Thursday, 27 October 2016

 I have really enjoyed working on this book and have found inspiration from the beautiful text and symbolic imagery. Rosanella is based around a fairy princess who is kidnapped and in her place twelve princesses are raised all bearing roses upon their throats. A fickle prince falls in love with each princess but cannot choose between them as they each hold distinctly different qualities. All twelve princesses are kidnapped and in their place, Rosanella appears with all the qualities of the princesses in one.

I used various experimental decorative techniques in this project including craquelle which creates abstract organic patterns to represent thorns and branches. I created roses out of very thinly pared leather pierced through the board forming buds in the endpapers. The endpapers are inspired by the bird that kidnaps Rosanella and leaves in her place 12 roses.

The highlight of this project so far has been working in miniature. I have found it an exciting way to challenge my skills, working in smaller dimensions and design constrains. I look forward to continuing this project with a decorative box inspired by the binding.

Book Description:

Ultra flat back book construction. Unsupported link stitch secondary sewn with full linen board attachment and skirting with ¾ hollow. Hand sewed endbands with Sunago edge decoration. Digitally printed leather jointed endpapers with edge-to-edge doublures.  Hand dyed fair goat with craquelle effect. Pierced board work including twelve handmade leather roses.  Design inspired by the twelve princesses bearing pink roses upon their throats and the representation of this flower as a symbol of romantic love.

Cover of Rosanella

Cover Detail of Roses

Endband and Sunago Edge Decoration


Thursday, 20 October 2016

A very important part of the bookbinding process is drying time. Patience is a virtue; as I wait for glue to dry I will take the time to update my blog with current work and adventures.

Yesterday was the judgment day for the U.K Designer Bookbinders competition. Fingers crossed! The studio was closed so I took the opportunity to see the Wellcome Library and check out the reading room and wonderful exhibits. I found them both informative and inspirational. The reading room was curated with historic and modern materials, objects and paintings all on theme of medicine.

Wellcome Library Reading Room

The work on my miniature book commission is moving along and I have been preparing tests using materials for the cover. The leather will be hand dyed to achieve a colour not available in commercially produced leather, making it one of a kind. I created swatches on un-dyed goat to test colours and different dilutions.
Dye Swatch

After completing my mock up for the miniature rose I created 12 for the cover decoration to reflect the content of the text and represent the 12 princesses. These were done using a magnified set of tweezers and plenty of patience.

Miniature Leather Roses and Magnified Tweezers 
My next step is to begin work on the body leather for the binding and I look forward to sharing my results in the coming days.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

The endband is used to determine the square of a binding (ie: how much larger the covers are than the text block). It is very important when working in miniature to take into account the size of materials as they will effect the overall size of the binding. For this book, I have chosen a thin core and silk thread in colours that complement both my cover design and endpapers. The sewing is done using very fine needles so as not to punch too large a hole in the sections.

Hand Sewn Silk Endbands
Silk Threads

I have begun making a maquette of ideas for my cover design based on preliminary illustrations on paper. It can be very difficult to directly translate a drawing to a cover design without experimentation, as the switch from 2D to 3D often requires some creative problem solving. For instance my design concept envisions 12 three-dimensional leather roses on the cover. My idea was inspired at a fabric store where I found flowers constructed with ribbons. When I began crafting miniature flowers I found I needed to play with the size and thickness of the leather in order to make them look realistic. I also needed to experiment with different means of attaching the flowers to the binding.  The maquette will help test that all this works when it comes to my final binding.

Leather Rose Maquette

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The process of binding a miniature is very similar to a full size book however there are certain factors that need to be taken into account to ensure the book functions as desired. Without an appropriate book structure and proper construction the miniature will not open fully and could be damaged during use. For this project I will be using Mark Cockrams Ultra Flat Back book construction technique, which is ideal for thinner text blocks and opens beautifully.  Specially made equipment will be used such as a miniature book press, smaller needles for sewing and thinner end band core.

The first stage in this binding is coming up with a concept by gathering ideas and inspiration from the text but also the image content, textures and colour. I want to create a design that is attractive but also inspired by deeper themes not initially obvious to the viewer until the text has been read. Before starting the binding maquettes will be made to test materials, techniques and colours to ensure the best results during the binding process. I have found making a mock up helps with solutions to problems without the risk of experimenting directly on the text block. It is this fluid creative work environment that builds on ideas and inspires free form design during the making process.

My first experiment is with the Craquele effect inspired by Trevor Jones and his binding of Genesis in 1980. The binding is documented in Fine Bookbinding in the Twentieth Century by Roy Harley Lewis 1984 (ISBN 9780668060844). This technique is wonderful for creating abstract organic patterns and can be used for inlays, onlays and body leather.

Craquele Before
Craquele After

Trevor Jones Binding of Genesis 
Miniature Bookbinding Equipment

Friday, 7 October 2016

I discovered Marks work at Studio 5 while in college for bookbinding. I was drawn to the conceptual nature of his work and modern design approach to book construction and book arts. He is constantly evolving the way his audience, clients and students interact with his work through a passion for exploration and pushing preexisting boundaries of traditional craft. Mark encourages his students to take risks and execute their designs in a fluid creative environment resulting in technical and artistic growth. This year I have completed three design bindings at Studio 5 all completely different in their techniques and design and material use. I am extremely excited to be the first artist in residence at Studio 5 where I will be completing a miniature book commission for the collection of Neale Albert. This process and explorations will be documented and posted on this blog.

Title: Rosanella
Author: Comte De Caylus. Wood Engravings by Sarah Chamberlain
Printer: The Rebecca Press 1988
Dimensions: 85 x 60 x 5 mm

“Rosanella” is a French fairytale, based around the theme of love, with darker undertones and themes of morality. The author, Anne Claude de Caylus (1692-1765) was a French antiquarian, archeologist, and man of letters. “Rosanella” was first printed in The Green Fairy Book by Andrew Lang in 1892. This edition from The Rebecca Press was hand printed with delicate detailed wood engravings throughout the book.