The Silmarillion – Binding Tolkien

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When I was 11-12 years old an uncle and aunt came to visit. Not knowing what to bring as a gift they went to a bookshop and asked the bookseller to recommend something for a child of said age. “You know… I have just the thing, he’ll love it!” said he – and gave them the Hobbit…
Twenty years later I still feel grateful to that person.

Upon reading the Hobbit something “clicked” in me. What was a vague fondness for a number of things began to acquire form, to move in a certain direction. It acted as a spark for my imagination and creativity.
I honestly don’t know if I’d be the same person if I hadn’t read Tolkien’s books, or if I did so many years later. That’s how great of an impact his work had on me.

So, I was delighted when S.B. asked me to bind a copy of Silmarillion; strangely enough it was the first time anyone had commissioned a Tolkien binding.
dimitris-bookbinding-corner-binding-case-4
S.B. had a very clear idea of how the binding was going to look like: classic, with grey and silver being the prevalent colors. The client also requested a very particular marbled paper which had to be custom made – many thanks to Jemma Lewis who managed to do a spectacular job: the photos don’t do it justice really!

After some time the binding was almost finished, the spine decoration was all that was left. But then disaster stroke…
  I noticed a tiny tear, in the one spot that could spell doom for the entire binding: the inner part of the leather hinge, just next to the headband (there’s a word for that, isn’t there? help me out English colleagues!).


I was not very happy with the particular calf, it felt “dry” from the beginning. It was the only grey leather (per the client’s request) I could source that was suitable for bookbinding though and I was able to get to this point without any real problems. For what is more I was also impressed with how well it set on the spine bands during covering.

Yet here I was looking at the tear and trying to decide what to do with it. It was only on the interior and minute in size, half a rice grain in length. With a good leather patch over it the book could perhaps endure a lifetime of use without any problem or …it could start expanding and tear through the entire hinge ruining the binding…
There were 3 options:

a) Cancel the commission and refund.
b) Proceed with finishing the binding at the client’s responsibility.
c) Or bind a new book using a different leather.

All affected the client in one way or the other so I thought it best not to take a decision without first discussing it with S.B.

I explained the issue in detail. S.B. was willing to wait so we went  for the third option, this time with a new edition.
After a lot of work forwarding was once more complete and was time for tooling.

The client wanted Tolkien’s monogram on the spine so I carved a new handtool for the occasion.

For the spine’s decoration I came up with 8 versions for the client to choose, all within a more classic style.

The client also wanted a leather-bound case to house the book and I proposed that we use a part of the Beleriand Map for its decoration.
This way it would compliment the classic-looking binding while being an nice item on its own. Its spine would also stand out on the shelf and be instantly recognizable among the rest of the books.

Silmarillion comes with a map that is 5 times the book’s page size when unfolded. Keeping it in the book was not an option as it would prevent the binding from closing well and put stress on the back hinge.

However I also didn’t want to just place it on top or under the binding inside the case as that could potentially mark the leather and would simply not look nice. It had to be at a separate compartment, yet readily available.

This is the solution I came up with: a “ drawer” with a silk ribbon that allows for quick and easy removal of the map – pretty neat!

Choosing which part of the map to use for the decoration was tricky: there are many empty areas and others that are full of mountains and forests. I wanted a bit of everything and so I went for Doriath and the northern mountain ranges.

I printed a template and used a pyrographer to trace the design on the leather. I then deepened the impression with a 2nd and occasionally a 3rd pass. After that I used an acrylic pen to color every single detail.

The entire process, from outlining to tooling to coloring, took much more than I expected – J.R.R. sure loves his trees…!

Kaethi K. of the Prancing Pony (Greek Tolkien Society) had kindly helped me in sourcing a suitable edition and had expressed interest in seeing the finished binding. When my work was complete I sent an invitation to her, open to rest of the members as well.

Some defied the summer heat and visited my bindery to see the binding up close. To make things more interesting and illustrate the amount of work that goes into a bound book I did a small presentation of the bookbinding process and many were keen to try their hand at sewing and tooling – with great results!

I must say, I have rarely seen so much excitement for a bound book and bookbinding in general! It was simply great to be able to share this with you people, you rock!

After that, binding and case began a long voyage to Alaska, which I’ll admit was rather exciting to add to the list of destinations for my work – Achievement Unlocked!

A few days ago I received notice that the binding has arrived and the owner is quite happy!
May they keep each other good company for all the years to come.

Namarie.

