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Re: Bone tooled leather

Replying to Suhag's query about detail on bindings with inclusions below the
leather...this is similar to the Cordoba techniques from Spain, where there
is relief material on the boards below the thin leather which covers the
book. A bone folder, which is exactly what it sounds like - a tool made from
bone and used for folding paper and such - is utilized for pressing and
indenting the dampened leather, making an impression (or depression, in fact)
on the leather surface.

This technique does not replace learning traditional tooling techniques
(hence Ms. Kahle's comment that you could not touch leather until after three
years' study!) which are much more complex and painstaking. Keep in mind that
a traditional apprenticeship is seven years in duration. At the bookbinding
schools in Europe, the study of binding usually is 3-4 years and then
finishing (gold tooling,etc) another 2-3 years. It just takes that long to
learn well and become proficient. Read the chapter "Repetition" in 'Zen Mind,
Beginner's Mind'...

My own feeling, based on many years of study and practice of fine bookbinding
technique, is that students of the art need to understand the whole of the
craft by learning the techniques which were developed over many centuries and
make a commitment to long-term learning ... thus earning the right to work on
fine leather and to perhaps, eventually, call oneself a fine bookbinder.

Paula Marie Gourley

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