Monthly Archives: April 2011

Water book binding

The concept with the Starfish was selected for the Water bookbinding.

The starfish shape is built up on the davy board covers using paper clay, a white moldable, clay-like substance made from paper that dries quickly. A technique called “paring” thins the base leather on the edges and at the fold of the spine. In paring, the binder passes a spokeshave with a sharp blade across the skin-side of the leather. The blade gradually thins the leather to the desired thickness. The pared dark blue leather is laid over the whole book and very thin leather onlays applied. The white and sand color onlays are “wetted and pasted out” with wheat paste and then puckered in the application. This gives the impression of ripples in the sea foam.

The shagreen leather onlay applied to the starfish is interesting stuff to work with. It is very tough and the “pearl” scales have been commercially sanded flat – a perfect texture for the starfish form.

Leather hinges are used with marbelized endsheets for the inside of the book. The top edge of the book is painted with shell gold. The endbands are hand-sewn with silk thread. Finally, the constructed linen clamshell case holds and protects the final binding.

Water bookbinding cover concept

In 2009, I purchased a set book to create a full leather fine art binding for the International Designer Bookbinder’s Competition. To think through the concept for this binding cover, I used Photoshop to sketch possible ideas. I finally settled on the starfish version for the final book creation. Taking stock of the leather material I had on hand, I decided to purchase shagreen (stingray) for the starfish body. The texture of the shagreen provided a great contrast against the regular goat leather.

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