Guild of Book Workers Newsletter 123









PAPER NEWS (Cranberry Corner)








Dear G.B.W.,

Coming back home through those beautiful fall colors in West Virginia, I reflected on the Standards Seminar.

I started classes in bookbinding in 1979 with Jean Gunner, then in 1983 I hung out my shingle. I moved Strong bindery to my present location in 1985 when I figured I could eke out a living as a hand bookbinder doing mostly general restoration. (I have handled more Bibles than the Gideons!) It's the job I like to wake up to in the mornings.

I noticed, when planning for the up-coming holiday season, that the gifts I had were the same old, same old; journals, notebooks, stationery, etc. I felt stale.

The Standards Seminar reinvigorated me. Lots of new ideas &emdash; $10 tips &emdash; (you know, a slightly better way of doing what you already can do). And a new gift idea; I'm going to make up a bunch of suede notebooks for the holiday shoppers. Now, how much to charge for them? It was a wonderful Seminar. Thank you for the scholarship to Standards.

Up to my elbows in glue,

Ellie Strong,
Strong Bindery,
Cleveland, Ohio

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The catalogue of holdings of the Guild's Library at the University of Iowa is now completed. The catalogue is available on the Web at http://www. address will appear at the bottom of the masthead of every issue of this Newsletter. The catalogue is also available in hard copy, to members only, by contacting Anna Embree at 319-335-5908, or by e-mail: Because the catalogue prints out to 58 pages, entailing considerable expense for the Guild in printing and mailing copies, we would prefer to have members with Internet capacity download and print their own copies. Be sure, if you're printing yours from the Web, your printer is well stocked with paper.

Books, periodicals and videos may be borrowed by Guild members, at no charge except for the return postage, by contacting Anna Embree, as above.

Not yet listed in the catalogue, are the following new acquisitions:

Catalogue for the Tenth Annual Miniature Book Exhibition. The Miniature Book Society, Inc.: 1997.

Crawford, Tad. Business and Legal Forms for Crafts. Allworth Press: New York, 1998.

Doizy, Marie-Ange. De la Dominoterie à la Marbrure. Art & Métiers du Livre / Éditions: Paris, 1996.

Fine Bindings. Wehmais Group: Helsinki, 1989.

Ganiaris, Andreas. Ganiaris Bookbinding. Adam Editions: Athens, 1997. (2 copies)

Greenfield, Jane. Care of Fine Books (uncorrected proof). Nick Lyons Books: New York , 1988.

Kropper, Jean G. Handmade Books and Cards. Davis Publications, Inc.: Worcester, MA, 1997.

Moore, Rosalie. Gutenberg in Strasbourg. Floating Island Publications: Cedarville, CA, 1995.

Swain, Gwenyth. Bookworks: Making Books by Hand. Carolrhoda Books, Inc.: Minneapolis, MN, 1995.


The ABeCeDarium exhibition opened at the Newberry Library in Chicago on March 13 with panels, discussions and a concurrent exhibit of abecedarium holdings from the Library. It will remain there until mid-May when it will continue its travels until the end of 1999.

Now is the time to start planning the next exhibition which will open at our Standards of Excellence Seminar in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the fall of 2000. For our Y2K exhibit, we should show the wonderful work we all do in design bindings, artists' books, calligraphy and printing. Let's finish this century and start the new millenium with an exhibit of our best work. The Best of the Best (working title).

This will be a juried show. Slides will be due a year from now. Start thinking, planning and working now. Do that great binding or wall piece you've been putting off. It can be a work done in the 1990's but never shown in a Guild exhibition.

An Intent to Enter form will go out in a future Newsletter. Let's have a super turnout for this momentous year!

Barbara Lazarus Metz
Exhibition Committee Chairman


The presentations to be offered at the Standards Seminar in in Chicago in October are now set. They will be:

For the first time, a Foundation Class, conducted this year by Betsey Eldridge on Headbands, will be offered on the Thursday before the presentations begin. It will be an alternative to the usual tours offered on that day. Members may elect tours or the class, not both. This class on basic techniques will be open to all for a small extra fee, but it is aimed especially at less experienced binders, or those wishing to refresh their knowledge of the technique. The class will be limited to 25 participants. Members not attending the full Seminar may apply for the Foundation Class only.

Full information and application forms will be published with the June Newsletter.

Scholarship forms will also be included in the June issue.


Journal XXXV, Number 1 has been mailed out to members. The issue contains the article written by Priscilla Spitler, Guild of Book Workers 1996: Vital at Ninety which appeared first in the Designer Bookbinder's publication The New Bookbinder in 1996.

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The California Chapter's meeting in January was held at the International Printing Museum (315 Torrance Blvd., Carson, CA, ph: 714-529-1832). The curator, Mark Barbour, gave the group a tour of this collection, which the Smithsonian Institution has recognized as the largest and most comprehensive exhibit of its kind in the world. Before the tour the chapter business meeting was held and the slate shown in the last issue of this Newsletter was elected: Alice Vaughan continues as President, Joanne Page will plan Programs, Patty Owen is Newsletter Editor, Barbara Wood continues as Treasurer and Kaarina Tienhaara will be the new secretary.

