Guild of Book Workers Newsletter 124














Karen L. Crisalli

This month's Newsletter is chock-full of information, as you can see. But don't let the sheer quantity of materials and inserts overwhelm you; there is a lot of important news to read! Arrangements are well under way for the GBW Standards of Excellence conference in Chicago in October, which is again guaranteed to be a sell-out, waiting-list performance. Included in this issue are the extremely important inserts for registering for the Seminar (first-come first-served, as always), a form for those who wish to apply for a Scholarship, a form for the new "Foundations" workshop, and a form for vendors who wish to display their wares in the Vendors' Room during the Seminar.

Our Standards Seminar was initiated more than a dozen years ago to offer members opportunities to learn techniques and philosophies that go above and beyond "the norm" ... how to take our craft to the ultimate limits of perfection and creativity. Now, to this Standards of Excellence format we are adding a new "Foundations" workshop, to be offered the day before the official opening of the conference. This is a venue where beginners, intermediate and experienced book workers, alike can "get back to basics", refresh their skills, and perhaps pick up a few tips they missed along the way! You can register for the Foundations workshop whether or not you are attending the entire Standards meeting, provided you take early advantage of the enclosed Foundations registration form.

We are pleased to inform you that our project to make available videos of past seminars is underway again. After being stalemated while we looked for reasonable (i.e. cheap or free!) editing equipment and assistance, Creighton LeMieux and his wife Marcella are back on track. The videotape of Eleanore Ramsey's presentation "Board Edges Redefined" is now available on free loan to members from our GBW lending library &emdash; you only pay the return postage. Contact Anna Embree (listed in your 1998 membership directory and on the Executive Committee List in this issue) to borrow a copy of this video presentation by mail. The video will also be available for sale. Details for its purchase will be made in the next Newsletter when our costs have been finalized. Also by our next Newsletter we expect to be able to announce the next available video in this continuing series recorded at each of the Standards of Excellence conferences.

You may have seen brief advance notices announcing the conference in June of 2000 that will be hosted by RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) to celebrate the official installation of the Bernard Middleton Book Collection into the Carey Library collection. Mr. Middleton is a well known book binder, restorer, design binder, teacher, mentor and author, much to the benefit of many of our members. The Guild of BookWorkers will have a display booth or table at the conference, and we hopes to generate an ever-increasing interest in Guild activities. To be able to attend the official installation of his collection, and view some of the fine and rare bindings will be a once-in-a-lifetime treat, so be sure to check out the details of the Middleton festivities, which are included on yet another important insert to this newsletter issue.

As of this month, our membership has swollen to over 925. June 30 will mark the end of our fiscal year, and I have decided that I really, really want us to hit the 1,000 mark during the next fiscal year, July 1, 1999 &endash; June 30, 2000. So, not only do we need everyone to be sure to renew for the upcoming year, I am personally asking that 75 of you make sure to solicit one new member each. You know which 75 members you are, right?

Annual elections will be coming up shortly, and you will be receiving your ballots before too long. One of the most difficult positions to fill right now is that of Guild Treasurer. We have been spoiled for years by the generosity of Mary C. Schlosser, who has served as treasurer longer than she wishes to admit. But, Treasurer is not the only seat Mary has filled over the years; she is also a past President and past Newsletter Editor. However, Mary feels (and rightly so) that now she would like more time to attend to other matters, including the enjoyment of her home in North Carolina. So, we are desperately seeking a member with a little bookkeeping/ accounting experience who will agree to take over the day-to-day financial matters of the Guild. Naturally, all the accounting software and backup materials will be supplied to the computer-literate volunteer, and we have the services of an accountant for 'the big stuff' like tax filings. If you, or someone you know, has some light accounting/ bookkeeping experience, and is willing to spend a few hours a month volunteering for the Guild on a long-term basis, please contact Mary or myself for further details. I have on hand a brief "job description" which can be mailed or e-mailed to anyone who would like a better idea of what the position involves. If you would like to see it before making a commitment, please contact me.

In spite of the good wishes and intentions of a number of fine folks, it has become necessary to disband the Southeast Chapter. The vast distance between the participating states was cited as one of the key difficulties. The membership population in this huge territory appears to be too widely dispersed to allow enough members to attend meetings, workshops etc., and although we had sufficient interest to start this chapter, volunteers for the various positions were not forthcoming in the numbers needed to maintain it.

On a final note, by the time you read this Newsletter, you should have received your newest GBW publication: the popular Journal Index, listing all the articles, subjects and authors for the last five years worth of Journals. This index is an invaluable tool for locating past writings on almost every conceivable book arts subject. Our continued thanks to Jean Stephenson for putting together these wonderful Journals, and hearty thanks to Jill Deiss and Bernadette Callery for their work in assisting Jean in the monumental job of putting together this new index, which covers 1990 &emdash; 1995, issues xxviii &emdash; xxxiii.

