Bookbinding lore and its collectors

Hello again! Sorry for being away for so long! It’s been an incredibly eventful couple months! And it’s going to take several posts to catch up with all the things I’d like to post for your very own pleasure- viewing.  Ooh, that sounds prurient, doesn’t it? Well, I do have some of that (bookbinding- related, of course!!), but for later. For now, I’ll just ease back into blogging by showing some recent projects and some items from the special private gallery of Ken Grabowski.

I’ve been waiting a looong time to share this one…

How to Bind Books for Fun and Profit

Yes, those are coins and dollar bills inside the words ‘Bind Books’. Look closely, ladies and gentlemen, for this is the only time you will see money and bookbinding so close together!

Its companion being…

Absolutely fantastic business!

I may joke about the business of bookbinding lightly, but perhaps this is a good opportunity to mention a new book coming out soon about bookbinders in private practice, called The Thread That Binds by Pamela Leutz and published by Oak Knoll. It comprises 20 interviews with living, breathing bookbinders in private practice. I’m really looking forward to it.

But in the meantime, here’s one more item from the Grabowski Collection for those of you who may enjoy a spin down the pines from time to time:

Bookbinders bowlers


I still need to get back to work for the moment– that is, this kind of work:

Sewing tapes

Yikes! But luckily, I have the help of some of my trusty elves:

Kittens helping!

(Many thanks to Ken G. for his fierce ability to collect bookbinding manuals. I am really hoping that with some gentle pressure, he will publish his results eventually.)

Another book about bookbinders I’ve been reading is The Journal of Dora Damage. Published by Bloomsbury, it’s been really keeping me in stitches lately. I highly recommend it to anyone in the craft of bookbinding, especially sole proprietors. I haven’t finished it, though, so I can’t give a full review yet.

So, finally, here’s a small sampling of some of the things I’ve been doing over the past couple months. Some portfolios, some book repair, some calligraphy, even.

Doolin Portfolio

How nice when a portfolio can be sewn through the fold!

Johnson's Dictionary box label

Leather label for drop spine box for…

Johnson's Dictionary repair

Minor hinge repair for a copy of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1794

One of the place cards I did for a small benefit dinner:


And finally, I’ve also continued to volunteer at the Field Museum Library, where I’ve been working on a book about les grenouilles


There’s a lot more where all this came from, so… stay tuned!


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Filed under Around, About, and Through, My projects

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