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The Quality/Leather Thread (again)
- To: Multiple recipients of list BOOK_ARTS-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: The Quality/Leather Thread (again)
- From: Bonsuela <bonsai@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 3 Jan 1997 14:17:15 -0500
- Message-id: <199701031917.LAA16170@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.EDU>
- Sender: "The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting" <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Thanks to everyone who responded to my query about types of leathers and
the leather-making process; Rick Cavasin and David Lanning, you have given
me some very interesting and informative reading material!
To Peter Verheyen, Dorothy Africa, and others who responded on the issue
of quality-of-materials, thanks for your comments. You've given me (and
maybe others here?) some things to think about.
I notice that all but one of the posted responses came from conservation
professionals... and I'd like to say I do think I am really just coming
at the issue from a different perspective.
I make blank journals (mostly non-adhesive), and I'm not ashamed to say,
even on this list, that the *book itself* is not my primary reason for
making these books. I'm more interested in the function -- I believe in
the value of journal-keeping for the person keeping one, and I also
believe that that value is enhanced by being able to write in a book
that is visually and texturally pleasing. I'm not so concerned that the
journal, once filled, outlive the journal-keeper, and I realize that I
*might* do history the occasional disservice if someone writing in one of
my books some day comes to be of significance and the diary has
crumbled away... But that's a risk I take
knowingly, because I also know that to make blank books out of only the
"finest" most precious materials is largely a waste -- the majority of
people will not risk "ruining" such a dear item by writing in it ("What
if I mess up?" "What if I take it back later and want to strike the page?"
"What if I leave it at Starbucks by accident?").
It's much more important to me that people can use the books for their
intended purpose; it's the immediate value to the *person* that concerns
me, not so much the thing itself.
And yes, I do make some paper-bound books, but if you've carried one of
those around in a backpack, handbag or briefcase for any length of time
you understand why people would rather have leather covers.
A passage from Howard Mansfield's book _In the Memory House_ pretty much
says it for me:
"We are used to a different order of preservation, a preservation closer
to embalming. We preserve buildings, not the habit of being they
sheltered. We save a grist mill building, but not the milling process,
that is lost. The mill becomes a gift shop, and we call it preservation.
We preserve a farm's buildings, but let the husbandry methods fall away.
The Japanese at Ise preserve the great temple by rebuilding it, since AD
685, over and over again, every twenty years. They don't attempt to arrest
time and hold the building against decay. They preserve the process of
temple building, not just the tools in glass cases, but the hands and the
hearts to use them."
I thank you all again, for a great thread!