 

 

 

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A visit to Gennadius Library – ARA Greece

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ARA Greece recently visited Gennadius Library, one of the most important libraries in Greece. It came into existence from a donation by Joannes Gennadius, a collector and bibliophile, who gave his personal collection of 25.000 (!) volumes back in 1922 for its creation. This number has kept growing ever since, reaching today a total of 138.000.

Besides boasting an impressive collection, the beautiful library and surrounding facilities are a garden of peace within the bustling and bereft of trees Athens.

Gennadius was particularly interested, among other things, in the binding aspect of the books he collected. There are many volumes he acquired solely on this basis and he personally created scrapbooks and catalogs listing them. You can imagine how this could be of particular interest to a group of people passionate about bookbinding!

Props to Thaleia Michelaki -the president of our hearts- who sacrificed her publicity for the sake of documenting the visit.
Also, a big thanks to Irini Solomonidi for welcoming us at the library, giving us access to some lovely books and sharing interesting stories about them and the establishment.

Binders of today examining the handwork of our past colleagues.
I wonder if there’ll come a day when a scrutinous eye will focus on our bindings as well: will it look down upon our shortcomings or admire our skills? Who knows…

Here’s a little something for all you sherlockian type of fellows;
Ms Solomonidi informed us that there’s sort of a dispute between the librarians concerning these two identical volumes: it is apparent they were made to resemble each other, yet we also know that they weren’t made by the same person… So, which one is the original and which is the copy?
  Our team had a few ideas, but there was always a counter argument and we weren’t able to reach to a verdict. What do you think?

I saved a binding treat for last: a bookcase made in France over a century ago. It was simply astonishing how snuggly it closed and how well it functioned after so many years – just have a look at the video!

There’s a small secret that allows the gradual and smooth descend of the top: a small hole, so small that it’s hardly observable up close, that allows the air to escape while controlling its outflow. It would be hard to close the case shut without this simple and yet ingenious little detail.

Gennadius library is open to the public and is well worth a visit!

My Second ever Binding – And how I got into this Craft

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Since new content is still in the brewery I thought of sharing with you some old stuff, and by that I mean as old as it gets really…

Allow me to give you some background…
B
ack when I entered uni there used to be frequent and big book fairs in Athens. At two of those I stumbled upon kiosks that featured handbound books and it sparked a discreet but persistent thought: at the time I was making small leather goods -working with leather has been a passion since my early adolescence- and selling them on the streets, while my studies were focused on philology. So, books and leathercrafting – bookbinding seemed like the lovechild of those two!

I decided to have a go at it. After a very crood first attempt my interest was captivated and felt compelled enough to learn more. I went ahead and made another journal, which I took with me to binders, asking to be accepted as a helper and learn the craft in exchange.
You’d be right to say my approach on the matter was somewhat dated and would have possibly worked better a few decades ago!


This is that binding, the second one I ever made.
Though it’s not visible, it is mostly a mix of coptic and longstitch, the name or existence of which I ignored back then. I used a Bic pen as a bonefolder and the boards are made of thin plywood – I even remember sawing the boards on the balcony.


Not to boast, but examining it after 12 years I’m a bit impressed; I was able to get a number of things “right”:
– I managed to make grooved joints.
– It has decent turn-ins and inner joints – it opens without trouble and closes fully.
– The spine throws up when opened.
– All the lines and paralles are pretty much straight.

Overall it functions almost as a binding should – or at least certain types of bindings. It’s kinda strange, because in some aspects it looks better compared to those I made later on when I started learning bookbinding, “looks” beying key word here: for example the boards open just shy of 90 degrees, which is enough for the book to lay flat on a surface… if substantially encouraged by hand pressure!


I must also mention this was made without any knowledge on bookbinding, I simply tried to reverse-engineer what was on display at the bindery shopfronts. I had no idea what I was doing or how all of the elements should come together and function, and I didn’t ask binders for advice or sought online tutorials. This was partly in purpose: I wanted the “sample” to reflect my perception and crafting abilities in regards to something I knew nothing about. And as far as tutorials are concerned, internet in Greece was fress off the dial-up era and since up till that point it was a struggle to do even the simplest of tasks it never even occured to me there could be instructions available online to begin with.

So, what was your first attempt at bookbinding?
Awful or wonderful? Are they linked with a specific life period or turning point?
Come on – don’t be shy!

Clamshell box

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Leather Solander box made to house a 1748 parchment binding. The binding will also be wrapped in acid-free paper (not in the photos) before stored in the case.

