Restructured—Rethinking the Spine
with Daniel E. Kelm, July 4-8

Japanese Packaging: Seeking a Narrative
with Nancy Moore Bess, July 9-10

Book Repair and Restoration for Beginners
with Dea Sasso, July 11-12

Codex C: A Late Sixth-Century Coptic Binding
with Julia Miller, July 13-15

The Leather Intensive
with Daniel E. Kelm, July 17-22

If you register for a workshop and it is cancelled due to low enrollment you will receive a full refund. It’s disappointing when students wait to enroll and then find we have cancelled a workshop because we were short one or two students! If you are planning to come, please let us know.

Please visit: www.GarageAnnexSchool.com for all the details.

Please keep in mind that Daniel offers private instruction at GAS too. The possibilities are nearly endless with a customized curriculum! If you would like to discuss this, he can be phoned at 413-527-8044 or emailed at daniel.kelm@mac.com.

We look forward to seeing you here at GAS.
Greta Sibley, Co-director
 
____________________________
 
Greta D. Sibley
Garage Annex School, Inc.
One Cottage Street #5, Room 5-03
Easthampton, MA 01027
studio: 413-529-0070
fax: 413-529-0071

April Lectures and Events

We would like to pass on information about some New England area lectures and events of interest to our readers…

April 1 (Fri) 4:30 PM
A Romp Through Five Centuries
Amherst, MA

Sam Ellenport will be giving a talk entitled A Romp Through Five Centuries of Bookbinding Design on Friday, April 1 at 4:30.  It will be given at the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College, sponsored by The Friends of the Robert Frost Library; it is free and open to all.

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Final Watts Program events:

The Watts Program in the History and Culture of the Book at the John Carter Brown Library is presenting two public events in the month of April.  These will be the final events of the year for the Watts Program.  Please come and bring a friend.

April 4 (Mon) 5:30 PM   Moveable Books and Book Collecting 

Margaret B. Stillwell Prize Evening with Suzanne Karr Schmidt (Brown ’01) the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the Art Institute of Chicago who will give a talk on moveable books in the Renaissance with comparisons to books today. The Stillwell Prize evening is co-sponsored with the John Russell Bartlett Society. It is a prize awarded by the Bartlett Society to RI undergraduates for their book collections.  Ms. Karr Schmidt won the prize in 2001.  Open to all. Venue: John Carter Brown Library

April 27 (Wed) 6:00 PM Watts Pecha Kucha

The Book in My LIfe – An eclectic evening of very-short talks by professionals and students to close the Watts Program series on Transformations of the Book.

A wide variety of practitioners and students reveal their thoughts on “The Book in My Life” in a series of Pecha Kucha-style presentations. 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide – the clock is ticking. Expect tales of literature, shelving and entertaining reflections on the eccentricities of paper and ink. Ideal for anyone who’s ever liked a book a little more than they really should have. Moderated by Andrew Losowsky, Watts Program Provocateur-in-Residence.  Open to All. Venue: John Carter Brown Library.

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April 28 (Thur) 6:00 PM
NBSS Bookbinding at 25
North Bennet Street School

Bookbinding Department Head, Jeffrey Altepeter, will give a short presentation about the bookbinding program at NBSS and invites attendees to bring a book or two along.  Jeff and his students will offer informal evaluations and offer suggestions about potential repairs or conservation treatments where appropriate… or just enjoy hearing about why it is a favorite book in your collection.

This event is open to the public but reservations and a $10 fee is requested.  Registration for this and many other workshops is available at www.nbss.edu or by contacting the director of continuing education, Megan Kenealy, at 617-227-0155 or mkenealy@nbss.edu.

Bookbinding in America in the 19th Century

A Special One Day Seminar at North Bennet Street School:

Bookbinding in America
in the 19th Century

Saturday, April 30, 2011, 8:30am-4:30pm
North Bennet Street School, Boston
Todd Pattison

$100 

In 1800, most bookbinders worked in small shops consisting of a handful of workers and bound a wide range of materials. By 1900, bookbinding had become specialized and included individual artists working on elaborate leather bindings, large factories with hundreds of workers churning out mass-produced books and (for the first time) amateur binders learning the craft from commonly available bookbinding manuals.

This workshop examines the history of bookbinding in the 19th century, arguably the most dynamic time in the binding industry in the last 500 years. Although we discuss the two most important developments in 19th century bookbinding — the transition to case binding and the introduction of cloth as a binding material – all aspects of bookbinding establishments, book structures, materials, and binding equipment is examined.

