Category Archives: fine art binding

Gauging leather thickness

When binding a book with leather, the thickness measurement of the leather is important to know. Leather thickness can impact the book aesthetics as well as the mechanical operation. Thick leather spine hinges, for instance, can cause opening and closing issues for the cover boards. Or if the turn-in’s are too thick, the corners of the book suffer from build up of leather layers. Continue reading Gauging leather thickness

Water Book Cover

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. Continue reading Water book 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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The Degolyer Bookbinding Competition

Esther Kibby's design entry

On June 2, the fourth Helen Warren DeGolyer Triennial Exhibition and Competition for American Bookbinding held a conference to announce the winners, showcase their designs and share bookbinding techniques. This event is held every three years and is a means to promote the art and craftsmanship of fine bookbinding. It is one of the very few book competitions in America that awards the craftsmanship and creativity of bookbinders thanks to a generous endowment by the Degolyer family. Helen Warren Degolyer, for whom the competition is named for, was a master bookbinder.
Continue reading The Degolyer Bookbinding Competition