Return to Contents


The Potomac Chapter has been having interesting meetings this spring. In March they attended a hands-on demonstration of edge marbling given by the head forwarder at the Government Printing Office. The presenter brought his tank, colors and all sorts whisks and combs.

The GPO has been marbling since its founding in 1861. Its normal technique is to work on a base of karaya gum, dropping powdered mineral color pigments mixed with ox gall onto the gum base so they spread suitably and do not sink below the surface. In government work, a set procedure is followed. Three colors are used &emdash; blue, yellow, and red. Red, usually the dominant color, goes on last. An agate or stone pattern, or one of several combed patterns, is used, depending on the nature of the edition being decorated. Text blocks are marbled before rounding, the block is held in boards cut to its exact size and the edges are sponged with an alum solution, then allowed to dry. The marbler dips the three edges of the text block, using an end-to-end rolling motion, rather than trying to hold each edge parallel to the surface and putting the entire edge in at once.

In April, Frank Mowery demonstrated his technique for setting gems into the cover of books. For the binding that Frank created for the edition of Shakespeare's Sonnets that he bound for the Folger's Diamond Jubilee a few years ago, Frank had a jeweler mount the 56 diamonds and 4 rubies that were set into the covers. For the demonstration, he used simple snap mounts for pierced earrings, with a drop or two of epoxy to be sure they would hold. Frank mounts the stones after the book has been covered, but before the boards have been filled in on the inside. To increase the sparkle of the stones, he tools a dot slightly larger than the stone, using gold or silver foil, on the spot where each stone will be mounted. Then he punches, to the desired depth through the covering leather in the center of the dot, a hole the diameter of the mounted stone. Stones mounted higher tend to catch the light better. With a needle, he pokes a hole through the board in the center of the punched hole to accommodate the pin on the end of the mount. The pin is bent over and hidden by the infill.

The Rocky Mountain Chapter held an April meeting in The Rare Book Room at Norlin Library of the University of Colorado at Boulder where they were able to see the artists' books and fine bindings in the Library's growing collection.

A new list-serve for book arts in the west has been set up by Alicia Bailey at bookartswest@ To post or receive messages from the list you must first subscribe. To subscribe, send the message 'subscribe bookartswest' to The list is open and unmoderated. The intent is not for discussion, but for information. It has been set up for dissemination of book and paper arts information in the Rocky Mountain region.

Return to Contents


Congratulations to Nancy Leavitt on winning the First Prize at the 'Writing Beyond Words' Exhibition for her piece entitled The Book of Rocks. The exhibition will be held in conjunction with the annual calligraphy conference in Guilford, Connecticut August 14 through 25. The recognition includes an award of $1,000.

The Book of Rocks, 1998, 8 x 12L, 48 pages, Gouache and stick ink on handmade muslin paper by the artist, sewn on vellum strips in a limp vellum binding by Peter Geraty. The Book of Rocks was inspired by Irish &emdash; Northumbrian Gospel books produced between 650 and 1000 C.E. Each of the four 'rock' gospels contains a cross page, a double carpet page, and a rock page followed by four pages of calligraphic marks. Illustrations and calligraphic marks are woven in a similar manner to the early gospel manuscript paintings.

Congratulations, also, to Tom Conroy for his award of a grant from The Book Club of California for research for his forthcoming book, A Directory of Bookbinders' Finishing Tool Makers, 1780 &emdash; 1965.

New member Nancy Norton Tomasko is a member of the New York Chapter. She is doing research on the Physical Aspects of the Book in China and can give a workshop on Chinese Bookbinding. She can be contacted at 215-755-8168, or

Suzanne Moore gave a two-day workshop on Manuscript Book Design at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. in May. She gave a lecture during the same weekend on 'Manuscript Book, Tradition and Exploration'.

Annie Tremmel Wilcox and Gabrielle Fox both gave lectures during the Midwest Chapter's Annual Meeting on May 21 st and 22nd held at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis. Annie presented a slide lecture on her life in the book arts, how she came to work in the book arts, her apprenticeship with Bill Anthony and how she came to write her book about their time together (See Publications, this issue). Gabrielle talked on Miniature Books : Structure and Design, a binding form that is often not taken seriously. She hopes to inspire binders with the possibilities, rather than the limitations in miniature books. Annie and Gabrielle are co-chairs of the Midwest Chapter.

Return to Contents


For a possible talk and/or article about Clara Buffum:
I would be grateful for biographical information about her, the names of her apprentices, and the locations of her bindings. Ms. Buffum was born in New York in 1873 and established the Marigold Bindery at the Handicraft Club in Providence, RI in 1906. She joined the GBW in 1915, and exhibited her work at the annual GBW exhibitions until a year or so before her death, which occurred in 1938. So far I have located three of her bindings at Brown University and several in the possession of her great-niece. Any information would be gratefully received.

