The GBW Newsletter reviews books, reports, new periodicals, booksellers' and auction catalogs and electronic products that pertain directly and indirectly to the book arts: papermaking, calligraphy, typographic design, printing book illustration, bookbinding, marbled and decorative papers, book conservation, etc. Reviews focus on issues of interest to active artisans and craftspeople. Interested parties are asked to send appropriate publications for review or notices to the book review editor.
Books received which are not strictly within the scope chosen for the Book Review section, but which might nevertheless be of interst to readers of the Newsletter are noted as books received.
Books or publication announcements should be sent to the Book Review Editor: Sidney F. Huttner, The Library of Tulsa Library, 2933 East 6th St., Tulsa, OK 74104-3189; 918.631.3133; fax 918.631.3791; internet: SFH@vax2.utulsa.edu
The Book Review Editor welcomes notice from GBW members of their willingness to review and their areas of interest or knowledge.
Mimi Schleicher and Patty Schleicher. "Experience the Magic of Marbling." Ironwood Productions. P.O. Box 2195, Asheville, NC 28802, 1994. 1-800-383-6238. 60 minute videotape VHS. $29.95.
Reviewed by Elinor Eisemann.
A carefully guarded secret for over 500 years, marbling is fast becoming a popular art form worldwide. This video guides you through a complete workshop for marbling with watercolors on paper. Mimi and Patty Schleicher, a mother/daughter team, have been marbling professionally for over fifteen years.
In the first half of the video you learn to: 1) make or find tools, equipment and supplies; 2) prepare the paper; 3)prepare the marbling bath and paints; 4) create free form or intricate patterns; and finally, 5) transfer the floating image onto paper.
The second half of the video demonstrates creating the four basic patterns and a number of variations. Part 5 covers trouble-shooting, while Part 6 has suggestions for using and honing your skills. With emphasis on the endless combinations of color and pattern, this video opens the door to a world of exciting, creative possibilities for the amateur marbler as well as for the professional artist.
The Schleichers marbling books are of high quality and professionally done--stunning visually and exhaustively informative. So, too, is this tape. The intimate format and unpretentious dialogue tell you all you need to know, without any reservation. A guide with recipes and directions for marbling is included.
Mimi and Patty Schleicher have, with their books and this videotape, done a great service in making marbling "secrets" accessible to all.
Mac McGrew. "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century." New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Books, 414 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE 19720. Second, revised edition, 1993. xx, 376 pp., illustrated. ISBN 0-938768-34-4 $75.00 (hardback); ISBN 0-938768-39-5 $49.50 (paperback).
Reviewed by Elaine Smyth, Rare Book Collections, Louisiana State University.
Mac McGrews "American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century" is a huge compilation, including more than 175 pages of type specimens. It is a bounteous feast of a source work for anyone interested in types and letterforms. Each specimen is served up accompanied by information about the design and production history of the type, frequently including remarks on the types special features and comparisons to similar or related typefaces. Like any master chef, the author has taken care with the presentation. The information is neatly organized in two-page spreads, with specimens on the versos facing descriptive text on the rectos. Marginal notes on the rectos, set in a smaller size, provide additional information about which companies cast thetype in what sizes.
In his preface, McGrew succinctly outlines the changes in technology, business, and taste that led to a rapid proliferation of typefaces in twentieth-century America, thus providing the "raison detre" for this book. Noting that "knowledge of the body of metal type and its production is helpful in understanding the possibilities and limitations" of typefaces, the introduction sets forth a brief outline of the history of typecasting machinery, describes (with a thoroughly labeled diagram) the physical characteristics of a piece of type, and covers topics such as practical design limitations related to kerning and italics, brief histories of typefounding companies and matrix makers mentioned in the text, and foreign sources of type. It concludes with notes on the specimens and how they were gathered, a word about copies, duplicates and similar faces, and comments on size ranges and alignment.
The typographic feast of specimens that follows is punctuated by a series of insets scattered at intervals throughout the book, called "Typographic Tidbits." These palate- clearing "sorbets" include sections on "Nomenclature of Parts of Letters," ligatures, "Whats In a Font," variant characters, decorative initials, "Commas and Quotes," the ampersand, visual reproportioning, the California type case, and "The Most Prolific Type Designers." Information about type designers is supplemented in an eight-page appendix listing type designers (usually with dates and identifying notes) and their types. Another appendix lists persons mentioned in connection with types who are not designers, intelligently referencing them by type rather than page number. Additional appendixes display antique typefaces and popular imports, list common typeface synonyms, and index Lanston Monotype Series Numbers, American Typefounder Series Numbers, and Ludlow Series Numbers.