Following the business meeting, "Benjamin Franklin" gave an interesting and informative talk on early printing methods with a slide show and demonstrations. The Museum had been forced to move from its previous site in Buena Park, California, almost two years ago. At that time all the presses, linotype machines and other heavy equipment (enormous quantities of enormous machines) were put into storage for 18 months. They have now been moved into their present space and work proceeds in getting them all into running order.

The turnout for the meeting was larger than expected and your Newsletter Editor (a member of the California Chapter from Northern California) was happy to see old friends, Phoebe Jane Easton, Mel Kavin, Elaine Nelson, and the hard-working Chapter staff among others, and to meet new friends and members. Millie Bird from Palm Desert, CA, has sent photos of the event.

The Lone Star Chapter's planned exhibit for 1999 will be design bindings of the text, "Heaven on Earth", selected writings by the American naturalist John Muir, printed by LSC co-president Randolph Bertin of the Press Intermezzo in Austin, Texas. Thirty GBW members have filed intent-to-enter forms to participate in this show, which will open July 17 at the Botanical Research Institute in Ft. Worth, Texas. It will travel to the Printing History Museum in Houston, opening on September 11, then to the Perry Castaneda Library, University of Texas at Austin, opening October 15. A reminder to all participants: Finished bindings are due May 15, 1999, in order to prepare a catalogue. Questions should be directed to Priscilla Spitler, 512-237-5960.

The Lone Star Chapter's Annual Meeting will be in Ft. Worth on Saturday, July 17 at the time of the opening of their exhibition.

The Midwest Chapter will hold its 1999 annual Meeting in Minneapolis at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts on the weekend of May 21. Among the activities being planned for the weekend will be Annie Wilcox reading from her forthcoming book (see News of GBW Members), Gabrielle Fox showing slides on miniature books and examples of her books and equipment, a show of recent work by members, and several workshops.

On February 2 a lottery was held in Ellen Strong's bindery for the binding equipment from Colette Luoma's bindery. Collette had been a student in Jan Sobota's bookbinding classes. She left her equipment with Cattermole Books, in Newbury, Ohio, with the wish that they go to someone starting out in binding. Five people entered the lottery, the largest items going to the first three winners: Bob Sibert of Jacksonville, Ill.; Pamela Rups of Kalamazoo, MI; and Constance Wozny of Eastwood, KY. The smaller items went to the remaining two: Virginia Plemons and Cecile Webster.

The Rocky Mountain Chapter will be the local host for the 20th Standards Seminar in the year 2000. It will be held in Salt Lake City, with Pamela Barrios as the organizer working with Monique Lallier. The chapter is planning their next exhibition to open at about that time. The chapter's newsletter, Book Arts Roundup, is always crammed with news of activities in all their areas by chapter members and numerous other book arts groups.

The New England Chapter held its Winter Meeting in the workrooms of Goldsmith 3, a custom design and hand-crafted jewelry business in Concord, Mass. Vincent Ferrini, one of the 3, demonstrated making and applying metal to books in his talk on Metal Book Hinges, Clasps, Hasps and Escutcheons. In late March Betsey Eldridge gave a workshop for the chapter on endbands.

The New York Chapter heard a lecture in March delivered by Sylvie Merian, Ph.D., former Curatorial Assistant and current Reference Librarian at the Pierpont Morgan Library, on "The Making of an Armenian Manuscript". In February, Dag Ernst Petersen, Head of the conservation Laboratory of the Duke August Library in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, gave a presentation at the Center for Book Arts on the treatments used in that laboratory.

Nora Lockshin, Acting Co-Chair of the New York Chapter, has been a book conservator in the Thomas J. Watson Library of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, working with Mindy Dubansky and Sisi Myint for the last two years. She is organizing a visit upstate by the chapter, probably in June, to the home and bindery of Edith Diehl in Brewster, NY and would be grateful for more information about Edith Diehl. If you have any information, contact Nora.

We have previously reported the struggle the Delaware Valley Chapter has had to keep going due to the lack of volunteers to run their organization. They came very close to disbanding, until Denise Carbone stepped in to take over the chairmanship. Now the Southeast Chapter is having the same difficulty.

It has been claimed that the problems for the Southeast Chapter are that the territory it encompasses is too widespread and few members are willing to help out. That few members are willing to help out is also true of the Delaware Valley Chapter, wide territory is not. On the other hand, the Rocky Mountain Chapter territory is the most widespread of all, taking in six of the largest states with the fewest inhabitants per square mile. But the Rocky Mountain group is among the most active in the country.

Do you think it's the Pioneer Spirit of Helping Out that makes the difference? We can't blame the "effete Easterners", or the old, tired Atlantic Seaboard states &emdash; look at the activities and interest in New England and New York! Volunteers are the life-blood of organizations like GBW. It takes time; it takes thought; it takes effort to take on a volunteer job, but the pay back is enormous. Don't wait to be asked &emdash; Volunteer Now!

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A Degree of Mastery: A Journey through Book Arts Apprenticeship, by Annie Tremmel Wilcox, Midwest Chapter Co-chair, has been chosen as a Book-of-the-Month Club Alternate Selection. Her book gives an account of her apprenticeship with William Anthony at the University of Iowa up until his death in 1989 and her decision to become her own master. The publication date for her book is June 1999. It is being printed by New Rivers Press in Minneapolis. For information from the Press, contact Nordis Heyerdahl-Fowler, Publicity, at: 612-339-7114; fax: 612-339-9047; e-mail: newrivpr@

Jill Oriane Tarlau, known for her embroidered bindings, a member of GBW, ARA and the Hand Bookbinders of California for a number of years, is leaving France, where she has lived for a large part of each year for the last 20 years. She is returning to her second home, New York City. Oriane studied binding first with Barbara Hiller in San Francisco, she perfected her techniques with Paul Ameline, Alain Coutret, and Philippe Fié in Paris. Her farewell exhibition was held in the Librairie Nicaise in Paris in September and October 1998.

