March 21st 2013
A couple of weeks ago on a bookbinding course my two students had the dubious joy of learning how to plough the edges of their books. In other words how to trim the edges.
October 12th 2012
Better late than never, here are the images that come from the Summers’s Schools and courses. We started with the Oxford Summer School.
The first three pics are of the drying rack on the second day, the colours were spectaculer this year, thanks to the weather.
The non-adhesive course was full with twelve students who delighted in creating four different binding styles. The Hedi Kyle Blizzard Book, Two forms of Long Stitch binding (see below), Japanese style Stab bindings and some multi sectioned books sewn on tapes which were glued to the boards. I know, it doesn’t sound like non-adhesive but the defining criteria of a N-A binding is that there is no adhesive anywhere in connection with the construction of the book block. Technically these were glued but if they were laced and pinned then they wouldn’t be…
Followed by the Grange Summer School. Sadly the really exciting part never got photographed because we were too busy…namely leather bindings. Five were attempted and went home with the leather attached and drying. Two sad case bindings were repaired (below) and the new board cutter and backing press were put through their paces.
Then in late September and early October the Grange held another Marbling course. Candice from the States, Catherine from Manchester, Ken Burnley, the tutor for the printing weekend coming up in late October, and Jon Ward-Allen knuckled down and managed over 200 marbles between us!
…and in the evening Jon and Ken introduced us all to the Print shop. Their detailed explanations of Monotype and letterpress has wetted the appetite; Oh for some spare time…
June 22/24th 2012 at West Dean
Another happy marbling course held at West Dean College with 9 students, keen, clever and productive. The Summer’s strange weather relented a little to give us warm and dry, which in turn gave us good marbling conditions. 8 beginners became competent marblers by the end while Sue worked continuously on her fabric marbling project. She is a professional artist and quilter and has discovered marbled fabric. Having been on my courses twice before she asked for a larger tray and independence to work on her own…no problem. I’m sorry that I didn’t take more pictures of her work but here are couple.
This last one is Deidre and Claire busy and looking as if they have discovered synchronised marbling!
April 20th 2012
The Grange held it’s second bookbinding course earlier this month. Four very kean bookbinders attended and made their first multi-sectioned book. This time we didn’t use the guillotine as we had more time to do everything by hand. The ploughs and laying presses came into their own at last.
WATCH OUT FOR THE GRANGE OPEN DAY 30TH JUNE
Posted 1st November 2011
SHANDY HALL, ARTIST IN RESIDENCE & TEACHING
Course 1, two days for York College.
Course 2 for twenty students.
3rd Course, two days for Teeside University.
Posted 1st November 2011
THE GRANGE, MARBLING WEEKEND.
After the trauma of the attack on Mig and the lack of water for two days I eventually arrived at The Grange and set up in the Conservatory. Brilliant light during the day and interesting temperature fluctuations as well as difficult humidity levels, 72% each morning down to 50% by lunchtime and then up to as much as 87% by late afternoon. We coped and managed to dry the prints by the next morning.
Posted 3rd October 2011
THE GRANGE, THE MEDLAR PRESS AND BINDERY. Bookbinding course October 2011
The first of many we hope, a very successful weekend that introduced 6 lovely people to the intricacies and potential addictiveness of Bookbinding. As usual a simple single section pamphlet was created on the first morning followed by the binding of their first multi-sectioned case bound book. This took a little longer but we did manage to complete the project by 4.15 on Sunday.
The books, as always, finish up in the press. I know there are only 5 here but the sixth was a different shape and was put in another press at the same time.
The Bindery is a brand new set up in the buildings that were once a chicken shed. This course has highlighted a number of slight changes and additions that need to be made but next time we will get it right.
Outside in the courtyard is a splendid Medlar tree full of fruit that Jon and Rosie have promised to make jelly from, yum yum.
The bindery rooms, as they run round two sides of the courtyard are light and are home to a small power guillotine, a blocking press, a lovely large table for dealing with paper and cloth, an eventual store for materials and a soon to be installed board cutter…and the 1881 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica that I and many of my students put back together over the last five years. The main work benches as can be seen above, give enough elbow room for six students or for the production of a limited edition binding, something Jon invisages for the future.
