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Have I mentioned how much I like Art-Deco?
   It’s really hard to define what Art-Deco is: the aesthetic which emerged from it had a very distinct personality, yet its origins and influences were numerous and quite different from one-another. As with most things, the bindings produced during its heyday were astounding pieces of craftsmanship and aesthetic.

  So, it goes without saying I was quite excited when asked to create a sketchbook with an Art-Deco inspired decoration as a gift for an artist.
There were also a number of restrictions/guidelines I had to take into consideration: the client’s budget, the time limit (it was to be a Christmas gift) and of course the sketchbook’s requirements regarding size, type of paper and desired function.

  After discussing with the client I proposed a combination of longstich and a hardback cover. That way the owner would have a sketchbook that can bend in a 360 arc and can lay completely flat when open, much like a regular sketchbook while also being quite durable, and that could be completed within the given deadline.

  The paper used, a 100% cotton paper from Hahnemuhle, is simply amazing. Velvety and strong with great texture. I saw a large map printed on it and I couldn’t believe my eyes.

 Another request was to avoid intense/bright colors. I chose a fine Italian leather of vivid dark red color (wine anyone?) as it works well with gold and underlines the splendour Art-Deco is characterised for.

There are many ways to create onlays – mine is a combination of things I’ve read/photos I’ve seen from other binders and trial&error, as I was never taught the technique.

(Here’s a close up, warts and all…!)

Now, there was the design…
  I am in no way an artist or a designer of any sort and I’m totally useless in drawing. I’m never short of ideas but I usually struggle when having to create a template for the reasons mentioned above. For what is more I consider Art-Deco hallowed ground: I know I cannot compete with the exquisite talents who created the designs for the era’s bindings, yet I had to do the style some justice.
  Taking into consideration the client’s requests I came up with two designs and went for the “safest” choice, the one I felt the most likely to look sound and pleasing. The result is what you see before you today.