Gabrielle Fox has been invited to give a short presentation on binding miniature books at the Society of Bookbinders' 1999 Silver Jubilee Conference in Shropshire, England, in early July. She will be teaching "Binding Miniature Books" at Urchfont Manor College, in Wiltshire, the following week, July 5-8.

Sid Neff, Jr.'s one-man exhibition, "The Collector as Binder: The Piscatorial Bindings of S. A. Neff, Jr.", opened on January 10th at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The catalogue for this exhibition, which will travel for two years, is gorgeous! It is listed under Publications in this issue, and is also reviewed in this issue. Check out the schedule in the Calendar and try to see it.

Mark Esser and Amanda Hegarty were married on January 9 in Harvard, Mass. Mark is at the Burns Library, Boston College. Amanda begins work on March 22 in Special Collections of the Harvard University Libraries with Pamela Spitzmueller.

Stork News
Congraulations to all you february parents!

Randolph Bertin and his wife Suzanne are the proud (and tired) parents of twins Audrey Margaret and Andrew Douglas, born February 12 in Austin, Texas.

Solveig Schumann and Sebastian Brecht are also parents of twins, born February 21 in New York City. The twins are named Olive and Orlando. (Is this catching?)

Rebekah Lord and Matthew Gardiner's son Samuel Tunis Gardiner was born February 15, 1999 in Weston, Mass.

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Extraordinary General Assembly of ARA-France

Following the unexpected death of M. Marcel Garrigou, President-Founder of ARA (Les Amis de la Reliure d'Art) on June 7, 1998, M. Jacques Ardouin assumed the post of President until a new Board could be elected. That meeting was held October 21 in Paris for all members of ARA-France.

At the meeting, Mme. Geneviève Boudonis, Secretary-Treasurer since 1982, presented the final accounts and announced her retirement. Both Mme Boudonis and Mme Simonne Garrigou have been named Members-for-Life.

Since a quorum was present, the election of the following officers was accomplished:

The program of activities will be set later, after the transfer of the organization in Toulouse to its new offices at 122, blvd Murat, F-75016 Paris has been accomplished.

NEDCC Preservation Manual On-Line

The third edition of the Northeast Document Conservation Center publication Preservation of Library & Archival Materials: A Manual, edited by Sherelyn Ogden is now available on-line at: .

New Frames For The National Charters

The 1952 state-of-the-art frames for the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights have deteriorated slightly and are being replaced.

The present cases consist of a sandwich of three panes of glass: a bottom pane topped by a sheet of pure cellulose backing-paper on which the document rests, and a thin glass cover resting atop the parchment to hold it flat. This is followed by an empty space and a top sheet of glass. The glass resting on the document has caused a haziness in places which, it is suspected, is caused by chemical changes in the glass.

The new cases will follow more than 20 criteria established by the National Archives, including high visibility for all pages of the documents, weight limits to allow lifting by two people, the ability to open and reseal the cases, and "a pleasing dignified appearance".

Dr. Norbert Baer, chairman of the committee of experts advising the National Archives, said the experts in the 1950's were confident their technology would protect the documents for a hundred years or more.

"Today, we know more, but have a greater sense of the limits of technology," he said. "Now you recognize that things can go wrong you haven't anticipated, and you allow for getting into the enclosure without destroying it if something troubling occurs."

The new enclosures will be airtight cells of titanium and aluminum that will hold the documents behind tempered glass in an atmosphere of inert argon gas; the cases resembling large, deep picture frames.

Fine Press Book Association

The Fine Press Book Association, an international organization of book designers, papermakers, printers, bookbinders, publishers, librarians, collectors and others interested in the fine art of printing and beautiful books, has published the second of its twice yearly publication Parenthesis.

This latest issue, No. 2, September 1998, contains contributions by Carol Grossman in Boulder, CO; Richard-Gabriel Rummonds; John Dreyfus, Honorary President of ATypI; Sebastian Carter of Rampant Lions Press, among many others. Adela Spindler Roatcap writes Pochoir: The Art of Coloring With Stencils, Carol Grossman writes about American Book Design in the Post-War-Years

The plan is to have the spring issue edited designed and printed in the USA and the autumn/fall issue in the UK. The next issue, due out in April 1999, will include contributions by David Chambers on the future of the Private Press Movement and Jack Flavell on copyright.

Initiative for the formation of the association came from discussions held at the Oak Knoll Fest in 1996 and 1997. John Randle of Whittington Press is the first President, Kim Merker of Windhover Press in Iowa City is the American Vice-President, Carol Grossman is Coordinating Secretary, and Frances McDowall of Old Stile Press is Secretary-Treasurer for the UK.