Philip J. Weimerskirch, Special Collections Librarian, Providence Public Library, 225 Washington St. Providence RI 02903; 401-455-8021; fax: 401 455-8065;

Return to Contents


Announcement: Bindings for Book Club Publications

The Book Club of California and The Hand Bookbinders of California are co-sponsoring an exhibition of fine hand bookbindings made for books published by the Book Club.

The exhibition will be the first of the 21st century at the Book Club and will take place in January-February 2001. The dates will coincide with the 34th California Antiquarian Book Fair scheduled for February 2001 in San Francisco.

Bindings may be submitted by members of The Hand Bookbinders of California or by any collector. Collector's bindings may have been done by any fine bookbinder, as long as they have been done on Book Club of California publications. For a list of books in sheets published by the Book Club, telephone Ann Whipple at the Book Club: p: 415-781-7532; f: 415-781-7537. Check the Book Club website for descriptions of their publications:

The schedule of the exhibition is as follows: on or before June 15, 1999, Firm orders for Exploring Japanese Books and Scrolls by Colin Franklin, in folded sheets. On or before January 2000, Intent-to-enter forms to be received at the Book Club, .

For further information and Intent-to-Enter form, contact: Joanne Sonnichsen, 894 Ringwood Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025; Announcement: Bindings for Book Club Publications

The Book Club of California and The Hand Bookbinders of California are co-sponsoring an exhibition of fine hand bookbindings made for books published by the Book Club.

The exhibition will be the first of the 21st century at the Book Club and will take place in January-February 2001. The dates will coincide with the 34th California Antiquarian Book Fair scheduled for February 2001 in San Francisco.

Bindings may be submitted by members of The Hand Bookbinders of California or by any collector. Collector's bindings may have been done by any fine bookbinder, as long as they have been done on Book Club of California publications. For a list of books in sheets published by the Book Club, telephone Ann Whipple at the Book Club: p: 415-781-7532; f: 415-781-7537. Check the Book Club website for descriptions of their publications:

The schedule of the exhibition is as follows: on or before June 15, 1999, Firm orders for Exploring Japanese Books and Scrolls by Colin Franklin, in folded sheets. On or before January 2000, Intent-to-enter forms to be received at the Book Club, .

For further information and Intent-to-Enter form, contact: Joanne Sonnichsen, 894 Ringwood Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025;

Book Arts Summer Workshop & Symposium at Dartmouth College

The Book Arts Summer Workshop will be held August 18-21 at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. In its tenth year the Summer workshop is focusing on Roderick Stinehour, one of the 20th-century's leading designers and printers of books. Drawing on the extensive holdings in the Rauner Special Collections Library, Dartmouth curators and visiting lecturers will explore the work of the Stinehour Press, its range and extent, as well as its impact and influence on the development of the book. The Workshop is open, by application, to a limited number of students, librarians, book collectors, bibliographers, literary scholars, artists, and graphic designers.

Faculty this year includes: Greer Allen, Yale School of Art and Rare Book School, University of Virginia; Kevin Auer, Wolfe Editions; Philip N. Cronenwett, Special Collections, Dartmouth; John Kristensen, prop. Firefly Press; Susan C. Lee, Exhibits Designer, Dartmouth; Wynne Patterson, book designer; and David Wolfe, prop. Wolfe Editions. For information and application forms, contact: Book Arts Summer Workshop, 115 Baker Library, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755-3525. Fee of $435 covers instruction, materials, and all scheduled events. $100, refundable up to June 13, must accompany application to secure consideration.

The Friends of the Dartmouth Library are sponsoring a Symposium, The Stinehour Press at Dartmouth College, on August 18, 1999. The lecturers at the Symposium include Martin Antonetti, curator of Rare Books at Smith College; Alvin Eisenman, Professor of Painting & Design, Emeritus, Yale University School of Art; Wendell Garrett, Senior V-P, Sotheby's; David R. Godine, Pres., David R. Godine, Publishers; Sinclair Hitchings, Keeper of Prints, Boston Public Library; Richard Grefe, Exec. Director, AIGA.

New Appointments

Craig Jensen, since the closing of BookLab in Austin, Texas, has accepted a position at Acme Bookbinding as Vice President for Imaging. He will be working for Acme out of his home in Austin, so his business address is 6112 Janey Dr., Austin, TX 78757 (512-451-6370;

David Gracy has been appointed Interim Director of Preservation and Conservation Studies at the University of Texas library school. Karen Motylewski (the PCS Director until recently) has accepted a position as Research Officer, in the Office of the Director at the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington, DC.

Biblio Discontinued

Your Editor was informed, when inquiring about a mix-up in her subscription, that Biblio has discontinued publication and is in the process of informing subscribers. No official information has been received to date at this address.

