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Cigar Mag Article and Bookbinders

went out and got the magazine today. Lifestyles of the rich and infamous is
right, yikes. Anyway, read the article and put in the same catagory as most
other articles about books, such as the one published in Art and Antiques.
It was s amll sidebar for a book fair in San Francisico, showing a Glaister
binding, claiming it was the first modern jeweled binding... Set them
straight, letter published with rebuttle by the dealer who put me back in my

The problem here is two-fold.
A) Re. GBW in the article. I agree with Richard Miller, and others regarding
the "does not necessarily recommend its members." I didn't think it was
worded as negatively as some may have thought. I think it was meant for
people with too much cash and in need of something for the coffee table,
such as a "Nuremberg Chronicle, the worlds 1st coffee-table book." I will
give the firm of Weitz, Weitz, and Coleman (they were featured in the
article) kudos for marketting themselves well. It is something many of us
could learn, not that we want to be like that either.

B) GBW (still) refuses to consider itself a professional organization and
even attempt to tackle the issue of some form of accreditation. The GBW also
needs to market / promote itself much more agressively outside it's own
circle of related crafts, letting the rest of the world know about the wide
range of 1st rate book binders and artists at work today. This is something
which is happening now, but slowly.

Accreditation was once proposed (1988 I believe) by Don and Pam Rash. It
went nowhere. I (like Charles Mohr) served a traditional apprenticeship in
Germany. In that kind of system there are strict regulations as to what is
expected of journeymen binders. While it does not guarantee first rate work,
it sets at least a minimum standard of workmanship, and who gets teaches god
tooling well enough and has the time to practice to get the kind of results
they showed in the article. How does one impose such a system, which would
allow for some form of recommendation when, there is no effective governing
body to the craft/trade, when there are no uniform minimum compentencies
required of formal system of training. MFA/MLS programs certainly aren't the
ones to even think about it, and taking a workshop here and there won't
produce the desired results. Whose standards anyhow (I don't want to get
into the national conflicts)? None of these means that there aren't any
superb self-taught or wretched apprenticeship trained binders out there. It
doesn't in any system. One of the problems I have had with the GBW, and many
others, is that it _was_ historically a group of independently wealthy
doyennes based in New York City  with little representation by actual
practicing binders. It was considered a genteel art that one went to study
over the Summer with Sangorski & Sutcliffe, Cockerell, ..., not that I
wouldn't mind doing that either.

Well, that's my Sunday sermon. Back to my books and that lit review of
"intellectual property issues in preservation."


>Worse: It starts off the sidebar note by mentioning that there are lots of
>part-time and amateur binders in the U.S., try the Guild, which doesn't
>necessarily recommend its members... I have drafted a letter to the editor
>mentioning not only a few of the historical and factual errors in the
>article, but also commenting that the Guild is the home of the most talented
>binders the country.
>It reminded me that I let my own membership lapse last year, and having
>yet made up for the gaff...

Peter D. Verheyen                                 <wk> 315.443.9937
Conservation Librarian                           <fax> 315.443.9510
Syracuse University Library        <email> pdverhey@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Syracuse University             <www> http://web.syr.edu/~pdverhey/
Syracuse, NY 13244           <listmgr> Book_Arts-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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