To err is human; To fix, divine!

Oh, no…!

Though we bookbinders do our best to deliver sound and beautiful bindings there’s always the possibility of things going wrong: a new material might behave in an unexpected way, an accident might occur or -most likely- we’ll make mistakes…

In this case a few months ago, I miscalculated a couple of things and as a result the cover wouldn’t open properly. I had to remove the endpapers, sand very carefully and paste new ones. I went in expecting I’d probably have to rebind the whole thing. Turned out fine in the end.

One of the things I’ve learned through the years is that knowing how to correct your mistakes has great value. Being able to do so without compromising the structure and function of a binding means you don’t have to start over everytime something goes wrong. It’s as much of a skill as learning to do it right in the first place.

Η Ζωή εν Τάφω

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Μια επίκαιρη παραγγελία ένεκα της Μεγάλης Εβδομάδας που πλησιάζει: Η Ζωή εν Τάφω, του Στρατή Μυριβήλη.
Για όσους δεν γνωρίζουν το βιβλίο η Ζωή εν Τάφω αφηγείται τα χρονικά ενός στρατιώτη στα χαρακώματα του 1ου παγκοσμίου στο Μακεδονικό μέτωπο. Ειπωμένο σε μορφή ημερολογίου που ο στρατιώτης θέλει να στείλει στην αγαπημένη του, το βιβλίο είναι βασισμένο στα προσωπικά βιώματα του συγγραφέα και αποτελεί ένα από τα σημαντικά έργα της νεότερης ελληνικής λογοτεχνίας.

Το γράψιμο του Μυριβήλη είναι άμεσο, σκληρό και συνάμα ευαίσθητο όπου χρειάζεται, διεισδυτικό, αλλά πάνω απ’ όλα βαθιά ανθρώπινο, δοσμένο με ένα χαρακτηριστικό χειρισμό της γλώσσας που δεν έχω συναντήσει σε άλλο συγγραφέα.
Το συστήνω ανεπιφύλακτα στους βιβλιόφιλους που ενδιαφέρονται για την συγκεκριμένη θεματική.
Η βιβλιοδεσία είναι ένα δερματόδετο case-binding, βασισμένο στο κλασσικό εξώφυλο από τον ζωγράφο Σπύρο Βασιλείου. Το συρματόπλεγμα έγινε με την χρήση των γραφίδων βιβλιοδεσίας και foil ενώ η παπαρούνα επιτεύχθηκε με onlays (κομμάτια πολύ λεπτού δέρματος).

Εδώ θα ήθελα να μοιραστώ μια προσωπική γνώμη όσον αφορά την αντιστοιχία αγγλικής και ελληνικής βιβλιοδετικής ορολογίας. Το case binding έχει επικρατήσει να αποκαλείται στην γλώσσα μας “κάλυμμα”. Ωστόσο θεωρώ τον όρο αυτό ακατάλληλο καθώς ενισχύει την λανθασμένη εντύπωση που έχει πολύς κόσμος ότι ο βιβλιοδέτης απλώς ξεριζώνει το υπάρχον κάλυμμα για να το αντικαταστήσει με ένα άλλο, ομορφότερο.
Κάτι τέτοιο δεν έχει βεβαίως καμμία σχέση με την πραγματικότητα αφού το μεγαλύτερο και σημαντικότερο μέρος της εργασίας μας αφορά το ράψιμο του βιβλίου στο χέρι και την δομή του ενιαίου σώματος που προκύπτει από την διαδικασία αυτή. Συνεπώς δεν είναι ορατό στο τελικό αποτέλεσμα – το κάλυμμα είναι μονάχα η “κορυφή του παγόβουνου“!

Για αυτό το λόγο πιστεύω πως θα έπρεπε να αναζητήσουμε έναν καινούριο όρο, που να ανταποκρίνεται καλύτερα στο συγκεκριμένο είδος βιβλιοδεσίας.

DIY finishing presses

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No finishing presses available locally or too expensive to buy? No sweat – I made my own!

Actually, who am I kidding; there was a lot of sweat…

I needed some new finishing presses for my leather binding seminar. I already have two but there are 4 students, plus me, and so it was essential that each one has his/her own press for the seminar to run smoothly.

I couldn’t afford buying new ones as the only local woodworker I could find making these charged 180 euros (about 200$) for each.