Return to Contents


Taking a Closer Look at Examples of Cloth Bindings

Bryn Mawr College Round Table Discussion and Lecture, March 16, 1999, Rare Book Room, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library.

The use of cloth for bookbinding was the subject of a round-table discussion entitled 'Taking a Closer Look at Examples of Cloth Bindings'. This took place on March 16th at the Bryn Mawr College Library, Bryn Mawr, PA. Sue Allen, Willman Spawn and other scholars of binding were present.

Todd Pattison presented his research on a binder, Benjamin Bradley, who worked in Boston from 1832 until the 1840's and signed many bindings. He presented the methods with which the cloth was treated and the manner in which corners were turned. The working practices of certain shops were compared.

Jennifer Woods Rosner and Andrea Krupp of The Library Company of Philadelphia discussed a database of nineteenth century cloth case bindings that they are creating and hope to make available on the Internet to the public. The database, which currently has over 2000 entries, gathers details about the bindings' structure and appearance which allows patterns of regional variation and the evolution of craft practices to emerge. From the morning's talk we recognized the importance of methodology &endash; what we can learn from small details.

After the morning's discussion we looked at the current show in the rare book room, 'It's the Ticket: Nineteenth - Century Bookbindings in the British Isles and the United States.' This new collection contains two hundred nineteen signed or ticketed British bindings. Comparable American examples supplement the exhibition.

Among the highlights of the show are some lovely pasted and scored designs in the fore-edge of some books.

A seemingly modern binding by J. Carss of Glasgow, done in 1824, is a presentation copy of William J. Hooker's Exotic Flora. A beautiful 1827 binding of the New Testament, bound by Remnant and Edmonds of London, exhibits an extremely subtle detail of Westminster Abbey through Gothic windows. Lastly, there are some fine examples of American striped cloth bindings.

Following a delicious lunch, Sue Allen gave her talk entitled 'This Most Miserable Muslin: Early Struggles to Make Book Cloth Inviting.' In searching early nineteenth century book reviews for reference to covers, she found that book cloth was not well regarded. In fact, Edgar Allen Poe, who earned money doing book reviews, wrote in the Southern Literary Messenger, 'Flimsy muslin is fit only for novels and other ephemeral books.'

Ms. Allen noted that in 1831 the earliest cloth bindings are evident, and printed with black ink on plain calendered cloth. This method was found to be unsuitable, as the type would appear gray. From 1831 &emdash; 37 we see more printing on cloth &endash; this time to imitate treed calf. In 1820 John Holt Ibbetson, an Englishman, published 'Specimens in Eccentric Circular Turning' - a book of machine patterns meant to prevent forgery. These patterns also show up on book cloth of the time.

The next era in cloth binding shows graining patterns and more use of sizing in the cloth. Over one hundred and fifty different grains have so far been identified.

Ribbon embossing was evident from 1835 to 1842. These cloths were produced by ribbon embossers, and hence their name. This method shows a whole range of colors with rich floral and geometric designs made using pairs of heated rollers. Damask style ribbon embossed cloth was made using one roller.

During the period of 1845 to the 1850's, the emphasis shifts to single images and borders stamped in gold.

The color of the book cloth was also noteworthy &endash; red being the most popular for gift books. Red books were described as rich and handsome, and green as neat.

Striped bookcloth came next, followed closely by shaded stripes &endash; printed from wooden troughs. Foliage patterns followed - still finished with starch and graining. From 1852 &emdash; 53 there existed a very rare marbled cloth. In 1856 William Perkin, an eighteen year old working at the Royal College of Chemistry, discovered Aniline dyes, resulting in rare and vivid colors appearing in book cloths.

Throughout the history of cloth bindings, most of the bookcloth was made in England and imported into the United States.

Thanks to Sue Allen, we were introduced to a fascinating variety of styles and patterns of bookcloth.

Sue Allen received the annual award of the American Printing History Association this year for her contributions to printing history. She is the foremost authority on 19th c. American book covers. She has researched, written about and lectured on the subject extensively. Her course on 'Publisher's Bindings: 1830&emdash;1910' is one of the most popular courses taught each year at the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.

Alice Austin,
Philadelphia, PA

1999 Standards of Excellence Seminar: The Magic of Books

Presentations & Presenters

Maureen Duke: Action on the Case in consimile casu
The Case, or Case Binding, in which the cover is made separately from the book block construction, is often a despised area of bookbinding. Yet, to make a case which fits well and works correctly demands skill. This demonstration, combined with commentary and explanations (taking questions at all levels during the action), aims to encourage binders to vary their methods and improve their styles for given use and materials.

Maureen Duke has been a self-employed bookbinder and restorer and a teacher of bookbinding since 1949. She is an Associate Member of Designer Bookbinders, a Fellow of the Society of Bookbinders, and a former Member of the Executive Committee of the Institute for Paper Conservation. She has lectured and given workshops and demonstrations in Australia, Venezuela, Belgium and Romania, as well as throughout the UK. She is currently a tutor at Guildford College and Urchfont Manor and will be demonstrating case binding at the Society of Bookbinders Jubilee Conference this summer in Shropshire.