Rosie, Vickie, Patricia and Jon are here shown testing the grain of the paper soon to be sewn into a single section booklet. This is one of Mike’s pictures.
And so is this…
Rosie , Gillian, Mike and me trying to get the holing exactly in line.
Patricia about to show how to do the section holing in a holing cradle properly.
Looking over the Kitchen garden at the green house. Behind this glass house is the little courtyard with its medlar tree and the bindery.
This is the main house with the conservatory on the right. This is where, in a fortnights time I shall be teaching a paper marbling course, sorry its fully booked but you could ring the Grange to see if there are any cancellations (I doubt it).
OXFORD SUMMER SCHOOL JULY 2011
Home again, home again, giggety-gig…
What a brilliant week it has been. Two days Paper Marbling followed by four days Creative Non-Adhesive Bookbinding. Both courses were full with very lively and clever students.
The marbling started very pale and interesting and gradually developed into really strong colours and clean patterns.
The use of coloured papers, (strips for experimentation) gave good results. These pictures were quickly taken early on the last afternoon before the chaos of the end of a marbling course.
People averaged 35 sheets each over the two days and from my point of view all the right mistakes were made at the right times so that they could go away with a good working background knowledge of marbling and its idiosyncrasies. We didn’t have any thunder storms or violent changes in temperature or humidity so the printing went smoothly and efficiently.
Tuesday evening saw the complete change from a Marbling Studio to a Book Bindery. First thing the next morning, and thanks to Angela, we were ready for a Blizzard book. This little book form was invented by Hedi Kyle in the States. It is made from two pre cut pieces of paper and simply folded with no other cutting except for the stiffening of the spine if so desired.
By lunch we were ready for the basic single section pamphlet. When Adam Watson ceased trading as a bookbinder earlier this century he let me have some printed sheets that were surplus to requirements that made his Christmas 2001 card. The printed sheets required folding and collating, together with a printed cover it made up into a single section booklet. The principles of single section sewing are very simple but are a crucial skill to learn at the beginning of a bookbinding life.
Next came twi forms of Long Stitch Binding. The first has the same sewing regime as a single section sewing, the second a little more complicated. The slitted spine version was created as a machette using Khadi paper for the cover and recycled copy paper for the leaves. the holed spine version ws created using acid free drawing paper and tissue lined leather for the cover, see below…
The last book that we made was a Japanese Kangxi binding. Some of the students carried on with further examples of this stab binding form but most went back to finish and perfect previously started projects.
The room we were in was full…
JULY, PRIOR TO OXFORD SUMMER SCHOOL
This Summer has developed from a hot dusty seemingly barren Spring to a busy productive damp and still dusty late June and July! West Dean was a gentle weekend even though the students thought it rather hard work.
Some very interesting experiments took place such as bubbles, and not small ones or mistakes either.
7th APRIL 2011
A couple of weeks ago Jean came to learn how to make Slip Cases and Drop Back Boxes. After the initial confusion and arithmetic on my part, she measured and cut all the necessary pieces to make a slip case. The following morning we started down the convoluted road to drop back box making…very successfully as the out come shows. This picture shows the shells before being attached to the cover. The slip case hadn’t had the boards covered yet, they eventually had a sienna and blue “zebra” marble applied.
The following weekend Carolyn and Jane came to learn the finer points of Japanese Binding. After making four books, each with a different stitching pattern, they worked at their own projects. Jane on Japanese Ledger bindings and Carolyn on a 4 hole sample book.
As we are western binders in a western bindery we mainly used western papers.
These are some of the styles that were on offer during the weekend…in the top middle are my sample bindings for teaching purposes…top left are other examples of stitching, under the three hole ledger are, in order, Kangxi, Kikko toji, Asa-no-ha toji (twice), and on the bottom of the pile a basic Yotsume toji. At the bottom left are two ledger bindings, Hantori and in the corner, Daifuko cho.
Then last weekend Robin, Linda and David came came to get their elbows wet with some marbling. David had been on a course before in London and wanted to produce some specials for some books he is working on. Linda had been trying for many years to get on a course and finally made it and worked on two projects… one of which involved fabric marbling. Robin is a woodturner and has tried marbling at home using all sorts of different media with occasional brilliant success and frequent disasters.
