1480’s once again
I have been meaning to add a couple of pictures of the incunable I did some work on last spring. I was asked to dismantle and clean a nice example of the species, and then resew it; In the end I wasn’t the one who made the new wood and leather covers for it, which makes me a bit glad to be honest. However, I took some pictures of the details. It was nice to get to handle such a well-preserved and clean book, especially because most of the older books I have repaired have been in hideous condition.
The name incunable refers to the first printed books that were made in Europe before the year 1501. Often they had hand-drawn or painted initials and sometimes illustrations. This one has handdrawn details in red ink for the first half of the book. I guess someone got bored after that.
From what I gather, this is a 1480’s sermon book written by the Dominican friar Martin of Troppau. It is printed in Strasbourg (curiously referred to as Argentine in medieval Latin) on rag paper with the common bull’s head + cross watermark. The book is pictured here without its mismatched wooden covers, and with the original cords cut off for resewing.
After returning from the holidays I have been slowly making my way back to books and the making of them. Since I spent a large part of last month abroad doing next to nothing, it’s a bit disorienting to come back. I have in fact spent the past few weeks living in some sort of ignorant domestic bliss, concentrating on everything except bookbinding. I brought some new loose leaf teas from my travels, and have also acquired a couple of new scents to accompany me towards the autumn.
This break from everything was delightful, and in some ways I actually intend to extend it by only doing work I really like for the rest of the year, meanwhile also finishing the projects I have discussed during the summer. The rest of my time will go into other things I love but never really write of, such as painting, knitting, natural dyeing and making assemblages. Making other kinds of objects, if you will. I will be taking time for the things that speak to me the best at the moment and see where it will take me. I believe in time it will bring forth new kinds of ideas and projects, both book-related and other. And if I, somewhere in between, manage to finish some book-shaped items for my shop or for the exhibitions every now and then, that’s great.
Q:is there a tutorial on the book block?
Hello! I have been meaning to make a tutorial on how I sew most of my hardback books, but haven’t got round to it yet. My default style of sewing is a bit idiosyncratic and produces a tough but flexible result without utilising cords or tapes. There are quite good tutorials on other sites, however. Here are some tutorials I found that look useful, the first two of them are videos:
SB Libris on YouTube
Raffaele de Dominicis on YouTube, sewing on cords (in four parts)
Mothteeth: How to make a simple hardcover book
Jamie Butler: The basic binding of books
Dave the Designer: Case binding