As noted in the Introduction, the specimens were gathered from many sources, and the quality of reproduction on a few is-- apparently of necessity--poor. In some instances, "when a desired size was not obtainable, a larger size has been shot down" (p. xviii), but unfortunately the percentage is not always known (see for example, Condensed Corbitt).
A somewhat problematic aspect of the book is its complete lack of documentation. The Introduction states, "Facts and data regarding typefaces have been obtained from many sources, but primarily from the literature of the typefounders, ... from "The Inland Printer" and other trade publications, and from my personal experience with types and their sources. Often it has been necessary to decide which seems to be the most authentic of conflicting details, particularly of dates" (p. xviii). Given Mr. McGrews deep involvement and encyclopedic knowledge of the field, one is inclined to accept his decisions as well-informed. However, without knowledge of which sources he consulted, the researcher who encounters conflicting evidence is hampered in evaluating its worth by not knowing the basis for Mr. McGrews decisions. On the other hand, to ask for complete documentation of this astonishing coalescence of personal knowledge and painstaking research is to demand the impossible. Given the richness of what is provided, it seems almost churlishly gluttonous to ask for more, but perhaps some bibliography might usefully have been included.
Spread like a vast typographic buffet, this is a satisfying work whether you are just snacking on a typographic tidbit or sitting down to make a seven-course repast--from Abbott Oldstyle,Andromaque, and Arrighi, through Gothics and Goudys to Mastodon, Neuland, Zapf, and Zephyr. This book is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in type. To its buyers, "Bon appetit!"
Carter, John. "ABC for Book Collectors". Seventh Edition with Corrections, Additions and an Introduction by Nicholas Barker. New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 1995. 224pp. $25.00. ISBN 1-884718-05-1.
Reviewed by Michael Vinson, Rare Americana, Austin, Texas
This new edition is a welcome effort by the Oak Knoll Press to keep a classic introduction to book collecting widely available. As Carter noted in the introduction to the original 1952 edition, this book is not an encyclopedia of bibliography, of printing, of binding, or of book production, though all of these figure in the present volume. It is rather the wittiest and most succinct introduction to the terminology of book collecting which can be found. Nicholas Barker is well qualified to revise this new edition. His own wit and experience are amply illustrated on the pages of "The Book Collector," which he has edited since 1965.
Carters book is a particularly rich resource for bookbinders, book conservators, or book artists. It contains hundreds of definitions which provide the vocabulary for the construction of the book, and enables bookworkers to speak with precision and uniformity on the technical aspects of their trade. This book takes on even more importance since the book trade in the United States is decentralized and encompasses a large geographical area. Thus, a bookworker in Oklahoma and one in California can converse on "pointille" and dentelles on the same book, end up with a dotted pattern where it belongs and the decorative tooling on the inner edges of the binding.
What Carter offers in this book is more than a reference manual to the terminology of book collecting. It is the learned advice of an experienced collector, and a worthy companion for beginning bibliophiles.
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 are recorded.
The Book Block 33 (99 items) and 34 (92 items). 8 Loughlin Avenue, Cos Cob CT 06807. 203-629-2990. <email@example.com>. Books about books and press books as well as Book Oddities (including the Lords Prayer in 100 languages; a jest book printed on a variety of pastel papers; and the manuscript of a book on burnt wood etching).
Bohling Book Company 190 (1059 items). P.O. Box 204, Decatur, MI 49045. 516-423-8786. Varied catalog which includes about 80 items on printing, sections on textiles and trade catalogs.
The Bookpress Occasional List 9 (255 items). P.O. Box KP, Williamsburg VA 23187. 804-229-1260. Varia, including a fourth edition of Hannetts BIBLIOPEGIA, 1901 sample book of binding cloths.
Thomas G. Boss Fine Books April 1995 list (169 items). 355 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02115. 617-421-1880. 5 bookbinding items, a number of bindings (including 4 Club Bindery), press and illustrated books.