To enroll (includes subscription), send check made payable to Fine Press Book Association, or pay by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Access) for £15/$25 (check first, new rates may apply after March 31, 1999) to:

(USA) Carol Grossman,
Four Rivers Books
7228 Four Rivers Rd., Boulder, CO 80301
Ph: 303-530-7567
fax: 303-530-22510

(UK) Frances McDowall
The Old Stile Press
Catchmays Court
Llandogo, Monmouth NP5 4TN, UK
phone & fax: 01291 689226

University of the Arts MFA 10th Anniversary

The University of the Arts in Philadelphia is celebrating the 10th anniversary of their Master of Fine Arts in Book Arts/Printmaking program with exhibitions, speakers, and an Alumni Weekend April 16 &endash; 18. On April 16, Marvin Sackner will speak in the CBS Auditorium, 320 So.Broad St., on "The Collector as a Performer" at 5:30 pm. A gathering of alumni with an informal slide show on their work and careers from the last ten years will be held on April 17 in Wagman Hall, 311 S. Broad St. from 1 - 3 pm, followed by Buzz Spector speaking on "The Art of Buzz Spector: An Archive of Forgetting" at 3 pm.. Work by Alumni from the Book Arts Program will be on exhibition at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, 333 So. Broad St., from April 16 - May 9, 1999; reception, Friday, April 16 at 6:30 pm.

In conjunction with the anniversary celebration will be three other exhibitions: Book Arts/Printmaking First Year Student Exhibition in the UA Wagman Gallery, 311 S. Broad St.; Faculty Exhibition April 1 - 30 at the Nexus Foundation for Today's Art, 137 N. Broad St.; and the 1999 MFA Thesis Exhibitions at 141 N. 2nd St., 4th floor, opening reception April 18, 1 - 4 pm.

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Dag Ernst Petersen Lecture

On Monday, February 8, Dag Ernst Petersen, Head of the Conservation Laboratory of the Duke August Library in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, gave a presentation at the Center for Book Arts (in New York City) on the standard treatments and treatment philosophy used in the laboratory.

Of a total 600,000 volumes, the Library holds 6,000 manuscripts and 5,000 incunabula, 3,000 of which are Bibles. Mr. Petersen used the treatment history of a copy of the 1522 "September Testament", the first edition of Martin Luther's translations, as an example for most of the treatment procedures. The name of the book refers to the first edition, which was out of print by October and then had to be reprinted in a later edition, the "October Testament". This copy has been on display for the previous months in the exhibition, "A Treasure House of Books, selections from the Duke August Library" at the Grolier Club.

The conservation treatment of the September Testament could be described as a full treatment. The text had to be disbound because the double, alum-tawed thongs had broken (exactly in the place corresponding to the opening preferred for exhibitions). Any tears were mended with Japanese paper and cooked paste. A heated tool similar to a tacking iron, but in this case essentially a modified soldering iron, was used during mending to speed up the drying process. The temperature is controlled carefully and a piece of silk is placed between the tool and the work while using it. The text was re-sewn onto high quality linen cords instead of alum-tawed thongs. This reflects the general philosophy for treatments in this laboratory, which is to use the best, most durable and permanent material available for replacement, in combination with a detailed documentation of the conservation treatment, mainly because the conservation lab is rarely consulted about the use of the materials after their conservation.

In treating the boards, first the hardware, such as catch plates and bosses, were removed from the book covers. Then the paste downs and the leather were lifted as well. Occasionally when lifting adhered paper using moisture to solvate the adhesive, some isopropyl alcohol is mixed with the water to ease penetration and speed evaporation.

The wooden book covers showed some damage. One board was split, and a corner was missing and needed to be replaced. In order to glue the split together, a gap needed to be closed. To achieve this, the wood was moistened with water along the split over a funnel-shaped area, being narrowest at the start of the split and widest at the edge of the board. This swelled the wood proportionally to the size of the gap, causing it to close and allowing it to be glued together. This could not have been achieved through pressing or the use of clamps alone.

Once the split was repaired, holes (1/2 of the thickness of the board in depth) were drilled across the split using a Forstner bit. Round softwood plugs were then glued into the holes, with their grain running perpendicular to the grain of the board, reinforcing the repair. The missing corner was repaired by adding on a small piece of beech wood. Ponal, a wood glue made by Henckel, Germany, was used for all repairs on the wood.

The edges of the original leather were sanded to a thin taper in a fume hood using a flex-shaft drill with a sanding drum attachment. This assures that the transition from the new to the old leather is an absolutely smooth one when the leather is remounted. Before reassembly, the missing clasps and bosses were made from new brass stock. Once finished, the new pieces are given a patina to give a more sympathetic match to the existing hardware. The library has collected a large number of clasps over the years which have been found in the stacks, which are available to study. None of these clasps would be put on a book as a replacement, even if it fits and looks appropriate, since it cannot be ascertained that it was part of the book originally and would be misleading to the scholar.

Other treatments that were discussed were the washing and re-sizing of paper. Occasionally a wetting agent in the very low concentration is used during the washing process. The paper is then re-sized with rabbit skin glue, which is preferred over methyl cellulose, since it renders the paper more water-resistant. The drying racks in the lab are lined with white cotton towels which will allow the even drying of the sized sheets and will release them easily. The towels can be washed repeatedly and replace blotters completely for this purpose. Overall, there was a wealth of information packed into the lecture for the roughly forty people who came to hear Mr. Petersen speak. A small group continued the discussion over dinner.