To be fair, I consider the price reasonable for a well made piece of essential bookbinding equipment from hardwood, that will be used for decades. However there were three problems: first was that the woodworker’s version didn’t include pegs on the sides. Second is I needed 3, raising the overall cost beyond my budget. And last but not least is the tendency of wooden threads to loose their pitch because of  abrasion as years go by.
Comparison of Old (commercially available) vs DIY/New


In Greece we have a saying that sounds something like this: “Penia technas katergazete”. It means “you get crafty when you’re poor”…

 The saying fits nicely with the case at hand: I didn’t have enough money but I had time instead and knew where to get what I need and how to use it.

To make the presses I had to order the wooden cheeks (cut and beveled) and the threads (grooved and chamfered) from a wood supplier and a machinist. This meant I had to be very precise with my calculations and make sure everything would fit and work well in the end, which is hard to ensure when important pieces of a set are made by different people who don’t understand the function of what they’re making.

 The wood supplier was Germanos and the machinist Patsiamanis Antonios. I would recommend either for your corresponding needs as I’ve used their services time and again and been happy with their work.

I have to also give a big shout-out to Eleni, who kindly helped in several stages. She is now the proud owner of one of the batch!

Given that I went for the steampunk route, as opposed to an all-wood construction, one of the things that drastically decreased cost was being able to make my own flanged nuts.

Brass flanged nuts for this thread size cost about 30 euros – each. These cost me only about 7.

 To make them I created a model of the flange and then sand-casted as many copies as I needed. Next I proceeded to weld them with stock brass nuts. Each was then sanded gradually using finer and finer grit and coated in protective lacquer.Another issue I had to solve was the handles. Although I happen to have a great woodworker as a friend I needed these fast and at almost zero cost, which is improper to ask of a respectable craftsman – friend or not!

So I decided to try an idea Martin has used for a handle of the Marble Machine X: using a cnc Martin cuts plywood discs that together form a handle, much like a wooden stacking ring toy, but much cooler!
I don’t have a cnc, only some cup saws that fit on a handheld drill… And so I cut about 66 discs from thin plywood and press-glued them. Then I used my jewelry polisher to sand them smooth and apply an even coat of lacquer, which added some luster to this otherwise plain execution of the idea. For what is more they have a strange sheen, that seems to subtly change the stripe colors as the handle is rolled in one direction or the other, which is impossible to capture in a photo or video.

By the way if you love crazy projects and music (and also happen to frequent that dark corner of YouTube full of machining videos) consider spending some time to get acquainted with Wintergatan and the Marble Machine X project: definitely worth your time.

The overall process was mostly repetitive: each of the pegs -all 160 of them- had to be hand-cut, sanded in two different grits, pressed in place and lacquered. The press cheeks had to be drilled, sanded, dyed, sanded again, dyed again, then lacquered, then sanded and then finally lacquered again.The result however was sturdy, easy to maintain, decent-looking finishing presses.

The cost was about half that of the woodworker’s. If you count in the labor hours needed I didn’t exactly pay less, since time=money; I was just able to pay the rest with a different currency of equal value.
Plus I learned how to make a finishing press and had some fun in the process, so I guess I even managed to make a profit in the end…!

Σεμινάριο Κατασκευής Χειροποίητου Χαρτιού

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Στο Εργαστήριο παρουσιάζεται η διαδικασία κατασκευής χειροποίητου χαρτιού με
την παραδοσιακή δυτική μέθοδο και περιλαμβάνει:

1. Θεωρητική παρουσίαση, με αναφορά στην Ιστορία του Χαρτιού, τη δομή
και τα χαρακτηριστικά του, τις τεχνικές κατασκευής του, καθώς και τις
εφαρμογές και χρήσεις του.
2. Πρακτικό μέρος – εργαστήριο, όπου οι συμμετέχοντες έρχονται σε επαφή
με τη διαδικασία κατασκευής και δημιουργούν οι ίδιοι τα δικά τους φύλλα.

Συνοπτικά, η δομή της παρουσίασης είναι η εξής:
Θεωρητική παρουσίαση ( ~1 ώρα )
1. Ιστορία του Χαρτιού,
2. Περιγραφή της δομής του Χαρτιού,
3. Πρώτες ύλες και διαδικασία παρασκευής χαρτοπολτού,
4. Τεχνικές Χαρτοποιητικής (Ανατολικές τεχνικές, Δυτική τεχνική),
5. Εφαρμογές και χρήσεις του χειροποίητου χαρτιού.