Jesse Munn, Terry Boone and Mary Wootton:Know Your Endpapers
In repairing and rebinding books, a bookbinder or conservator aims to increase a book's longevity in a manner that is sympathetic with the original materials. The relationship of new materials with the old is vital to the success or failure of a rebinding project. The selection of an appropriate new paper to serve as endpapers is one critical element of a successful rebinding. It is essential to select a paper that has working properties that complement the older text paper and that is also visually and tactually sympathetic to it. To make this selection requires careful observation of the characteristics of papers.

Jesse Munn, Terry Boone and Mary Wootton, all senior rare book conservators at the Library of Congress, will conduct a presentation and a series of exercises designed to increase awareness of characteristics of handmade papers. This presentation is an outgrowth of their work with hand papermakers to develop papers for use with a wide range of books. An assortment of currently available handmade papers will be on hand for examination.

Daniel Kelm : Wire-Edge Binding: An Integration of material, mythology and structure
Traditional book structures often fall short when applied to non-traditional book materials such as metal, or when exotic movement is desired for an artist book, or even in a more traditional book that must open flat for exhibition. The research that I began in 1986 for a bookbinding structure suitable for these uses resulted in the style now known as wire-edge binding. The name derives from the fact that each simple binding unit (signature or single page) has wire attached to all edges that are to be joined to another simple unit. The connection between adjacent units is made at the areas of exposed wire, using thread or metal to bridge the space. Codex and accordion configurations are beautifully articulated in this style, as are complex folding and movable sculpture. This presentation will explore both theoretical and practical concerns for integrating movement with materials in constructing a wire-edge binding.

Daniel Kelm, proprietor of The Wide Awake Garage and founder, in 1991, of the Garage Annex School of book arts, majored in Chemistry, Philosophy and Education at the University of Minnesota. He taught Chemistry in the same institution for five years before shifting his focus to arts and crafts and working in the library bindery on campus. Over the next few years he worked at a number of binderies: Tantalus Bookbindery in Cambridge, MA, Harcourt in Boston, Thistle Bindery in Easthampton, among others. He has taught and lectured extensively and his work has been shown in many exhibitions and is included in numerous important collections. He currently designs and produces artist's books and interpretive fine bindings that combine traditional and new materials in innovative book and box structures.

Scott Kellar: Rounded Leather Spine Drop-Spine Book Boxes
This demonstration will give participants step-by-step instructions on how to make drop-spine boxes that look like leather-bound books on the shelf. Techniques explored will include the fabrication and covering of box trays, the preparation of a rounded spine form, the preparation and attachment of leather, and methods of finishing the appearance. Examples of the finished box will be available for examination and discussion.

Scott Kellar has had extensive experience in all aspects of book binding and book conservation. He received his first training in bookbinding in the Monastery Hill Bindery in Chicago (1974-76), followed by four years in the Conservation Bindery of the Newberry Library, then five years practicing privately at his studio, Scriptorium Bookbinding. He then became Collections Conservator at Northwestern University Library where he remained eight years developing and establishing their conservation lab. In 1994 he again established his own studio in Chicago where he currently practices. He is a member of GBW, Chicago Hand Bookbinders and the Chicago Area Conservation Group.


Thursday, October 28 &endash; 9:00 am to 4:30 pm (choose one):

Tour #1: South Side Bus Tour Fee: $20 Limited to 47 persons.
This tour begins at the Field Museum, visiting the Anthropology Department to see its world famous Tapa collection and its many book related holdings, a visit to the Economic Botany collection to view the collection of papermaking plants, and the Library to see its vast holding of unusual books. At The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago we will visit the Conservation lab and see a selection of their collection of cuneiform tablets and other early 'book forms' along with some of the papyri collection and a selection of their well-documented holdings of Islamic books. Lastly, we will visit the Special Collections Department of the U of C's Regenstein Library. Hyde Park, the area around the University has several antiquarian book stores which can be visited. A box lunch will be provided.

Tour #2: The Loop & Near-North Tour Fee: $12 Limited to 47 persons.
This tour starts at the Joan Flasch Artist's Book Collection at the Flaxman Library of the School of the Art Institute, then proceeds to a tour of Print Conservation, the book conservation department and the Burnham Library, all at the Art Institute. This is followed by a visit to the show, 'Magic Paper, Magic Book', at the Harold Washington Chicago Public Library. A box lunch will be provided while viewing the traveling show, '1st National Juried Collegiate Handmade Paper Art show' (sponsored by Cranes) at Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, and then a visit to the Newberry Library and an optional side trip to Aiko Art Materials. This will be principally a walking and public transportation tour, as nearly all the venues are in a four block radius of the Congress Hotel.