Ursula Mitra, New York Chapter Co-Chair

S. A. Neff, Jr. Catalogue

The Collector as Bookbinder &emdash; The Piscatorial Bindings of S. A. Neff, Jr. Essays by Elizabeth R. Agro and Stanley I. Grand. Binder's Statement, Catalogue Entries, and Glossary by S. A, Neff, Jr. Sordoni Art Gallery, Wilkes University, [1999]. 68 pp, 49 color illustrations, pictorial soft cover. $15.00

There have been some highly respectable books published on individual binders' works &emdash; Tini Miura and Michael Wilcox come to mind &emdash; but as for a single binder's show, this exhibition catalogue appears to me to be without peer. From its unique pictorial cover displaying ten fishing reels on the Treasury of Reels binding, to the magnificent color reproductions of bindings and containers in S. A, Neff, Jr. repertoire (pp.[18-65]), this catalogue-book mirrors the design and layout forethought which went into the bindings themselves: artfully explosive, historically mindful, with incredibly accurate and precise execution. The photography is sharp and clean.

The introductory essay by Elizabeth Agro of the Carnegie Museum of Art gives an informative biographical overview of Neff's development as a fine binder of piscatorial books following his studied years &emdash; first as an angler and then collector of angling books. A most erudite and instructive essay by Stanley Grand of the Sordoni Art Gallery ensconces Neff's work within the rich tradition of angling's historical development and its attendant printed record. The binder's own statement reveals his grounding in the equally rich tradition of bookbinding. These essays are supplemented by an itinerary of six exhibition sites (p[2]), a glossary (p.17), and a list of S. A. Neff Jr.'s past exhibitions (p.66).

The catalogue's oblong dimensions (11 w x 8 Hh) provide a visual forum of double-page spreads which contain the text on the verso side and its conjugate photo-illustration(s) on the recto side. A generous amount of white space allows the colorful bindings to dominate and the text to take a more subordinate but supportive role. My own particular binding favorites are the more than sixteen volumes and panels displaying the use of Japanese dyed and gilt papers. But to simply focus on individual bindings in the catalogue &emdash; as alluring as these admittedly are &emdash; is to miss the greater part of what the binder has tried to achieve. S. A. Neff, Jr. is a master of containers, or as Elizabeth Agro likes to refer to them: "environments." Boxed sets of miniature books, letters between anglers, angling memorabilia, trout flies and materials, and even fishing reels are all brought into tandem with S. A. Neff's bookbindings providing a composite "feel" for a slice of the angler's world being preserved for posterity.

S. A. Neff's work is only partly served by such a two-dimensional catalogue, as beautiful as it might be. In seeing the exhibit one is further introduced to a three dimensional view of his work, but even that is somewhat unsatisfactory for S. A. Neff's work requires the fourth dimension of time to truly appreciate the unfolding of containers, panels, bindings, and contents as one investigates each work. The only way this could be accomplished is through videotape or by actually manipulating the binder's containers and contents in front of oneself. Admittedly, such is beyond the purview of the catalogue in front of me, but it is a limitation of medium which nevertheless shouldn't be overlooked. Lastly, I was a bit perplexed by the omission of any prominent, identified photos of S. A. Neff. Jr., although there are three locations in the catalogue showing a small photo or other representation of the angler-collector-binder (entries 4, 28 & 49).

I would heartily recommend this exhibition catalogue for any modern binder's or institution's collection of books on bookbinding, or for any angling devotee or piscatorial collection. Incidentally, in my opinion the catalogue is under priced.

Philip R. Bishop is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (AABA), a collector-connoisseur and purveyor of bindings, and author-compiler of the widely acclaimed bibliography: Thomas Bird Mosher &emdash; Pirate Prince of Publishers (The British Library & Oak Knoll Press, 1998).

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[Web Ed. Note: Any illustrations contained in the original article are not availabe on the web version of the newsletter.]

Warped Vellum Bindings

The following comments and suggestions were made during an on-going discussion on the Book Arts List on the Internet, in answer to a question about treatment of warped vellum bindings. We use it with the permission of: Cor Knops: Knops Boekrestauratie, Conservation & Restoration of Books and Paper, Groenstraat 8, 6151 CS Munstergeleen, Netherlands; ph: 00 31 46 4200024; fax: 00 31 46 4110180: e-mail:; knops.htm

Vellum is animal skin which has been dried under tension. As soon as relative (or absolute) humidity rises, the skin tries to regain its original form and starts to 'wobble'

The best way to eliminate these creases is to dampen the vellum. You can use either a humid piece of cloth or paper, gently touch it on the surface of both sides of the vellum , then press it gently between blotters for a long time.

Another method I use is a Gore-Tex sandwich. In short, it consists of two layers of Gore-Tex or Sympatex (which allow water molecules to pass through, but not drops of water), wet felt or blotting paper as the source for humidity, and two layers of non-permeable material, like plastic or glass.

A third method is to relax the whole sheet of vellum in a so-called "sweat-room". It can easily be created using a large closed plastic crate, box or aquarium. On the bottom, pour some very hot water (to make steam). On top of that, put a grid, to lie a few centimeters above the surface of the water. Make sure the vellum does not come directly in contact with the water! On the top of the box, put a towel or something similar (absorbent) to prevent drops falling down on the vellum, then a sheet of glass to make sure no vapor escapes. After relaxing, dry the vellum by pressing gently between blotters.

