A Look Back // Celebrating Arno Werner’s Birthday

In June 1990, the chapter took part in a celebration for Arno Werner’s 91st birthday at his studio in Hadlyme, Connecticut.

In her book, A Binding Love, Carol Blinn reflects on her apprenticeship and friendship with Arno. In 1975, Carol interviewed Arno about his early life in Germany, fifty years after he came to the United States with just $25 in his pocket and a cigar box which held his small binding tools.

excerpt from A Binding Love

Arno was born in Mylau, Saxony in 1899 (or as he put it “I yust got under the wire!”) to a large family. As one of ten, it was encouraged that the younger kids stand on the table during meals to make room for everyone. At age 13, Arno intended to begin an apprenticeship as a baker, however the work was too physically demanding for his physique. His doctor recommended entering the bookbinding trade instead.

His apprenticeship lasted for 3 years under the tutelage of Louis Herold. As the youngest apprentice, he woke at 6:00 a.m. to prepare a fire in the stove to warm up the shop, made sure all the glue pots were ready and refilled water buckets so the workers could wash their hands. Each day ended at 7:00 p.m. with lots of clean up including the hand tools and machinery.

His training then led him to work with the famous master binder Ignatz Wiemeler in Leipzig. Arno returned to the United States in 1939, when war broke out and settled in Pittsfield, Massachusetts where he maintained his own bindery until 1977.

Sonderarbeiten des Buchbinders by Fritz Wiese | bound by Arno Werner (Collection of Peter D. Verheyen)

In 1981, the Houghton Library at Harvard University celebrated Arno Werner’s work and legacy with a 40-year retrospective, where he delivered a lecture to a gathering of friends and colleagues. In Arno Werner/One Man’s Work, Carol prints Arno’s thoughts on his life in the bookbinding trade for the first time. It also highlights twelve of his bindings in full color and includes the lecture he gave at the Houghton Library.

title page for Arno Werner/One Man’s Work | drawing by Carol Blinn

As Carol describes, his workshop became a home to many as Arno taught how to bind books well and that he freely shared his knowledge and techniques. Over six decades of bookbinding, Arno maintained the highest of standards, placing him among the most celebrated binders.

Join us for our Annual Meeting on August 10th at the Cottage Street Studios in Easthampton

Our 2019 Annual Meeting, will take place at One Cottage Street in Easthampton, MA. Several book workers in the Cottage Street Studios are opening up their spaces to our members. We are delighted to have them as our hosts, sharing with us their work and expertise. This event is open to both members and non-members.

Event Schedule
12:00 – 12:45: Traditional Water Gilding demo with Sarah Pringle of Cinch Custom Finishes
Working on a traditionally prepared substrate of gesso and bole, Sarah will demonstrate how to mark up and lay gold leaf on a flat panel. She will discuss and have samples of the materials that go into the preparation for traditional water gilding to understand the process of applying gold leaf.

1:00 – 2:00: NEGBW Annual meeting with light refreshments at Praxis Bindery (Room 4-24)

2:00 – 4:00: Cottage Street Studios Open House and Tag Sale with:
– Sarah Creighton (#4-17)
– Peter Geraty of Praxis Bindery (Room 4-24)
– Sarah Pringle (#4-42)
– Carol Blinn of Warwick Press (#3-03)
– Daniel Kelm (#5-03)
There will be some small demos and lots of bindery equipment and materials for sale. Please bring cash or your checkbook if you plan to do some tag sale shopping!

Where: Cottage Street Studios at One Cottage Street in Easthampton, MA 01027
When: Saturday, August 10th from 12pm – 4pm

RSVP: Please email newenglandgbw@gmail.com if you plan to attend!! You will receive more information regarding the event and directions, but please use the information below:

Directions to One Cottage Street Studios
Use a GPS to get to the Citgo 7-11 at:
97 Union Street, Easthampton, MA

The 7-11 is at the corner of Union and Liberty Streets
Follow Liberty Street – about one block
At the fork in the road stay right on Liberty
Go down the hill, about 1 long block
At the bottom of the hill turn right into the back entrance of One Cottage Street. There is a sign on the right – One Cottage Street, Liberty Street Entrance.

The back of One Cottage Street is straight ahead.

Park in the area by the greenhouse or cross the small bridge and park in the big lot.
Walk towards the back of the building and pass the loading dock so the building is on your right (a fence and the stream will be on your left). Go a short distance to the ‘C’ door.
Enter the building here.
Walk up three flights of stairs. My studio is at the top of the stairs to your right.

Sarah Pringle Studio: Fourth Floor #42