N.B. The opening cocktail reception on Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 pm will be held in The Chicago Cultural Center, one of Chicago's most spectacular buildings &endash; with its Tiffany mosaics and domes. It is a very pleasant walk along the park up Michigan Avenue from the Congress Hotel.

Sunday, October 31 &endash; 9:30 am Optional tours (choose one):

Tour #1: Walking Architectural tour of the Chicago Loop led by a member of the Chicago Architectural Foundation. Fee: $10

Tour #2: Architectural Tour by boat of the Loop area Fee: $18

Tour #3: A visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio in Oak Park, traveling by subway train Fee: $14.

 Hotel and Transportation Information

Conference Hotel: The Congress Plaza Hotel

520 S. Michigan Ave. (at the corner of Michigan and Congress) Chicago, Il 60605. p: 312-427-3800

Further hotel and transportation information and directions to the hotel on arrival was sent along with the letter of acceptance. Please do not buy airline tickets until you have received your letter of acceptance.

Return to Contents


Iris Nevins

There is a magnificent new book out on papermaking, including marbling. The book is Gift of the Conquerors &emdash; Handpapermaking in India. It is the result of many years' work by Alexandra Soteriou, owner of the company World Paper, and a dedicated papermaker herself. This book traces the nearly thousand year history of papermaking in India from the ancient sites in Gilgit and the Himalayas, through heartland Mathura, Agra and Daulatabad to the western sites in Rajasthan and Gujarat, to Pondicherry on the Bay of Bengal.

Of special interest to marblers is a section on stenciled marbled paintings. Coating papers with size, and polishing are also covered; though not specifically marbled papers, these techniques could be applied. Other interesting papers are "bird paper" and "transparent deer and snake paper". A wealth of information, and a beautifully done book.

The book has and introduction by Dr. Annemarie Schimmel and contains over 200 color photos, bound in a protective clam-shell case. $125.00 plus shipping. It is available through Alexandra Soteriou/ World Paper &emdash; 76 Ethel Ave., Hawthorne, NJ 07506. 973-238-1750;

Return to Contents


For Sale

Edward and Sandra Stansell (Craft Bookbinding Co, 2525 Ebright Rd, Wilmington, DE 19810-1125) announce that they are now distributors for Twinrocker Papers. Tel: 1-800-869-1534; Fax; 302-475-9801.

Archival Products Catalogue
A new catalogue recently received (probably by the entire membership) is from Metal Edge, Inc. Archival Storage Materials, 6340 Bandini Blvd., Commerce, CA 90040 (In the L.A. area). Although they carry mainly storage items for books, documents, museum pieces, slides, prints, audio/video, etc., they also carry supplies and tools for book and document repair and collections maintenance. Call 1-800-862-2228; fax: 1-888-822-6937. On-line at

For Sale
Stock of Barcham Green handmade papers (Edinburgh, Chatham, Bodleian, Dover and Dover Castle) $8.00 per sheet. Wooden six-drawer type cabinet, $80.00

English brass type, Kwikprint Service type, set of brass hand letters and decorative wheels. Call Beverly Thompson at: 804-293-4461

Return to Contents


Courtney, Cathy. Speaking of Book Art: Interviews with British and American Book Artists. Anderson-Lovelace Publishers, 13040 Alta Tiera Road, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022. 1999. 235 pp. $29.95. ISBN 0962637254.
Reviewed by Annie Tremmel Wilcox.

One of the best parts of attending any gathering of book artists is getting to talk to them about their influences, teachers, materials, and techniques. Cathy Courtney's book, Speaking of Book Art: Interviews with British and American Book Artists, records her conversations with fifteen book artists: Ron King, Ian Tyson, Joan Lyons, Betsy Davids, Sas Colby, Telfer Stokes, Kathy Walkup, Susan King, Helen Douglas, Johanna Drucker, Paul Coldwell, Susan Johanknecht, Alisa Golden, Julie Chen, and Karen Bleitz.

The interviews were conducted by Courtney as part of a project, "The Art of the Book 1960 to the Present," funded by The London Institute and based at Camberwell College of Arts. Part of the research of this project were oral history recordings with book artists who had a long-term involvement in book arts. These interviews form this volume, intended as a research tool for future generations studying this period.

In her introduction, Courtney states that the history of book art in Britain is "intimately interwoven with developments in America" (p. 3), and that these interviews demonstrate the role of books as ambassadors between the two nations and the importance of dialogue between artists on both sides of the Atlantic. She details how she chose the artists and their connections to the project.