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Edward H. Snider

Surface Texture of Handmade Paper Depends on Its End-Use

Each end-use for handmade paper dictates the surface texture, or sheet finish, required.

The particular taste of the artist or artisan who uses the paper also has a large bearing on whether the paper used is Rough, Medium or Smooth.

For example, calligraphers who use sharp pens do not want to use a Rough paper that would catch the pen and spoil the lettering. Therefore, they would prefer a Smooth sheet, or perhaps a Medium finish. On the other hand, if they are using felt pens or air brush, the sheet finish is not as critical.

The watercolorist may want to use a Rough surface in order to allow the white of the paper to show through the paint, although they usually use a Medium finish. The finish of the watercolor paper is often defined as Rough, Cold Press and Hot Press in reference to the original processes used to achieve the finish.

The pastel painter usually wants a paper with "bite", in order to take the chalks well.

A letterpress printer could use all three finishes, since the raised type pounds the ink into the sheet with the high impression pressure. Thus the printer can attain good print reproduction even on Rough paper.

On the other hand, a wood engraver usually wants a Smooth sheet for low pressure dry printing, although Medium, and even Rough paper can be used if the engraver is prepared to moisten the surface of the paper before printing. The moisture softens the surface and permits much better printing fidelity. This technique also applies to letterpress printing.

Normally, a printmaker likes to use a Smooth paper in order to obtain good print reproduction.

A marbler usually uses a Smooth or Medium sheet for good transfer of the dyes from the bath to the paper surface.

Thus, the hand papermaker must be prepared to offer all three finishes to satisfy the particular needs of his clients.

How is this achieved?

After couching the wet sheets onto the press felts, the "post" thus formed is dewatered under high pressure and in the wet press. During this procedure the wet paper is very soft and its surface takes on the surface texture of the weave of the wet felts above and below.

If the wet sheet is allowed to air dry unrestrained (loft drying), the impression of the felt weave remains in a Rough finish.

A Medium finish is achieved by stacking the wet sheets one on top of the other on a flat press board, as they are removed from the wet felts, taking great care to make sure that they each lie squarely on top of the previous sheet.

A top press board is then set in place and the stack is put back into the wet press. The top press platen is lowered very carefully and a very low pressure is applied to the wet stack. This pressure flattens out the felt weave impression and creates a flatter paper surface.

If too high a pressure is applied, the stack may "block", making it impossible to separate the sheets. It may even "extrude", thus destroying the paper!

The stack is then removed from the press. The sheets are carefully separated, by teasing them apart with a spatula, and draped over the drying rack as described in article No. 8.

To attain a Smooth finish, the Medium sheets are passed through a "Calender". This consists of two driven, vertically oriented steel rolls with adjustable pressure between them, similar to a press.

In order to protect the paper surfaces from any dirt or roughness on the roll surfaces, the paper is placed between the smooth surfaces of two sheets of Masonite and the whole sandwich is fed through the Calender.

Next time we will talk about paper quality parameters and definitions.

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Iris Nevins

For those interested in the possible origins of marbled designs, I suggest a visit to the Newark (N.J.) Museum. You will find there a display of ancient Roman glass, many of the pieces patterned with traditional marbling designs in strikingly similar colors to those we see today on paper. These glasses, mainly small vases, date from around 6th century B.C. to about 50 B.C. Recognizable patterns are combed, herringbone, freeform, and an elongated spot that resembles oil marbling. The "combed" piece, in particular, resembles a 19th century common red endpaper. I found this display fascinating. I hope you will, too!

(Newark Museum, 49 Washington St., Newark, NJ 07102; ph: 973-596-6550. Open Wed. &endash; Sun.)

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Amy Lapidow

Recently, there was an extended discussion of uses for Tyvek on the Book_Arts List. The contributors use it for book repair, artists' books, and as a covering material that can be printed upon, marbled or colored as paste papers. Many questions arose as to its stability and longevity, what adhesives are suitable, and its general characteristics. The following is a result of these discussions and some Web explorations.

Tyvek is DuPont's ( brand of spun bonded olefin, which is a non-woven fabric made of high density polyethylene,or HDPE 2, for those of you who have recycling service. It is non-toxic, chemically inert and contains no binders. It allows moisture vapor to pass through it, but is dirt, tear, and dust resistant. It is not affected by moisture, acids or bases, so it is widely used for protective clothing, security envelopes and house wrap. It can be recyled 4 or 5 times before its physical properties are affected.

Tyvek is made into sheets by first spinning continous threads of very fine interconnected fibers and then bonding those fibers together with heat and pressure. It is produced in three different types (10, 14 and 16). Type 10 has densely packed fibers to produce a smooth surface. Its stiffness is due to a high number of bonds per unit. Types 14 and 16 have fewer bonds per unit, so they closely resemble fabric.

DuPont (800-44-TYVEK) sent a packet of samples of the different types of Tyvek, with a chart showing optimal uses for each. All the types recommended for book coverings or book jackets are of type 10. The kind of information (plus other specifications) included in the packet is as follows: For style 1073D, weight is 75 g/sq.m and is 7.6 mils or 185 microns thick. It tensile strength is 80 Newtons/centimeter in the machine direction and 88 in the cross direction.