Special emphasis is placed on important individuals throughout the century, rare or unusual bindings, elements of decoration, binding styles and the bibliographic significance of the 19th century binding.

New England GBW member Todd Pattison studied bookbinding with Fred Jordan in New York state in the  1970s and 1980s and continued his studies with Hugo Peller and Edwin Heim in Ascona, Switzerland. He has an Art History degree from Nazareth College and a Masters in Library Science from the University of Alabama. Todd was senior book conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center for nineteen years and begins as the Harvard College Library Collections Conservator in September 2010.

Registration for this and many other workshops is available at www.nbss.edu or by contacting the director of continuing education, Megan Kenealy, at 617-227-0155 or mkenealy@nbss.edu.

Wooden Book Boards

Our friend Jeff Peachey was just in Boston teaching his sharpening workshop to the students at North Bennet Street School.  Jeff mentioned that there is still space in his upcoming workshop on wooden boards.  It is obviously NOT in New England, but it looks like well worth the trip!

From the description on Jeff Peachey’s blog:

Los Angles, California. (November 8-12, 2010). Week long wooden board workshop at the Huntington. Description Below, contact Justin Johnson for details- jjohnson(at) huntington (dot) org.

WOODEN BOOK BOARDS: THEIR CONSERVATION, HISTORIC CONSTRUCTION AND THE PRAXIS OF WORKING WOOD.

Until around 1500, most books were bound in wooden boards. Books with wooden boards lie somewhat outside the routine treatments book conservators are normally tasked with. Split, and splitting wood boards are a tremendous problem in many institutions–they put many other aspects of a binding, especially intact covering materials, at risk of further damage if not stabilized or otherwise treated. This five day master class will focus on the fundamentals of the treatment of wooden book boards: the basics of using hand tools to shape wood accurately, easily and efficiently; the making a sample set of woods commonly used for wood boards; the examining of historic techniques for fabrication; and the making a sample set of common treatments for split boards. Choosing, tuning, using, sharpening and maintaining woodworking tools will also be taught. Exploring some of the complexities of wood technology and how this impacts treatment, storage and handling options for conservation treatments will also be covered. No previous woodworking experience is necessary. Five days.

GOALS OF THE WORKSHOP

  1. Learn how to evaluate, use and maintain basic hand wood working tools.
  2. Construct a sample set of reference wood commonly encountered in historic book boards.
  3. Construct a specialized jig to plane thin wood boards.
  4. Reproduce historic board shapes, channels, tunnels, chamfering and learn to recognize the tools used to make them.
  5. Construct samples of currently used techniques to repair split and splitting boards, and discuss their applicability in various real world situations.
  6. Make one sample board from a log, by hand, to understand the historic hand technologies– using a maul, froe, and broad axe.
  7. Begin to appreciate some of the complexities of wood technology and how this impacts treatment, storage and handling options for real world books.
  8. Discuss in depth the results of a recent article by Alexis Hagadorn and  Jeffrey S. Peachey  “The use of parchment to reinforce split wooden bookboards, with preliminary observations into the effects of RH cycling on these repairs” Journal of the Institute of Conservation, Volume 33, Issue 1 March 2010 (pp 41 – 63)
  9. Consider storage, housing and display issues unique to wooden board bindings.
  10. Discuss treatment considerations based on documentation that participants supply.

Conference

The annual conference of the Guild of Book Workers, with the grand title of “The Seminar on Standards of Excellence in Hand Bookbinding” probably sounds a little daunting to those not familiar with the event.  The conference is held each year at different places around the country, and is in fact a highly social as well as highly educational.  The conference is a wonderful opportunity for the annual cross-pollination in our wide-ranging field of “book workers.”

In addition to the formal presentations there are tours, social events, a banquet with an entertaining auction– and one of the best reasons to attend might be the vendor room which will be packed with temptations.

The conference topics offer something for everyone, with presentations on traditional bookbinding, book arts and book conservation.  There are frequently presentations that cross disciplines, and the variety is part of the very structure of the Guild of Book Workers.