Each interview begins with a photograph of the artist and a statement of where and when the interview was conducted. Black and white photographs of the artists' works accompany each interview. Unfortunately, the photos in my copy are blurry at times, and don't always show what I wanted to see. For example, Courtney relates her discussion of the pop-ups of Ron King's book Bluebeard's Castle. By the time he finishes describing his egg-crate system of construction and his portcullis structure, I would have loved to see a photograph of a page spread from this book. There is also a section of color photographs of some of the artists' books. I would have like to have seen one book from each of the artists included here. Some have two photos, others have none.

Courtney spends time asking a broad variety of questions of these artists. She starts with boilerplate questions about their childhood experience of books and moves on to education and training. It is fascinating to trace which artists were connected to Mills College or the Women's Building in California, who was inspired by the work of Ed Ruscha or attended Camberwell. However, asking questions such as "What was on the walls of your childhood house?" is distracting when the answer shows no influence on the artist's later work. I am more interested to hear the answers to questions about what was the first book each artist made.

Although these artists are connected because they produce "artists books," I didn't really get a strong sense of the connections between British and American book art since 1960 that Courtney aims for in her introduction. I also would have liked a brief paragraph about each artist describing where they live, what they are doing now, and if they teach. Some of the artists such as Karen Bleitz are so new to book arts that it's difficult to place her in context with other, more established artists as Susan King and Kathy Walkup. It seems that Bleitz is included because she, like a number of the other artists, has been associated with Mills College.

I think it's important to have conversations with other book artists about their influences, teachers, materials, and techniques. Courtney has produced a valuable record here of her interviews that explore these aspects of these book artists' lives. However, I think that the British-American connections are not fully explored, and that the parameters that she draws about whom to include leaves out a number of important American and British book artists.

Lotta Rahme. Leather: Preparation and Tanning by Traditional Methods. The Caber Press, 7549 North Fenwick: Portland, OR 97217, copyright 1995 [1999]. 112 pp. $24.95. ISBN 1-887719-00-8. Wrappers: $19.95.
Reviewed by Lawrence Yerkes, Iowa City.

Leather: Preparation and Tanning by Traditional Methods, as the subtitle indicates, is a handbook for people interested in making leather the way it has been made throughout most of human history. To come up with her recipes and directions, Lotta Rahme has consulted written records and living practitioners, the latter mostly from far northern latitudes: Sami (Lapp), Inuit, and Dogrib Indian. More importantly, the author has tested the recipes in her "little tannery" and can comment on her experiences with the recipes and modifications she has made. For instance, the traditional Inuit way to tan fishskin involves "urine from a young boy baby before weaning" or, for thicker skins, "urine from an older boy before his voice changes." Ms. Rahme, however, "used woman's urine," to apparent good effect (p. 93).

This book has many illustrations, though they are not always clear or self-explanatory &endash; a problem even the best handbooks often have. What you'd like to have is someone with experience explain &endash; or better yet, demonstrate &endash; how the tool is used or when the skin has soaked long enough. Perhaps because she starts from traditional recipes, the text that accompanies some illustrations is not very illustrative: "the amount of flour that can be held in a pair of cupped hands" (figure 85). The author does provide a very helpful study plan at the end of the book with a list of readings and films that are incorporated into a 13-step curriculum. Book conservators and others who may not wish to tan leather but do wish to become better acquainted with their materials can read the book as an informative introduction to the history and chemistry of leather.

The book &endash; and consequently the reader &endash; would have benefited from somewhat better editing (in the study plan, the title of this book is given as Leather: Tanning and Preparation ...). The hard cover edition reviewed would have benefited even more from a better binding: the textblock detached itself from the back tipped-on endsheet almost as soon as I opened it. Subsequently, the book opened beautifully &endash; something it couldn't have done if the cover had held firm.

One dispute that book conservators would have with the book is that the author includes alum-tanned skins and parchment as types of leather. When Rahme refers to "documents written on leather" in the section on parchment (p. 103), I wondered whether she was referring to parchment or to what I think of as leather.

Return to Contents



Ticketed Bookbindings from Nineteenth-Century Britain by Willman Spawn and Thomas E. Kinsella, 1999, Oak Knoll Press. Available from the Friends of the Bryn Mawr College Library, 101 North Merion Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899. $65 cloth bound or $45 paper bound.

On Book Design by Richard Hendel. 1998. New Haven. 224 pp., 110 illus., 7 º x 11î. ISBN 0-300-07570-7. $30. Published by Yale University Press, (P.O. Box 209040, New Haven, CT 06520-9040.; 1-800-987-7323; fax: 1-800-777-9253). Richard Hendel, associate director and design and production manager at the University of North Carolina Press Chapel Hill, and eight other talented book designers discuss their approaches and working methods

Wind in the Sails by Howard Hornstein. Pequeño Press, Bisbee, AZ. A miniature designed and produced by Pat Baldwin. Pages 1 I x 1 3/16 inside a hand carved wooden sea chest. 64 pp. Edition of 50. $80 + $2 p&h. Pequeño Press, PO Box 1711, Bisbee, AZ 85603; 520-432-5924; fax: 520-432-3-65;

