I write this on a high (albeit very tired!) having finished two bindings within the last two weeks. The first is the book I featured in my last post, “A Thrill of Pleasure”, which is currently on display at St Bride Foundation
in the Designer Bookbinders Covered exhibition, through until the 6th June. The second was a binding of a Gwasg Gregynog publication, “Wrenching Times”, which I delivered to London over the bank holiday weekend as I was back for a wedding. (Details of the Wrenching Times binding will be featured in an upcoming blog post, but in the meantime if you are impatient it can be seen on my website!).

The “Eggs” binding (as I have been referring to it!), was whisked off to London by George a couple of weeks ago, ahead of the opening of the exhibition at the start of this week. I was very sorry to miss the private view of Covered, but planned badly and had booked my return flights to France before realising the date clashed!

So, to start where I left off…

I first completed the sample board, this one is number 37 in my ever-growing collection.

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The book was sewn on five tapes which were laced into the boards. The headbands were sewn with colours to tie in with the book cover and endpapers, before then lining the spine.

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The boards were chamfered and then the size of the book marked onto the covering leather before the onlays and embroidery were built up. After covering with paste, and leaving to dry for 48 hours, the book was ready for tooling! Blind tooling with gouges to build up the outer nest…

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And then tiny squares of gold leaf cut with a gold knife on my gold cushion…

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…for tooling little dots to embellish the eggs.

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I also tooled a label for the box, using carbon paper and hand tools, which was backed onto a spare piece of the lino-printed endpapers.

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Next I infilled the inside of the boards with watercolour paper, and then a lining paper, sanding them flat between each layer. Finally I could put the lino-printed endpapers down to complete the binding.

It is always satisfying to complete a binding, and to get to the photography stage when everything is finished. I set up my “studio” by a large window to benefit from the natural light. I use a table and a large roll of white book cloth that works really well as the backdrop and then snap away…!

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With a bit of help from Photoshop to crop the files, I am very pleased with the outcome. Nine photos made the cut onto my website to try and show as much detail as possible of the binding, including:

The whole cover…

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The endpapers…

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The book and the box…

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Detail of the top edge showing the stub binding technique used. This was necessary due to the fact the book block comprised of only two very thick sections.

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Plus finally, and most importantly, the page containing the William Wordsworth poem which inspired the book design, “The Wild Duck’s Nest”.

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For a few more photos, plus information about the publication and the binding techniques, visit my website.

Until next time!

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