Other information included in the technical notes is that Tyvek will accept foil stamping at 275-325 degrees F, but large solid stamped areas should be avoided. When printing on Tyvek, use additional impression. Water-based or alcohol-pigmented polyamide inks are preferred. Aniline dyes are not recommended. Keep the drying temperature to below 175 degrees F., as it will melt at 275 degrees F.

There was success in using Yes Glue, and dry transfer adhesive to laminate several pieces of Tyvek together for rigidity or to adhere it to something else. PVA and a tacking iron also seemed to create a bond. In the technical notes it states that natural product adhesives based on dextrin, casein or animal by-products will adhere Tyvek to itself and to paper materials.

The next question is where to get Tyvek in sheets? Try kite stores and these suppliers:

Ailing & Cory (, New York Central Art Supply, 62 Third Ave., New York, NY; 212-473-7705;

Sterling Art, 17762 Mitchell, Irvine, CA 92714-6-67; 800-953-2953.

Ed. Note: TALAS and Gaylord sell Tyvek in rolls, University Products carries it in rolls and sheets.

Comments, questions, suggestions to

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New Phone Number

Victoria Paper Company, Inc., 80-28 Springfield Blvd., Hollis Hills, NY 11427-1232, has a new 800 number: 1-800-898-8090. Their old 800 number will remain in effect until April 15, 1999: 1-800-898-1346. All other numbers are still valid: NY tel: 1-718-740-0990; fax: 1-718-740-0949.

Bookbinding Equipment

Jeannie Sack, 15 Encanto Ave., San Francisco, CA 94115; ph: 415-775-8882, is clearing out her bindery. In addition to a large number of small tools and various supplies, she is offering a Hickok lying press with tub and plough, brass type, sewing frame, Kutrimmer, etc. Call her for a list.


Craft Bookbinding, 2525 Ebright Rd., Wilmington, DE 19810-1125, ph: 302-475-1534; 800-869-1534: fax: 302-475-9801, has a 150 page catalogue of Bookbinding & Conservation supplies. they carry supplies and large and small equipment: Rotatrim, Kwikprint; brass type & gilding tools, service and foundry type, etc.

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The Lone Star Chapter announces the publication of a special lettered edition of Heaven on Earth, selected writings of the American naturalist John Muir, printed by LSC member Randolph Bertin of Press Intermezzo and illustrated with numerous wood engravings by east Texas artist Charles Jones (LSC). This 140 page, 8 H x 6 text has been printed letterpress with polymer plates on Biblio paper, and will be bound under the supervision of Priscilla Spitler (LSC) in a rounded, quarter-leather case binding of tan Harmatan goatskin with gold stamping on the spine, and boards covered in a warm red Japanese cloth with endpapers of Bugra paper. Each book will be housed in a slipcase covered in olive Japanese cloth. Only 20 of the 26 copies are offered for sale at $175 each, including shipping. Available April 1999. For orders, contact Priscilla Spitler, LSC Secretary, P.O. Box 578, Smithville, TX 78957. 512-237-5960. All sales benefit the Lone Star Chapter, Guild of Book Workers.

[Web ed. note: The exhibit is on the web at:]

Exhibition Catalogs

The Collector As Bookbinder: The Piscatorial Bindings of S.A. Neff, Jr. A catalogue of 49 color photographs of boxes and bindings in a traveling special exhibit. 8 H x 11, 64 pp., paper. Available from: S.A. Neff, Jr., 524 Sycamore Rd., Sewickley, PA 15143. Price: $15.00 + $4.00 s&h + $1.05 tax in PA.


The following publications are available for borrowing from the Guild Library.

Abbey Newsletter, Vol. 21 #8 1997.

An appreciation of Fritz Eberhardt by Don Rash recounts his life and contribution to North American bookbinding.

Carla J. Montori considers the digital project at the University of Michigan.

Jean Whiffin reports on the 1997 IFLA Conference in Copenhagen which discussed the effects of electronic publishing on the dissemination of scientific research and the problems of copyright in digital archives. In answer to this, perhaps, is a short humorous promotional piece by Marielle Carter treating the BOOK as a new invention.

Included with this issue is the ANL Useful Addresses 1998 List, the Index for v.21 &endash; 1997, and the Useful Web Sites, July 1998.

Association of Book Crafts (New Zealand), July/August 1998.

Arthur Johnson recommends thick hemp cord and waxed, unbleached linen thread in his article on sewing. - J.R. Newlands' article on tool sharpening reminds us that a sharp knife is less likely to cut a finger than a dull one because less force is needed in working it.

Biblio Vol. 3, # 7, July 1998.

The most interesting thing in this issue, apart from two pictures of fabulous Paul Bonet bindings, is a short piece on an electronic book being developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The development project is called The Last Book, presumably because it will render obsolete all our paper based tomes. Imagine an object in the form of a book with electronic text downloaded from a computer and then displayed on page-like leaves. Imagine disposable text, pay-per-view, and having nothing to read without electronics. (or electricity?)

Nicholas Basbanes writes about the bookseller and ABAA President, Priscilla Juvelis,and her mentor, John Fleming, in "Making of a Bookseller".

Biblio Vol. 3, # 8, August 1998.

Henry Morris of the Bird & Bull Press reveals the delights of his interest in book related tokens, and how he set about printing his own medals.

Nicholas A. Basbanes profiles Nicholson Baker and his valuable action in defending the books and card catalogue of the San Francisco Public Library.

Biblio Vol. 3, # 9, September 1998.