The Ultimate Marbling Handbook: A Guide to Basic and Advanced Techniques for Marbling Paper and Fabric by Diane Maurer-Mathison. May 1999. 144 pp., 8H x 10H, 200 color illus., flexi-back cover. To order, send $24.95 + $4 s&h ($1.50 for each additional copy) to: Diane Maurer-Mathison, PO Box 78, Spring Mills, PA 16875 (6% tax for PA residents). 814-422-8651; fax: 814-422-7858; dkmaurer1@aol. com

A Degree of Mastery: A Journey through Book Arts Apprenticeship by Annie Tremmel Wilcox, June 1999, Minneapolis. An intensely personal account of the author's study of bookbinding and conservation as the first apprentice with William Anthony at The University of Iowa's Center for the Book.

"Annie Tremmel Wilcox interweaves the careful description of her craft with the formation of her special working relationship with her mentor. When his unexpected death left her struggling to continue without predictable and reliable guidance, she eventually arrived at the decision to become her own master."

First printing: 5000; ISBN 0-89823-188-4; 222pp., Hardcover, $27.95. New Rivers Press, Minneapolis, MN. Rights: Patricia Moosbrugger 212-569-3618; fax: 212-569-3633; (A Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection.)

[Ed note: Annie Tremmel Wilcox lives in North Liberty, Iowa, where she works privately as a rare book and paper conservator. She teaches book arts and, also, writing by correspondence through the University of Iowa. She is co-chairman of the GBW Midwest Chapter.]

La Mémoire Lithographique: 200 ans d'images, by Jorge de Sousa ((Lithographic Memoir: 200 years of images). Paris, 1999. Published by Art et Métiers du Livre/Éditions Technorama, (55 bis rue de Lyon, 75012 Paris, France; Tel: 01 43 40 10 88: f: 01 43 40 10 89) In French. 256pp., 250 illus. (135 in color), 22 x 29 cm. Cloth bound . 390 FF + s&h (France: 40FF, CEE: 75 FF, other countries: 125 FF) A history of lithography from its invention somewhere in Germany by Aloïs Senefelder two hundred years ago. Michel Melot, Conservator General of Libraries in France, who has written the preface says that the history of human communications ought to be divided into pre-lithography and post-lithography, so great was the revolution in the world of graphic arts and industries after its invention.

Printing Digital Type on the Hand-operated Flatbed Cylinder Press, by Gerald Lange. 1998 [second printing, with revisions and additions, 1999] The Bieler Press (4216 º Glencoe Ave., Marina del Rey, CA 90292. p: 310-821-8269; f: 310-821-8440; e: isbn 0-931460-33-6, 20 pp., $20. Calif. residents add tax. The first in a series of technical guides published under the Bieler Press Monographs imprint, it provides a wealth of detailed information on printing digital type with proof presses such as the Vandercook, Challenge and Asbern.

The Gift of Conquerors: Hand Papermaking in India, by Alexandra Soteriou. (See description in Marbling News). 218 illus., bound with clam-shell case. $125 + s&h. Available from: Alexandra Soteriou/World Paper, 76 Ethel Avenue, Hawthorne, NJ 07506; tel: 973-238-1750; fax: 973-238-1740; WORLD.PAPER@JUNO.COM .

Books In Sheets

Frances & Nicolas McDowall, The Old Stile Press, (Catchmays Court, Llandogo, near Monmouth np5 4tn, UK. Ph. & fax 01291 689 226) have an extensive list of unbound copies for bookbinders. Among them is The Revelation of St. John the Divine, a collaboration between The Old Stile Press and the artist Nathalie d'Arbeloff, which is available in regular sheets and in concertina form.

Return to Contents


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 42 (451 items). 2 Manor Way, Kidlington, Oxford ox5 2bd, UK. 011-44-01865-378316. <>. Book arts, including 135 bookbinding, marbling items.

Frits Knuf 201 (441 items). P.O.B. 780, 5340 AT Oss, The Netherlands. 011-599-0-412-626072. <>. All areas of book arts and bibliography. Notice enclosed of Knuf's death on February 10th; he sold his shop to Anita van Elferen, who will continue it, in 1996.

Joshua Heller 21 (174 items). P.O. Box 39114, Washington, DC 20016-9114. 202-966-9411. <>. The Book as Art II: modern illustrated books, fine printing, broadsides and contemporary designer bindings. Many b&w illustrations.

Oak Knoll 209 (745 items). 310 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE 19720. 302-328-7232. <>. Books about books, including Moxon's Mechanick Exercises (1677, 1683): $35,000.

Thomas G. Boss List 994 (107 items). 355 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116-3313. 617-421-1880. <>. Illustrated books, some book and decorative arts, including biblio objects, binding replicas and bindings.

Return to Contents


html file compiled by Eric Alstrom on