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Bookbinding 2000



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This posting has been sent to Book_Arts-L and ExLibris.

Those who were unable to attend the very excellent =93Bookbinding 2000"=20
conference held 31 May - 3 June at the Rochester Institute of Technology=20
(RIT) in Rochester, NY, may be interested in a brief, unauthorized account=
=20
of the proceedings. About 400 persons attended the conference, which=20
celebrated the installation and opening of the Bernard C. Middleton=20
Collection of Books on Bookbinding at the Melbert B. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts=
=20
Collection at RIT.

The conference was organized under the direction of David Pankow, Curator=20
of the Cary Collection, who acted throughout the conference as master of=20
ceremonies, introducing the speakers and making the housekeeping=20
announcements. Pankow (incidentally, he pronounces the second syllable of=20
his last name to rhyme with HOE, not HOW) is so laid back he makes Perry=20
Como look like the White Rabbit: his relaxed amiability played a=20
considerable role in making and keeping his conferees happy.
         Pankow=92s strategy in putting together the conference program was=
=20
to go for names: speakers and demonstrators included not only Bernard=20
Middleton himself but also James Brockman, Anthony Cains, Don Etherington,=
=20
Deborah Evetts, Mirjam Foot, Louise Genest, Monique Lallier, Philip Smith,=
=20
Marianne Tidcombe, Peter Waters, and Michael Wilcox.
         The program was thus a bold mix of lectures on miscellaneous=20
topics (Middleton, Smith, Waters), historical papers (Evetts, Foot,=20
Tidcombe), and practical bookbinding demonstrations (Brockman, Cains,=20
Etherington, Genest, Lallier, and Wilcox) the latter aided by a=20
sophisticated four-camera TV setup that allowed 400 persons to get an=20
excellent view of the activities on stage. Indeed, the star of the show was=
=20
a video camera on an articulated boom whose unseen operator could cause his=
=20
instrument to buzz around the demonstrations, swooping and darting down=20
like a large cricket for close-up views from any angle or height. The four=
=20
cameras fed to a remote studio and a director who called the shots we saw=20
projected on a large overhead screen: unaccustomed as we are. The result=20
was dazzling.

Deborah EVETTS (Pierpont Morgan Library) began the formal conference=20
proceedings with an excellent account of the history of successive=20
preservation attempts aimed at the Morgan=92s Coptic binding fragments.=20
Morgan bought the fragments in 1911; in 1912 they went to the Vatican=20
Library for conservation treatment (including gauzing, waxing, and finally=
=20
kiln heating to kill the insects that were invading them) from which they=20
emerged -- thoroughly cooked -- 17 years later, in 1929 (=93if you want to=
=20
braise a binding, this is what you do=94).
         Evetts has been working since 1984 with Christopher Clarkson to=20
devise a suitable housing for the fragments, and she explained in some=20
detail how they arrived at their solutions, which included not only=20
Plexiglas frames but also storage racks so that the fragments could be kept=
=20
horizontal, trolleys for moving the frames (some of which are 18" square),=
=20
and readers=92 stands. Money must be raised to complete the rehousing=20
project, but Evetts believes that workable parameters have been set.

Don ETHERINGTON (Etherington Conservation Center) gave the first=20
demonstration, binding a book in full leather with minimum paring (and thus=
=20
weakening) of the leather =96 producing a conservation (as opposed to a=
 fine)=20
binding, though in doing such work Etherington tries =93to make it not too=
=20
clunky looking.=94 The result didn=92t look clunky at all, and -- though he=
=20
said as he worked that =93I never measure anything=94 -- you=92d never know=
 from=20
the result.