Book scout and writer Don Bell's seven-page article on Paris booksellers covers all areas and types.

Biblio Vol. 3, # 12, December 1998.

Rye Armstrong presents a short article on of the state of the Art Book, with color photos of books by, who else? Tim Ely, Jan Sobota, Richard Minsky, and others.

John K. Waters meets with Adobe Systems CEO John Warnock to discuss Warnock's treasure trove of rare books and his copying them in CD-ROM versions for general sale at Octavo.

Joanne Sonnichsen's Postscript is about decorated endpapers in old books.

Binders' Guild Newsletter, Vol. XXI, No. 4, June 1998.

Dag Ernst-Petersen's presentation of historic wooden board bindings at the 1997 Guild of Bookworkers Seminar. He showed how to make and restore them.

Binders' Guild Newsletter, Vol. XXI, No. 5, July 1998.

German endpapers, John Mitchell painting foredges, a diagram and instructions for making a simplified slipcase, a talk about adhesives, all from articles in other publications, but useful to reread. And a commemoration of Stephen Vincent Benet by Roy Meador.

Calligraph, Journal of the Society for Calligraphy, Los Angeles, Vol. 21, No. Two, 1999

This issue is a report (lots of b/w photos) on the calligraphy conference Discoveries held in San Diego, Calif. July 26 - August 2, 1998.

Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild Newsletter, Vol. 16 #3 Autumn 1998.

Arthur Johnson article on sewing also appears here, along with CBBAG's annual reports.

Designer Bookbinders Newsletter, No. 103, Summer 1998.

Mainly reports on various meetings and competitions.

Designer Bookbinders Newsletter, No. 104, Autumn 1998

A report on the conservation work going on in the library of the Travellers Club, where an exhibit of examples of the work was shown in May. Frances McDowall asks How can the work of the Small Presses be made more visible? Anthony Dowd gives a short history of Gregynog Press.

Designer Bookbinders Newsletter, No. 105, Winter 1998.

James Brockman reports from the Autumn Meeting of the Designer Bookbinders on the mouthwatering selection of bindings shown at the Liverpool University Library.

Anthony Dowd discusses Paul Delrue's demonstration of his Lacunose technique.

T. C. Ely muses on his daily experience at Planetary Collage.

Yehuda Miklaf writes about the differences in lifestyle, materials, standards and techniques between Toronto and his new home in Jerusalem.

Jeanette Koch reviews the American Bookworks exhibition at the City of London. (Reprinted in GBW Newsletter in February 1999).

Minnesota Center for the Book Arts Newsletter, Volume 14, No. 1, Sept - Dec 1998.

News, events and exhibitions at the Center.

Morocco Bound: Journal of the Craft Bookbinders,Vol. 19 #3, August 1998.

Includes the N.S.W. Guild of Craft Bookbinders Newsletter, No. 26 August 1998.

Photographing your Bindings is a helpful article by John Newlands for amateur photographers.

Other articles include instructions for using a Blocking Press for titling and/or applying patterns; edge treatments for books; and Elaine Schlefer's method of board attachment as shown at the Standards Seminar in Tuscaloosa.

Paper Conservation News, Number 86, June 1998.

Helen Shenton relays the talk she gave at the Institute of Paper Conservation conference, "Current Trends in Book Conservation". Ms Shenton discusses the future of book conservation, as it relates to a wider social context. Her themes include demand for education and training, the rise of digital preservation methods, and the dearth of funding in institutions. Finally, despite all this, she thinks about how it hasn't really changed in terms of materials and techniques.

John Ashman reviews the whole conference on book conservation trends.

WAAC (Western Association for Art Conservation) Newsletter, Vol. 20, No. 2, May 1998.

This issue is concerned mainly with the health hazards associated with lead. Included in this is a directory of analytical and materials testing laboratories. These services are seldom required by binders but it is useful to know where they are all listed together.

Laura Downey discusses the ethical and legal implications of claims regarding the photographic images of Native Americans, as well as more usual difficulties in conserving a historic album.

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This list is compiled by Sid Huttner and includes catalogs received by him which include books of interest to GBW members. Catalog number, address, phone number and Internet address (when stated in the catalog) are recorded.

Frances Wakeman Books 41 (430 items). 2 Manor Way, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 2BD, UK. 011-44-01865-378316. A selection of books from the library of W.P. Jaspert, writer on typography. Books include calligraphy, printing, and more.

Joshua Heller New Series List Five (817 items). P.O. Box 39114, Washington, DC 20016-9114. 202-966-9411. Offers a portion of a 5000-volume collection of books related to books, including book arts.

Oak Knoll Books 206 (759 items) and 207 (768 items). 310 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE 19720. 302-328-7232. 206: Books about books; 207 includes sections on papermaking and paper specimens. The Oak Knoll Press catalog for Spring 1999 is also available: 150 pages describing over 500 books.

Questor Rare Books 22 (329 items). 32 Bridge Street, Brackley, Northamptonshire NN13 7EW, England. 9-011-01280-704780. About the Book, including bookbinding, printing, etc.

Thomas G. Boss List 992 (103 items) and 993 (104 items). 355 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116-3313. 617-421-1880. Illustrated books, some book and decorative arts. 993, New Arrivals, offers a collection of W.A. Dwiggins ephemera and a run of Rockwell Kent items.

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