Πρακτικό μέρος – Εργαστήριο ( ~3 ώρες )
1. Περιγραφή και εξοικείωση με τον απαραίτητο εξοπλισμό (χαρτοποιητικό
καλούπι, υφάσματα κατάκλισης, πρέσα, κ.λπ),
2. Παρασκευή χαρτοπολτού,
3. Κατασκευή φύλλων Α5 (14,8εκ. x 21εκ.) ακολουθώντας τα παρακάτω στάδια:
– Αραίωση χαρτοπολτού
– Εμβάπτιση χαρτοποιητικού καλουπιού στο χαρτοπολτό
– Στράγγιση
– Κατάκλιση
– Χρήση πρέσας
– Στέγνωμα

Οι συμμετέχοντες θα έχουν τη δυνατότητα να γνωρίσουν τεχνικές διακόσμησης
χειροποίητου χαρτιού και να τις εφαρμόσουν κατά τη διαδικασία κατασκευής των
φύλλων.

Με την ολοκλήρωση του Εργαστηρίου, οι συμμετέχοντες θα λάβουν τα χειροποίητα
φύλλα που οι ίδιοι δημιούργησαν καθώς και έντυπο πληροφοριακό υλικό για το
Χαρτί (για περισσότερες πληροφορίες βλ. http://www.xeiropoiito-xarti.gr).

Το Εργαστήριο απευθύνεται σε όσους ενδιαφέρονται για το χαρτί ως υπόστρωμα
αποτύπωσης (για γραφή, ζωγραφική κ.λπ), αλλά κι ως αυτούσια πρώτη ύλη για
καλλιτεχνική δημιουργία.

Ημερομηνία σεμιναρίου: Σάββατο 9/3/19
Περιοχή: Πλησίον Εθνικής Άμυνας
Διάρκεια σεμιναρίου: 4 ώρες
Ώρα έναρξης: 11:00
Κόστος σεμιναρίου: 40 ευρώ (παρέχονται όλα τα υλικα και εργαλεία)

Η κράτηση θέσης γίνεται με την καταβολή 20 ευρώ.
1) Στείλετε mail στο koutsipetsidis@gmail.com ή
2) Καλέστε στο 6936474123 (απογευματινές ώρες)

Σημείωσηη προκαταβολή δεν επιστρέφεται σε περίπτωση ακύρωσης 5 ημέρες πριν ή λιγότερο.

ΛΑΒΕΤΕ ΥΠΟΨΙΝ
– Ο αριθμός θέσεων είναι περιορισμένος: 10 θέσεις. Θα τηρηθεί σειρά προτεραιότητας.
– Σε περίπτωση ελλιπούς συμμετοχής ενδέχεται να υπάρξει ακύρωση του σεμιναρίου. Σε περίπτωση μεγάλου ενδιαφέροντος είναι πιθανόν να σχηματιστούν 2 τμήματα και το μάθημα θα επαναληφθεί. Και στις 2 περιπτώσεις θα υπάρξει σχετική ενημέρωση των ενδιαφερομένων.

– Παρακαλούνται οι ενδιαφερόμενοι για την έγκαιρη προσέλευση τους την ημέρα και ώρα του σεμιναρίου.
– Σε περίπτωση ακύρωσης ή αδυναμίας προσέλευσης παρακαλούνται να ενημερώσουν αρκετές μέρες πριν ή έστω το νωρίτερο δυνατόν.

Θα χαρούμε να σας υποδεχτούμε!

Βιογραφικό σημείωμα εισηγητή

Ο Κώστας Μπουντούρης γεννήθηκε στην Αθήνα το 1976 και είναι απόφοιτος του τμήματος Στατιστικής του Παν/μίου Πειραιώς.
Η αγάπη του για το χαρτί και την Καλλιτεχνική Βιβλιοδεσία τον οδήγησε το 2001 στο Εργαστήριο Βιβλιοδεσίας και Συντήρησης Αρχειακού υλικού της δασκάλας του Ευαγγελίας Μπίζα όπου, αρχικά ως εκπαιδευόμενος και στη συνέχεια ως βοηθός βιβλιοδέτη, διδάχτηκε την τέχνη της Βιβλιοδεσίας κι εργάστηκε ως το 2007.

Την περίοδο 2011-2012 εργάστηκε ως βιβλιοδέτης στο Καλλιτεχνικό Βιβλιοδετείο της Θεοδώρας Αργυροπούλου ενώ από το 2013 έως το 2015 εργάστηκε στην εταιρία Ψηφιακών Εφαρμογών Iconnet ως υπεύθυνος τμήματος Βιβλιοδεσίας-Εξωφύλλου και Δημιουργικού.

