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Re: The Quality/Leather Thread (again)

>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.

While I happen to earn my income from the preservation and conservation of
library materials, I believe I was approaching this issue from the
standpoint of a "professional" craftsman, trained in the field from a
tradition based on a "holistic" (hate this term in this context)approach to
binding based on the soundness of ALL materials and how they interact with
one another to produce a sound AND pleasing binding.

As a conservator I can also tell you that I have seen paper bindings which
put leather bindings to shame in terms of their durability, and these were
not precious artifacts, "treasured" by all their previous owners but rather
books referred to  and used for hundreds of years. Paper is one of the most
durable materials for books, one only has to use the appropriate material.

I've had the (dis)pleasure of working with some really poor leather, for
some of the same reasons you cite, and believe me, I could have made a heck
of an attractive and durable paper or cloth binding.

In the end it all comes down to workmanship and standards. In the end the
choice is the binders. For me, and I think, many others the choice is clear.
As I look around me, I see that many of those values seem to be changing.
Those that clearly understood the craft and materials are retiring, their
skills are not being passed on as they should. The younger generation thinks
they can learn it all in a 3 month "appreticeship" or workshop... Like
education the crafts also seem to be "dumbing" themselves down. I don't
know, you tell me. I realize there are some generalizations here, but even
though I'monly 34, I've heard all these things. I personally find it
frustrating and sad. None of this means we shouldn't experiment with
materials and techniques. We should just understand them and how they work
before / while we do so.

"Cheaping out" also makes very poor business sense, and doesn't educate our
consumers... It confuses them as to what QUALITY is. It is not the world's
great literature bound in "genuine bonded leather," and all that glitters is
not gold. All this is a different though related story. As a former employer
once told me, aim for 120%. If you hit 90% your doing well. I think it's
something worth striving for.


                  >>> I love working in the library. <<<
>>There is something to be said for working in a place bound in leather.<<

Peter D. Verheyen                                        <wk> 315.443.9937
Conservation Librarian                                  <fax> 315.443.9510
Syracuse University Library                <email> pdverhey@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Syracuse University               <www> http://www.dreamscape.com/pdverhey
Syracuse, NY 13244                  <listmgr> Book_Arts-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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