Richard Cady 38 (232 items). 1927 North Hudson Avenue, Chicago IL 60614. 312-944-0856. Finely printed and private press books.
Chiswick Book Shop (45 items). P.O. Box 2069, Southbury, CT 06488. 203-264-8515. Printing and typography.
Claude Cox 107 (576 items). College Gateway Bookshop, 3 & 5 Silent Street, Ipswich IP1 1TF, England. 011-44-0473-254776. Printing & the Arts of the Books.
L. Clarice Davis 112-1 (166 items). P.O. Box 56054, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413. 818-787-1322. Britain: Fine and applied art books & exhibition catalogs. Forthcoming part 2 will be devoted to artists in Britain.
D&G Galleries 14 (33 items). Box 8413, Somerville, NJ 08876. 08-874-3162. By and about Barry Moser.
Joshua Heller list 21 (277 items). P.O. Box 39114, Washington, DC 20016-9114. 202-966-9411. Opens with a celebration of Claire Van Vliet and the Janus Press, continues with a diversity of press and book arts books.
Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers 99 (497 items). 46, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3PA. 071-631-4220. Titled IN ORIGINAL CLOTH, all items are London-published and, well, in cloth. Covers and 8 pages with color and black and white photographs of selected bindings.
Priscilla Juvelis Spring Miscellany 95-1 (326 items). 1166 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138. 617-497-7570. Press books, bindings (including a new binding by Jill Tarlau which incorporates needlepoint) and varia.
Marlborough Rare Books Ltd. 161 (426 items). 144-146 New Bond Street, London W1Y 9FD. 0171-493-6993. Architecture, Art & Illustrated Books, including a number of calligraphy items.
Oak Knoll Books 169 (881 items) and 170 (923 items). 414 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE 19720. 302-328-7232. <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Books about books and bibliography, offering Oak Knolls usual range of subjects.
Phillip J. Pirages 33 (525 items). P.O. Box 504, McMinnville, OR 97128. 503-472-0476. "Books Printed after 1800"; includes press books (Ashendene, Cranach, Doves, Plain Wrapper and many others) and bindings. Group of books about books. 16 pages b&w illustrations, cover serves to illustrate a goodly number of items in color.
Quarto Books 17 (287 items). 6623 Elwood NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107. (505) 344-2540. Bibliography, art, and other subjects, booksellers catalogs
Bertram Rota Ltd. 272 (500 items). 31 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9LT. 0171-836-0723. Fine Printing offered by Press (primarily but not exclusively British) from Abbatoir to Worlds End. Selectively indexed for authors, illustrators, etc.
The Veatchs Arts of the Book 26 (181 items). 20 Veronica Court Smithtown NY 11787-1323. 516-265-3357. Mix of press books and book arts subjects.
Peter Koch, Printer: Cowboy Surrealists, Maverick Poets and Pre-Socratic Philosophers, a Joint Exhibition at the San Francisco Public Library and the New York Public Library, 21 January to 28 March 1995.
Reviewed by Jean Stephenson, Fine Press Printer and Bookbinder in Bronxville, New York.
Peter Rutledge Koch, macho man of the West, is astride the map -- one foot in San Francisco and the other in New York City. With his intellectual guns blazing, Peter Koch has come to town at the New York Public Library and printers are paying attention. In this exhibition first rate letterpress skills are placed at the service of ideas. The cowboy poet at the edge of the canyon, reflective and impassioned...shouts or whispers his assessment of life, as it is.
BROKE. FROZE. HARD. These bitter words, set in large wood-type, confront the visitor early on and establish the tone; they are paired with 1920s photo engravings and are tools in his miners kit, outfitted to probe his Montana roots. Peter calls this "Urban Cowboy Surrealism". Broadsides of this period (1991) bear the imprint Hormone Derange Editions.
Born in Missoula, Montana (1943) into a family of educators, Peter Koch took to the road at 18 and traveled to Europe and North Africa before returning to the University of Montana to earn a B.A. in Philosophy. After further European adventures and a stint as a data analyst, he returned to Missoula and founded his Journal, Montana Gothic, a spokespiece for cultural bad boys and other outlaws -- and his official printing establishment, the Black Stone Press. In 1978 Peter began a one-year apprenticeship with the great book designer, Adrian Wilson, at his Press inTuscany Alley, San Francisco; eleven years and hundreds of printed ideas later, he would be appointed Master Printer at this teaching press.