Έκτοτε, εργάζεται ως ελεύθερος επαγγελματίας – βιβλιοδέτης ενώ παράλληλα ασχολείται με την κατασκευή χειροποίητου χαρτιού έχοντας μαθητεύσει δίπλα στους Μαρία Μαλακού και Μαρίνο Βλέσσα (www.xeiropoiito-xarti.gr).

Έχει πραγματοποιήσει σεμινάρια Βιβλιοδεσίας και κατασκευής χειροποίητου χαρτιού σε Πολιτιστικά Ιδρύματα κι Εργαστήρια Τέχνης (ΠΙΟΠ, Μικρό Πολυτεχνείο, Το Σπίρτο, Εργαστήριο Ζωγραφικής Ρουμπίνας Σαρελάκου κ.α). Συνεργάζεται με τη ζωγράφο-χαράκτρια Ρουμπίνα Σαρελάκου σε ειδικές εφαρμογές παρουσίασης ζωγραφικών έργων, χαρακτικών και χειροποίητων κοσμημάτων (gallery
Zoumboulaki – 2017). Βιβλιοδετικές εφαρμογές και χειροποίητα χαρτιά κατασκευής
του έχουν εκτεθεί σε διάφορους χώρους και art shops (gallery ALMA, Ιn.key shop κ.α)

Binding Hamlet – A five act play

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ACT I – EXPOSITION

Shakespeare and I have had a difficult (bookbinding) relationship so far. (link σε Ανδρόνικο). I’ll have you know – I’m not the easiest person, but Shakespeare is to blame as well! However fate deemed it unfitting for such a tension to exist and offered me a chance to set things straight.

The book owner began correspondence with me 3 years ago. This has been by far my longest project and though it owed its constantly expanding nature to various factors (my own shortcomings, time it took discussing with the owner to reach a design and then finalise it, waiting for the needed leather to be made -since it was the last batch of Valencia to be produced- and then shipped, relocating the bindery) I must heartfully thank A.M. for his patience and good spirit throughout the entire process.

We try to create bindings that are beautiful and long-lasting. One relies heavily on inspiration, the other on knowledge, and both require a set of very particular skills… Being creative while tackling all sorts of life’s ups and downs is no easy feat and being able to work with people who are kind, understanding, patient and willing to learn new things makes a world of difference to the artisan!

The book was unique, one of those cases it feels a real joy and privilege to have as an object of work. It was printed by the famous Roycroft Press and it shows; the paper and typography were a tactile and visual treat.


It also featured handpainted details, a wonderful watermark (see photo) and an interesting Ex Libris,
indicating Benno Lewinson (a New York City attorney and a trustee of City College) as one of the book’s owners.
 The first page has a handwritten dedication from Lewinson to Rev Dr. K. Kohler, a beloved friend, revealing the book to be a gift for Kohler’s 60th birthday. What’s even more impressive though is that the first page is inscribed by Elbert Hubbard, the founder of the Rooycroft artisan community and Press! Interesting fact: Hubbard died with his wife onboard the RMS Lusitania, which was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915.

Hubbard writes: “Do your work as well as you can – and be kind.”
Wise words for everyone -artisan or not- to live by, hear hear…

So, I bound a book that was held by two important people, who also happen to have their own wikipedia entry! I feel my existence as a bookbinder has improved by a quantum just by the sheer awesomeness of that!

ACT II – RISING ACTION

Hamlet’s design has been the most complex decoration I’ve ever tackled. The owner has a deep affection for the play, and for the particular edition as well, and wanted a binding that would accompany him for a lifetime. I felt I had to take this one step further, in order to do the owner, Shakespeare and the edition justice.
 We discussed extensively for almost a year about his preferences and my ideas/suggestions. After a lot of back and forth this design got the green light.

The whole design is a play -pun intended- of symbolisms on the story of Hamlet, its themes and Shakespeare’s writing in general.
  Letters (and therefore words) symbolize Shakespeare’s writing. The use of genuine gold leaf (22K) for the decoration is a reference to the value of his works which has remained -like gold- untarnished by the passing of time.
  Power, and all that happens because of the desire for it, is one of the main axis of the play. The crown, an ultimate icon of power and an object/state of desire within the play, is comprised by letters. But the crown and the desire to acquire it are accompanied by corruption. The struggle for power brings forth dark deeds and the consequences are often severe and affect many. Gradually the crown looses its shape and fractures, breaks apart to disorderly pieces. The pieces/letters traverse the cover, implying the unfolding of events due to the disruption of harmony caused by the quest for power. As they traverse the spine they form the play’s title.
  They then scatter and spread, surrounding the skull, implying death usually found in the wake of power struggles. One of the letter strands enters the skull and transforms into its sutures to further highlight this but to also hint at how the desire for power becomes part of our thoughts, embedded and irremovable, leading to our very end. At the same time it symbolizes something entirely different on a meta level; though we may die, Shakespeare’s plays are immortal. The themes that unfold through them are an integral part of what humanity is, or rather, what can be found deep within us…