This year the conference is in Tucson, AZ.  October 14-16, 2010.   There is an extraordinary group of presenters (see below), and we know the local host committee has worked hard to put on a great event.  There is still time to register, and you can do so online for the first time this year.  See the Standards page on the GBW site at http://www.guildofbookworkers.org/events/se-main.php

Standards Presentations 2010

Michael Burke – Byzantine Binding
Michael Burke started his working life as a chemist researching the transformation of coal into oil. He later worked in occupational health with asbestos. Michael studied bookbinding with Dominic Riley and paper conservation with Karen Zukor. He was involved in establishing the bindery at the San Francisco Center for the Book, and edited Gold Leaf, the journal of the Hand Bookbinders of California.

Michael lives in the Lake District, England, where he teaches bookbinding at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal and at Society of Bookbinders (SoB) events across the UK. He is a past chair of the North West and North Wales region of SoB. He has taught for diverse book arts groups across the USA, including Los Angeles, Seattle and Salt Lake City and in 2007 he taught at Paper and Book Intensive in Michigan. Last year he travelled to São Paulo to teach for the Brazilian group ABER. In recent years Michael has been researching the structures of ancient and medieval bindings. Michael will demonstrate the making of a medieval Byzantine binding. This leather binding is unique in that is bound from the boards to the center, resulting in a natural rounding of the spine, at which point the two halves are joined.

Nancy Ruth Leavitt – In Search of Content, the Joys and Challenges of Creating the Book Form
Nancy Leavitt is a calligrapher specializing in unique hand-lettered and painted manuscript books. Leavitt’s interest in the hand-lettered book developed as a result of her studies in the U.S. and Great Britain. Her work resides in many prestigious collections and she has received several grants from the Maine Arts Commission for research into her craft, including quill cutting. She lives, works, and sings in Stillwater, Maine.

Like an engineering project, a book is a complex three dimensional design made up of many parts. Content is the central idea of the design and narrative is how it unfolds, how the story is revealed and concealed. Our goal as bookmakers is to intentionally integrate all aspects of the design to strengthen the structure, form, and content of our works. Through demonstration and example, Nancy discusses her rigorous yet playful method of researching, compiling data, developing, and realizing materials for her manuscript books.

Martha Little – Book Forensics: Interpreting Evidence of Structure
Martha Little has been a bookbinder and book conservator since 1976. She was Book Conservator at the Yale University Library and Head of Conservation at the University of Michigan Libraries, and is now in private practice in California. Her early training was with Jane Greenfield, who incorporated a study of historical structures and the making of models into the work day, and with Roger Powell in England, whose powers of meticulous observation will always be an unattainable standard. Martha took part last year in a condition survey of manuscript books at the National Library of Egypt in Cairo, where she learned that two people can look at the same detail and see two different things. 

Every book conservator accumulates knowledge of some of the small details that are clues to a book’s invisible or lost structure. A remnant of a leather strap may lie in a board; extra holes suggestive of an earlier sewing may be apparent in the folds; raised areas where the covering material has become worn reveal where cords are laced in underneath. Martha’s presentation will examine more ways of interpreting physical evidence when examining a book, in order to determine how it was made and what materials were used. She will bring old books to look at and discuss; recreate evidence though different means to see which interpretation seems more plausible; demonstrate some simple tests to identify materials, and show how the knowledge of the observer can both help with and get in the way of seeing what’s there.

Jeffrey S. Peachey – Late Eighteenth Century French Binding Structures
Jeffrey S. Peachey is the owner of a New York City-based studio for the conservation of books and the inventor of conservation tools and machines. He is a Professional Associate in the American Institute for Conservation and a previous chair of the Conservators In Private Practice. For more than 20 years, he has specialized in the conservation of books and paper artifacts for institutions and individuals. A consultant to major libraries and university collections in the New York City region and nationally, he has been the recipient of numerous grants to support his work. A well-known teacher, Peachey also provides conservation-focused guidance to students in art, bookbinding and conservation programs.

This presentation will focus on the structural aspects of a typical 18th century full calf French binding by comparing contemporary descriptions in bookbinding manuals, examining extant bindings and experimenting with reproduction tools and equipment. In some respects, this structure is the end of utilitarian leather binding–50 years later the cloth case begins to predominate. Some features of this binding style include cutting the boards with a pointe, ploughing the edges in-boards, four variations of transverse spine liners and sprinkled cover decoration. Primary texts include Diderot’s Encylopedie (1751-1780). Gauffecourt’s Traite de la Relieure des Livres (1763) and Dudin’s L’Art du Relieur-doreur de Livres (1772). Specific conservation concerns for these structures will also be discussed.