Books, Multiples and Ephemera are displayed in Stokes Hall on the third floor of the Library in prim cases set out like spinet pianos in a row. Lining the walls in severe frames are Broadsides and Typographic Prints. The printing is meticulous but never fussy; the design elegant and masculine. Perhaps his most beautiful creations are the books; his Ur-text, Volume 3 is a masterpiece, hand bound by Daniel Kelm. The covers are photo-etched zinc, lined with oxidized brass doublures. Braided Dacron thread holds each signature to an external brass spine rod covered by aluminum tube segments. Ur-text, Volume 1 harks back to an earlier reference. This book, hand bound by Daniel Flanagan, is sewn onto alum-tawed goatskin thongs and covered in calfskin vellum. Ur-text is a metaphysical experience, a sword play of WORDSWORDSWORDS (continuum) perfectly placed on the page. The pages are defined by the margins --- "the only place where poetry exists", says Peter. And there is Diogenes! These Definitions by Thomas McEvilley are gloriously contained in glazed ceramic boxes (made by Stephen Braun). The text is letterpress printed on lead plates from zinc engravings issued loose in the boxes. It is "performance philosophy" reflective of a tradition among ancient philosophers of challenging public behavior. Also in the Greek mode is Herakleitos, a paste paper-covered book bound in Coptic style by Shelley Hoyt. Here, in very clean layout, are set the Greek text and the English translation, opposite each other, and a complementary prospectus, blind-printed in Greek on the wrappers, with Peters woodcut signature gargoyle printed in red under the black title. Another glory to behold is Point Lobos, a big book produced in 1987, combining 15 original photographs by Wolf von dem Bussche with 15 poems by Robinson Jeffers; the loose pages are housed in a linen covered Solander box, slipcased in hand crafted black walnut. And there is Thom Guns Unsought Intimacies: Poems of 1991, another artists collaborative effort, for which Priscilla Spitler and Gary Frost produced the bindings.
The exhibition opened in New York on January 19th, too late for our February Newsletter coverage...and closed March 28th. To cover these scheduling gaps I recommend the $25.00 catalogue, itself an example of fine printing as well as a guide to the thinking of Peter Koch. Read his own words and Robert Bringhursts introductory essay for a better understanding of this remarkable master printer.
Catalogues are available from: Peter Koch, Printer, 2203 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA 94710, the San Francisco Public Library, or the New York Public Library.
Liures et Reliures de Sün Evrard. An exhibition sponsored by Métiers dArt de Paris at the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris. Catalogue text by Sün Evrard. Photographs by Didier Foubert. May 5 - May 28, 1995.
Review by Denise Lubett
We hopped on the train at Waterloo Station, in the centre of London and three hours later we were at the Gard du Nord, in the centre of Paris. Romilly Saumarez Smith, a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders, and I had decided a few days ago to go and see Sün Evrards exhibition.
Sün and I had met in 1981 at a bookbinding seminar in Belgium. Here was this small, vivacious woman, filled with energy and spontaneity in spite of a heavy plaster protecting a skiing fracture. She was surrounded by colleagues and friends, eager to be at her side and to participate in her zest for life and to try and emulate her vivacious Hungarian élan and charm.
Fourteen years later, with just a few grey hairs, dear Sün has changed remarkably little. With her usual generosity and kindness, she spent all afternoon showing us her exhibition of about fifty bindings -- her most recent work -- mostly borrowed from her collectors.
The show is in the new part of the Historical Library of the City of Paris and is exhibited in an open-plan series of spacious and well-lit rooms, housing large show cases, each having a few books, so that ones first impression is that of extremely generous space. Jean Derens, curator of this exhibition and head of the Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris is devoted to bookbinding. He organized the international exhibition in 1992, an exhibition of the French binder Daniel Knoderer in 1993, and many others. The curator Pierre Soubrier and Sün set up the exhibition and the Spanish binder, Carmencho Arregui, arranged the bindings in the show cases. The free-standing cases allow viewing from all sides and the ingenious arrangement of the books in each case makes it possible to see more of the structure of the bindings than is usually possible. Sün had photographed pages from the books; these were displayed on the walls, near the bindings, with excellent drawings of the binding techniques. Samples of the leathers used in the bindings are also fastened to the wall, giving the viewer an opportunity to feel the textures and thicknesses of the materials used in each binding.