ACT III – CLIMAX


The crown is in many ways the central piece, the source and base for everything else. Three things played an integral role in how it came to be.
 The first is of course the symbolisms words, and most specifically letters, could provide – I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use that in a design concerning Shakespeare.
 The second has to do with the fact I’m neither a graphic artist -nor an artist in general- and have zero drawing skills, which makes it very difficult to plan or create anything. It’s why I often go for the more abstract approach or try to utilize geometry. Even the simple task of how the crown should look (re- outline) was daunting for me.
  The third factor that played a major role was my love for letters as decorative elements, in and of themselves. It’s something I’ve been experimenting with from early on and also the reason why Juan A. Fernandez Argenta is one of my favorite binders.

  With these in mind I set out to create the crown and, consequently, all the rest.

I relied on two historical examples of crowns to create the overall form, one of which is actually from Denmark – the country the play takes place.

The design was supposed to have a controlled randomness when it comes to the arrangement of letters, which was rather hard to achieve.

I followed three guidelines: use all letters of the alphabet, avoid as much as possible to place many of the same letter close to each other, alternate between font sizes.

To make it more interesting I tried to imitate certain details, small ornaments and gemstones, that can be found on the the real crowns.
One of the things I’m very happy about is using parchment to create the skull, since its texture has a striking resemblance with actual bones, both visually and tactile-wise. It was then shaded by Marianna Koutsipetsidi. The result is quite impressive; the skull gives a sense of depth that can hardly be conveyed through the photos. Same unfortunately goes for the tactile part.

 

ACT IV – FALLING ACTION

I never imagined how straining the entire tooling process would be, from start to finish.

The decoration includes some 340 letters. These had to be ink-stamped on paper, then transferred on tracing paper along with various alterations, impressed through the tracing paper without using heat, blind tooled and finally gold tooled which in many cases had to be repeated 2 or 3 times.

 That’s a total of about 2500 actions. By the end I heard a couple of knocks on the door from tendinitis! Still lurking…


Here’s a gif showing the tracing process. Each step consisted of ink-stamping all font sizes of a specific letter of the alphabet.

The number mentioned earlier applies only to the main decoration and does not take into account:
– The process until the current arrangement of the design was reached.
– The small scale tests needed to see how the design looks.
– Switching type on the typeholder.
– Placing and taking out of the fire the typeholder (dozens of times for each letter).
– Applying glaire to each letter impression with a very fine brush prior to gilding.
– And last but not least the blind tooling adorning the margins of the covers.


ACT V – DENOUEMENT

Overall I think this has somewhat remedied my bookbinding relationship with Shakespeare. But it was more than just a work project; it was a crafting journey extending well beyond the confines of the binding’s progression. It became entwined with milestones and rough times: I began working on this binding in my first bindery and its completion was reached in the new one, two years after I moved in. During this time important changes and hardships have occurred so in my mind this project became a bit like a bookmark in the book of life. It was always there, always challenging me, never ending.
And now that part of my life has covered and decorated the book as much as the leather and gold it has on it, and has been shipped to the other side of the world…
How can one not love being a bookbinder?!

And that was all there is to the binding of Hamlet.
Till next time!

Σεμινάριο Δερματόδετης Βιβλιοδεσίας

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Σας προσκαλώ στο σεμινάριο δερματόδετης βιβλιοδεσίας το οποίο θα ξεκινήσει στα μέσα Φεβρουαρίου.

