Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Dead Sea Scrolls

     “The Dead Sea Scrolls!” my client exclaimed when I showed him the “before” photograph of Bible pages, shredded from 30 years of use, laid out on my worktable. Then I handed him his mother’s study Bible with the pages restored and resewn, her handwritten notes peeled away from the laminated flyleaf and included in the new endpaper attachment, and a new leather cover with the same look and feel as the original. He paid me for my work, of course, but his amazement and gratitude were also a meaningful part of my compensation.
        Bookbinding, like writing, is a solitary occupation. When I apply sentences to an empty page, hoping they will come to life and reveal something true, I’m thinking and working alone in a room. When I apply Japanese tissue to a torn page, with a pile of damaged pages yet to restore, I experience the same kind of hope.