The exhibition is didactic and shows us the various ways that she deals with the physical problems of the books she binds.
Until the age of 18, in high school, Sün had drawn, painted and sculpted, and like many of us, lacked self-confidence; she found it most difficult to "face a blank page", and wished to be "confined" by the book. After school, she studied computer techniques and was about to take up engineering when she met her future husband, an avid bibliophile who wished his future wife to restore his books! I believe that Süns early scientific training was the springboard to her imagination, visualization,inventiveness and pragmatic approach to her work.
The first few cases show us "Simplified Bookbindings" (not at all simple) when the book is rounded but not backed. The boards, which are extremely thin yet strong, are covered separately thus allowing a great variety of different materials. The boards are attached (glued) to the first and last pages of the book. An elegant, light and supple treatment which allows the book to open extremely well and to stay open. Our friend uses many kinds of leathers -- buffalo, pigskin, horse skin, vellum, kangaroo. Her imagination is infinite, each book is a CREATION, unique, suited only for that particular book.
The next cases show us Süns method of binding books from the Far East, an important form of binding, as it is without adhesive, and rare documents are not adulterated. However, this is often difficult as the spine margin is not wide enough to be sewn and have the book stay open. Süns solution is to sew each section on folded thrown-out guards; these are then sewn in the usual western manner. Another way is to stick together all the guards, i.e., to do what Sün calls a non-binding; this is also her solution for books folded as an accordion. Next we see her "traditional" bindings. Here the spines are supple, always respecting the opening of the volume.
Yet another form of binding is the one invented by our friend Carmencho, which Sün has transformed and developed. Sewn onto the cover, the binding comprises two pieces of leather which fit together as the fingers of one hand would be inserted into the fingers of the other hand. Another idea of Süns when binding thin and rare books which require complete protection and preferably no adhesive, is what she calls boite-reliure, or boxed binding. The sections are sewn to the spine of the binding, the supple back cover is fixed to the box which, when opened, becomes a lectern.
Süns designs are the result of many, many hours of deep meditation and contemplation. Her aestheticism is innate; nothing is accidental, nothing is forced or in any way artificial or gratuitous. When she is ready to work on any given book (and this can take weeks) she might then summon up a team of co-workers (be they bookbinders, jewelers, cabinetmakers, parers) and, according to the particular problems of a specific book, she will select the most desirable and appropriate operation for herself and then delegate the various roles to the relevant workers. In this manner, not only does she have more time to create more bindings, but she is able to achieve the finish and perfection that is part of the French tradition. As manyof the authors and artists of the books she binds are her friends, there is a strong symbiotic relationship; this can result in a pure work of art.
Her designs are mainly the result of the study and analysis of materials; she may decide that a book requires a design which is the result of many layers of the same skin, each layer having its own texture and color, or that the juxtaposition of various skins (which are pasted together and under-pared before covering) will create the desired effect. There is no routine, each binding is planned, but within this plan, there is space for changes and transformations.
Süns bindings are not fragile; they invite us to touch them, to read them. She has selected strong and durable leathers and she has followed or even created techniques that are eminently durable.
I very much hope I have been able to evoke Süns sensitivity, her integrity, her analytical mind, her originality, and her remarkable sense of beauty.
In closing this review of her exhibition, I wish to express my deep friendship and admiration of Sün Evrard and I also wish to thank her for the many hours she devoted in going round with us and in explaining to us her work. She has given the world of bookbinding and of books a new dimension, a new vision, a purity and a simplicity. Bravo et merci, Sün.
Please note that a magnificent catalogue (every binding is reproduced in color) is available. Please send--in French francs only--140FF (packing and postage included) to:
Liures et Reliures de Sün Evrard
Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris
27 Rue Mahler
(Editors note: Also being exhibited in cases on the ground floor of the library were bindings done by a number of the nine founding members of AIRneuf, as well as several by Active Members of this new book group. The exhibit continued until May 28.)
Also on view in Paris during the month of May was an exhibition of the exquisite work of Claude Honnelaitre, "Papiers en Liberté" at the Librairie Blaizot, 164 Faubourg St. Honoré, Paris 75008. A color catalogue of Mme. Honnelaitres decorated and torn paper bindings is available from Librairie Blaizot for 200FF, plus shipping).