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Re: starting off

Barbara Harman has it right; there are many ways to acquire a high level of
manual dexterity, and once acquired, there are many ways to make use of
that skill.

However, just because a person is capable of turning out a fine binding in
a matter of days/weeks/months that is not in the same class as a person who
can neatly forward/finish 100-200 volumes in a day or two.

If a person is much over the age of 16 (12-14 yrs. of age is very good)
before learning repetitive hand motions they are unlikely to advance beyond
a certain speed.  This is not my opinion; it is the observation of persons
responsible for training apprentices, repeated over and over down the

John Harvey's book, _Mediaeval Craftsmen_ (1975; Drake Publishers, Inc.) is
an interesting book to read in this regard (along with many other

If they have learned by that age (those ages) they have skills which are
applicable to many trades.

I have not read any biography of Andres Segovia, but I strongly doubt that
he awoke one morning in his 40's, stretched his fingers out and decided,
without any previous manipulative experience, to become a classical

Cobden-Sanderson made quite a name for himself as a bookbinder, but, in
fact, he designed more books bound by others than he, himself, bound.
Nothing against that, but I would not use him as an exemplar in this


>Date:    Tue, 27 May 1997 19:27:49 -0400
>From:    Barbara Harman <ArtSurvive@xxxxxxx>
>Subject: Re: starting off


>I am delighted by all of the people who responded to the post that anyone
>attempting to learn fine binding after some unidentifiable (but young) age
>would be unable to do so because they would lack the necessary physical
>skills! I can think of many other ways these skills could be acquired:
>knitting, crocheting, needlework of all kinds, including hand sewing, to name
>but a few!
>Andres Segovia taught himself to play the guitar (surely requiring a SERIOUS
>level of finger dexterity) in his forties.
>Barbara Harman

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, OR  97217


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