Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas bookbinding 2014

The accordion book class was fun! Thank goodness my friend Amy came early. I drafted her to help the later comers when I realized that I had attempted more than I could deliver—a bookbinding lesson for a dozen people. Everybody was cheerful and cooperative and patient, and we did get all those accordion books finished in two hours!
    My novel did not place in the First Novel contest. I admit I am disappointed, but I plan to edit it in the coming year and write the first draft of Book 2. Meanwhile, I am rebinding my own Bible.

Michelle and Jessica are almost finished! I wish I'd taken photos of everyone's books. Maybe next year.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Accordion Book

I still remember making my first accordion book a decade ago, in a class taught by a local artist. I’m teaching this basic little book structure at my home a week from today. In other news, the Christian Writers Guild has shut down after 50 years of service. I’m waiting to hear the fate of my First Novel entry.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bible Repair and Novel Writing Make a Mess

I finished two projects last week: a Bible that required quite a bit of work, and a manuscript of a novel I've had in mind to write for years. The Bible's owner is happy! I'll have to wait for feedback on the manuscript, an 83,000-word bibliomystery submitted to the Christian Writers Guild First Novel Contest. Now I'm cleaning up my trashed workroom.
    Next project: getting ready for Middletown's Heritage Day on September 27, where I'll have a bookbinding table. I followed the "write what you know" advice, so the novel opens with a scene that takes place on Heritage Day in the fictional town of South Mountain.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Decoupage to the Rescue

      I hope this post won't get me excommunicated from the bookbinding community.
      This late-1800s family Bible had been relegated to the front porch. The pages were in remarkably fine condition, but the front cover and spine had cupped and cracked like a drought-parched lake bed. They were no longer leather but a brittle, flaking carapace. A bookbinder whose opinion I respect confirmed that the cover was ruined.
    I emailed the owners and asked their permission to decoupage it. The owner responded:
     “Thanks for the update.  As I said, the primary goal is to permit the book to be opened and closed without continued flaking of what remains. I think the decoupage on what is considered to be a lost cause is worth a shot- it can only prolong the life. Please give this method a try and see where it takes you and we'll hope for the best!”
     I removed the bottom section of spine and tried the process on it before committing to decoupage for the rest of the cover and spine. 
      They took possession of their restored Bible a couple of days ago and were happy with the result!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Civil War Bible Part 2: Dogeared pages

While doing paper repair on books, I often encounter “dog-ears,” those pages turned up or down at the corners. Did the corner get bent by accident—or was it turned down to mark a place? When mending pages, I need to be sensitive to the content of the page, not just its condition. For example, this Bible (previous post) was owned by a Civil War soldier, most likely a young man. I saw that a section on sexual purity had a turned-down corner. If I remember correctly, it was Psalm 119:9, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.”  Another page corner was turned down at Chapter 15 in the gospel of Luke, captioned “The Prodigal Son.” Family history? Perhaps a headstrong son headed off to war against his father’s wishes, or chose the “wrong” side?  I left the dogears as I found them.  A brutal, bloody war left thousands dead a century and a half ago, yet these two folded-down pages reached across the years to me and spoke of a young man's struggle to live a personal faith, with hope of reconciliation and a glad homecoming.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Civil War Bible

The back cover was missing from this Civil War Bible. I couldn’t replicate the cover pattern, but I could keep the soft, old “feel” of this precious little book. I hand-dyed linen fabric by immersing it in Rit dye in boiling water and stirring the fabric in a saucepan on the stove, the way my mother used to do. 

The notice on the inside front pastedown reads:
Bible House, Baltimore

                  _____________ 186__

            From the Maryland State Bible Society

To _______________________, Soldier in the
___ Regiment, Company ____ of __________
________________, Volunteers.
         Should I die on the battle field or in
Hospital, for the sake of humanity, acquaint
_____________ residing _________________
of the fact, and where my remains may be found.

I suggested a box to protect and display this Bible, and the client requested blue and gray. I have made another box for myself, for a similar Bible. I may try to sell my set at Middletown’s Heritage Day celebration in September. There are reminders of the Civil War everywhere around here.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Road Trip to Plainly Spoken Exhibit

From trash to treasure: Darryl with his repurposed work boot, jeans, and shirt, behind glass. 

Cathleen Baker of Legacy Press designed this beautiful poster. I'm hoping the University of Michigan will make it available to purchase.

Julia Miller and me with our intrepid husbands!

It was exciting for me to see Julia's presentation!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Road Trip!

Darryl’s Valentine gift to me was a three-day Road Trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to attend the talk given by Julia Miller, author of BOOKS WILL SPEAK PLAIN. http://www.lib.umich.edu/events/plainly-spoken-remarks-book-binders-and-bindings

            I was privileged to share this experience not only with my husband—without whom none of this would have happened—but also with my friend since college, Patti Perkins, who lives in the area.

            As you see from my blog, I am a repairer of books, not a fine binder. I never thought that I would enter an exhibition. But Julia’s book captured my imagination, and so here we stand in the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library’s Audubon Room. My binding is in the company of Audubon’s Birds of America and a 2nd-century papyrus that contains part of an Epistle of St. Paul in Greek.

             Julia Miller paired rare books with the new bindings to show historical references and connections. I was matched up with a New Testament “written by the scribe, Vasil” in Armenia in 1161. Julia placed written comments next to each of the 17 bindings. Of mine, she wrote: “Pairing this Armenian binding with the O’Connor binding was irresistible given the strong materials and massive presentation of both bindings. The metal studs used to decorate the cover of the New Testament are referenced by the metal boot catches on the spine leather of the O’Connor binding….” There’s more, but you get the idea.

            I accidentally left my camera in our van, so these blurry photos are the best I could do with my outdated cellphone.

            My husband drove me to Michigan and back. In February. (It was minus 9 degrees when we left Ann Arbor Wednesday.) Now that’s true love.

PHOTOS to come, I hope. Blogger has problems. So I'll try Facebook.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Billy Whiskers

In this children’s book, published by Saalfield in 1902, Billy Whiskers is constantly leading his girlfriend into trouble. After hearing stories some friends have told recently about their mischievous goats, I understand why the Billy Whiskers books were so popular. The book is 112 years old, but goats are still causing trouble in 2014. This rebinding was my special Christmas project for a friend.

Repairs performed:
Text block: Paper repair on all sections, using Japanese tissue and wheat paste.
Removed old glue and mull from spine.
Removed previous owner’s bookplate and saved it.
Pulled weak threads and re-sewed pages onto linen tapes.
Made new endpapers of Antique Endleaf.
Made new title page with author, publisher, and copyright information.
Made headbands of antiqued fabric and linen twine.
Backed spine with heavy cotton back liner.
Added tissue guards to colored illustrations.
Cover: Replaced some missing portions with dyed Moriki tissue.
Removed pencil marks.
Separated paper covers from original acidic boards and backed with Japanese paper.
Laminated cover boards with Bristol to create frames for insets.
Made new covers of slate-colored Iris bookcloth and glued insets into new covers.

Cased repaired text block into new covers. Titled the spine.