He brought plenty of sample pieces as you can see, all wood and either treated or stained or sealed or painted or unadulterated. Robin also tried some perspex and had to take them home wet stuck into a block of styrene, so as yet I don’t know how successful they have been??? The green spiral as a ribbon attached.
BRECON DECORATIVE AND FINE ARTS SOCIETY STUDY DAY 1ST MARCH 2011
On St David’s day I drove to Brecon to the Brycheiniog Theatre by the canal wharf to lead a study day on “Looking after Books and their care and repair” for the Brecon NADFAS group. About 50 attended and were able to see the demonstrations easily as a CCTV camera had been set up. The following headings were explored and further explanations were given about the structure of books as techniques used in bookbinding.
RECORD KEEPING,ATMOSPHERE CONDITIONS, HOUSING including shelving,CLEAN AND SAFE HANDLING, BOOK PROTECTION, CLEANING, REPAIRING, INSECT (etc.) MONITORING.
If you are interested in receiving a copy of the notes given at this study day, email me and I will send you a pdf.
The day was rounded off with myself and Julia Jacobus, a local fellow bookbinder, giving advise on books that had been brought in by the members. A lovely selection which included a fore-edge painted book, a stunning early Victorian album full of paintings of butterfilies and moths, a Kindle, quite a few assorted calf covered books ranging from the early 1700s to the late 19th century…and 2 very large severely damaged and wet books, one a Prayer book the other a Holy Bible, both from the mid 17th century. The condition of these books was extraordinary as they had been living most of their lives in a wet (not damp)environment. I have a feeling that as Celia, one of my students, brought them in I might see them again…watch this space. Sadly nowhere near enough time was available to see all the books brought in.
The Brecon group book sub group is run by Julia and is about to start work on a collection of photographs at Brecon Museum.
WEEKEND MARBLING COURSE FEBRUARY 2011
Emma, Anna and Jane spent the weekend up to their… in size, inks, paper and fabric learning and experimenting with the marbling Muse!
Anna’s take on the whole experience was one of colour and movement and being particularly successful with the peacock comb. She reminded us all of the maxim “less is more”, a very valid thought where marbling is concerned.
Emma on the other hand was developing marbles for her own artist book creations. see www.thefragmentedmuseum.co.uk She worked first on paper and then progressed to fabric as she brought some natural course linen to print on.
You can see the fabric prints behind her.
Jane, who has marbled before, wanted to print some special fabrics for her bookbinding work as she is one of my evening class students. This is a picture of a print of some fine transparent cotton but her star piece was on some natural unbleached Aero Linen which we use in bookbinding.
Sadly the studio space didn’t allow the use of my big tray so the pieces they produced are of smaller dimensions.
WEST DEAN COURSES OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS
When confronted with a spacious studio such as the bottom workshop at West Dean you can usually expect some fun. Some times the weather is kind, dry and cool, in which case the prints are very successful with the inks behaving giving good patterns and good colour intensity. On the other hand when the conditions are hot, very dry and very sunny the new cold water humidifiers come into their own and make a workable atmosphere.
Last March was a case in point when we had warm dry conditions that were not normal for Spring which made the colours spread in an aggressive way. Never the less the the inks behaved and gave good results. Specially on the fabric. The quality of the colours were much better and as can be seen the production rate was high for such a short priod of time.
Oh if only I had this much space at home!
How about this for stereo marbling…
In 2007, in the days of owning a big VW van that could take my big 4 feet square tank around, I used to offer large scale marbling on the West Dean Courses.
It takes some effort to throw the colours evenly on this size of bath.
Team work and extra long arms for the feathering.
These large combs are very heavy and need careful handling.
This is paper but still has to be put down by two people, it is a light weight paper that flopped at the corners all the time.
Me showing off, but its easy when you use a heavy paper that doesn’t flop.
Impossible to support the paper when it comes of the bath so garden canes and pegs come in very handy…and two willing helpers.
We managed 7 sheets this particular evening and weren’t we tired at the end.