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Joseph ZaehnsdorfBy Joseph Zaehnsdorf.

Για να διαβάσετε το άρθρο στα ελληνικά (to read in Greek) πηγαίνετε στο τέλος της ανάρτησης.

We are accustomed, even addicted one could say, to being impressed. A great deal of the things surrounding us are designed to be eye-catching. If they aren’t our mind ignores them and doesn’t progress in further observation, probably rightfully so since we are always bombarded by tons of information.

Samuel Ellenport created 1998By Samuel Ellenport.

In order to be eye-catching a visual stimulus usually includes a plethora of colors, geometrical shapes that are easily recognized subconsciously (the human brain constantly searches for standard patterns), depth through different layers and generally a multitude of information on many levels. All these combined create an overwhelming sense that registers the stimulus as interesting and pleasing.

By Devid EsslemontBy David Esslemont.

However, the bindings of this post aspire to please by appealing to the satisfaction granted by simple things; color, shape, texture. A singular vivid green, an intense grain that calls for our touch, simple lines and curves. Things we are drawn to by our very nature.

From Bauman Rare booksImage from Bauman Rare Books.

By focusing on those aspects bindings such as the ones you see here emit a kind of “honesty”, less is often more. Do not be deceived, the decorations of these bindings require exactly the same amount of skill needed for many of the lavishly adorned ones out there. Knowing so, a binder capable of producing an immaculate result may choose to prove it by opting for a minimalistic approach.

Of course there are also other reasons for doing so; the book’s content might call for such an approach, it might be the client’s preference, or it might be to show off the excellent quality of a material (leather, paper etc) or the beauty of a particular technique (calf marbling, special dyeing etc).

Binding by Kate HollandBy Kate Holland.

Although I can’t help but marvel when looking at the sumptuous creations of Sangorski and Sutcliffe (amongst my very favorites) I find something equally alluring in bindings such as the ones presented in this post. Because, while I consider astonishing being able to compose and accomplish a lavish design, I admire perhaps more the ability to arrest one’s feeling by strict simplicity. The skill of removing instead of adding, until only the bear essentials are left.

Of course I’m talking about cases where it was the artisan’s/artist’s intent to achieve simplicity, not when it is the outcome of lack of skill/experience or other restricting factors (unavailability of materials/equipment,  budget constraints, details dictated by the intended receiver etc).

I believe it is always beneficial to devote some effort in appreciating the simplicity of a creation, be it an art or an everyday object. There is a wholeness to be usually found there.

Douglas CockerellΓια το άρθρο στα ελληνικά:
Ωδή στην απλότητα – Dimitri’s bookbinding corner

Binding on the right by Douglas Cockerell.