 Το σεμινάριο αυτό εμβαθύνει στην χειροποίητη ραφτή βιβλιοδεσία τύπου case-binding, με βασικό πλέον υλικό το δέρμα.
 Η δερματόδετη βιβλιοδεσία, όπως θα διδαχθεί, παράγει ένα καλαίσθητο βιβλίο με αντοχή στο χρόνο ενώ ταυτόχρονα ανοίγει τις πόρτες για ένα μεγάλο εύρος από μορφές και τεχνικές βιβλιοδεσίας.
 Με το πέρας του σεμιναρίου θα έχετε την δυνατότητα να φτιάχνετε δερματόδετα:
– Βιβλία
– Σημειωματάρια
– Άλμπουμ
– Καθώς και διάφορα άλλα αντικείμενα (κουτιά, θήκες, κλπ).

dimitri's bookbinding corner - leathersΓια όσους έχουν ήδη παρακολουθήσει το σεμινάριο πανόδετης ή έχουν βασικές γνώσεις βιβλιοδεσίας ακολουθούν μερικά από τα σημαντικά καινούρια στάδια και τεχνικές με τις οποίες θα έρθετε σε επαφή:
– Σφύρισμα του βιβλίου
– Χειροποίητα κεφαλάρια (ραφτά στο χέρι)
– Ρεφελάρισμα δέρματος
– Κατασκευή νεύρων στην ψευδοράχη
– Διακόσμηση έγκαυτη/foil με εργαλεία χρυσώματος


—Επιπλέον Πληροφορίες—

Σε ποιούς απευθύνεται το σεμινάριο
Το σεμινάριο είναι ανοιχτό σε όλους.
Λάβετε ωστόσο υπόψιν πως αφορά την διδασκαλία μιας πολύπλοκης μορφής βιβλιοδεσίας με πολλά στάδια και προϋποθέτει εξοικείωση με την χρήση απλών εργαλείων (χάρακας, κοπίδι, ψαλίδι) για μέτρηση και κοπή υλικών
.
 Για την ομαλή παρακολούθηση του είναι επιθυμητές κάποιες βασικές γνώσεις βιβλιοδεσίας (από συμμετοχή σε άλλα σεμιναρία ή προσωπική εξάσκηση).
Εναλλακτικά, σε περίπτωση που το παραπάνω δεν ισχύει, είναι καλό να υπάρχει κάποια εμπειρία από ενασχόληση με χειροτεχνία στο παρελθόν.

Αν ενδιαφέρεστε για το σεμινάριο αλλά δεν είστε σίγουροι αν απευθύνεται σε σας μη διστάσετε να επικοινωνήσετε μαζί μου!

Δήλωση συμμετοχής
Μπορείτε να δηλώσετε συμμετοχή:
α) Με ένα μήνυμα στο koutsipetsidis@gmail.com
β) Καλώντας με στο 6936474123 (απογευματινές ώρες)

Έναρξη Σεμιναρίου
Το σεμινάριο θα ξεκινήσει Σάββατο 16 Φεβρουαρίου.

Μέρες & ώρες Μαθημάτων
Τα μαθήματα θα γίνονται Σάββατα και θα είναι “πρωινά” (12:00-16:00) και απογευματινά (16:00-20:00). Η διάρκεια τους θα είναι 3-4 ώρες, αναλόγως το μάθημα και τον αριθμό των συμμετεχόντων.
Σημείωση: Παρακαλούνται θερμά οι ενδιαφερόμενοι να δηλώσουν συμμετοχή μονάχα αν γνωρίζουν με βεβαιότητα πως θα μπορούν να είναι συνεπείς στις μέρες και ώρες του σεμιναρίου. Θα υπάρξει πολύ περιορισμένη δυνατότητα αναπλήρωσης.

Αριθμός μαθημάτων
To σεμινάριο θα ολοκληρωθεί σε 9-10 μαθήματα.

Κόστος συμμετοχής
 Το κόστος συμμετοχής είναι 300 ευρώ. Σε αυτό συμπεριλαμβάνονται όλα τα υλικά και εργαλεία (καθώς και ποικιλία δερμάτων), τα οποία και θα παρέχονται από το εργαστήριο.
 Θέση κατοχυρώνεται με μια προκαταβολή των 100 ευρώ, η οποία θα δοθεί για την αγορά διαφόρων πραγμάτων απαραίτητων για το σεμινάριο. Τα υπόλοιπα θα καταβληθούν σε δόσεις των 50 ευρώ, ανά 2 μαθήματα. Στο 1ο μάθημα δίνεται η πρώτη.
Σημείωση: η προκαταβολή δεν επιστρέφεται σε περίπτωση ακύρωσης 2 εβδομάδες πριν την έναρξη του σεμιναρίου.

Τμήματα
Τα μαθήματα θα γίνονται σε 2 ολιγομελή τμήματα με 4 συμμετέχοντες στο καθένα.

Θα χαρώ να τα πούμε στο σεμινάριο!