Bernard MIDDLETON began his own talk by saying he was aware that some of=20
his restoration techniques did not find favor among conservators these=20
days, and that he hoped that he =93wouldn=92t be cut dead by too many=
 people=94=20
attending this conference. (From what I could see, instead he spent much of=
=20
the conference autographing copies of his new autobiography for attendees,=
=20
Recollections: My Life in Bookbinding.) His presentation dealt with one of=
=20
these questionable techniques: creating facsimile printed leaves for making=
=20
up valuable but imperfect books, using for this purpose sheets of old=20
paper, process relief zinc blocks made from a photograph or photocopy taken=
=20
from a complete copy, and a standing press.
         =93I cannot bring myself to make obvious facsimiles,=94 said=20
Middleton. =93Call it foolish pride.=94 His results can be good enough so=
 that=20
later he cannot always detect his own work, which he does not sign or mark=
=20
in any way. His principal customers are private collectors and dealers. =93I=
=20
don=92t have many institutional customers,=94 he said, in part because of=
 the=20
expense: perhaps =A3200/leaf.

Louise GENEST demonstrated her exposed spine binding technique, using a=20
concertina to protect the gatherings of the book, the outside of the=20
concertina containing narrow strips of pared leather pasted around and=20
along each fold, so that the back of the completed book consists of rounded=
=20
strips of leather running up the spine. The handsome result was most=20
suitable, she agreed, for books that wouldn=92t get heavy handling.

Philip SMITH began by noting that his best contribution to bookbinding has=
=20
been in the area of concepts. His lecture discussed at length the=20
relationship of the head (the designer), the heart (the artist), and motor=
=20
skills (the craftsman), the book art maker properly being a combination of=
=20
all of the above. The role of the binder, he said (as he usually does), is=
=20
to enhance what the author is saying, and he showed slides of a number of=20
his own bindings and explained what his intentions were in making them.

Anthony CAINS (Trinity College, Dublin) demonstrated a leather binding=20
technique (first associated with Edgar Mansfield) that involves pushing the=
=20
freshly-pasted leather on the covers of the book into ridges, waves, and=20
other three-dimensional patterns while still damp. The pleasing result=20
might be called a puckered binding: =93pucker all over,=94 said Cains,=
 waiting=20
for inspiration as a book art maker; he produced an amusing line of patter=
=20
throughout his demonstration that contrasted nicely with the high=20
seriousness of the preceding lecture by Philip Smith. Cains=92 technique=20
avoids the necessity of gold tooling the result (finishers are =93an=
 arrogant=20
lot=94 anyway, he pointed out).

Marianne TIDCOMBE gave a slide lecture on =93Women Bookbinders and Their=20
Methods,=94 beginning rather haphazardly with a gallop through women binders=
=20
over the ages, but settling down to a very good presentation on the work of=
=20
a group late c19 and early c20 British binders.

James BROCKMAN demonstrated his technique of making rigid concave spines,=20
pointing out that the traditional rounded back structure damages the folds=
=20
and goes against what the book wants to do (=93look at the Yellow Pages;=
 it=92s=20
trying to tell you something=94).

Mirjam FOOT (now Professor of Library & Archive Studies at University=20
College, London) spoke on continental influences on c16 English bindings.=20
She provided a coherent overview of the early British binding trade (no=20
mean feat), and her slides (excellent, as always) nicely supported the=20
points of her lecture.

Monique LALLIER demonstrated edge-to-edge leather doublures. It was an=20
enormous pleasure watching her pare and sand and paste and make her=20
materials (leather, card, and paper) do her bidding so nicely within very=20
tight tolerances indeed, all easily seen by the 400 conferees thanks to the=
=20
images overhead.

Peter WATERS (who retired as preservation officer of the Library of=20
Congress in 1995) gave an important talk on =93The Preservation of Library=
=20
Materials in the Digital Age.=94 He gave a brief history of late c19 and c20=
=20
library preservation efforts, the theme of which was that each generation=20
always believes that its technology is superior to that of the past. He=20
warned that the c20 may well be known to the future historians as =93the=20
century of the black hole,=94 since so many of our digital records are=20
unlikely to survive, and he predicted that the preservation problems that=20
will have to be faced in 2050 will make the present ones pale into=20
insignificance by comparison. Waters presented a variety of convincing=20
plans and strategies for coping with our present problems. His presentation=
=20
deserves publication more than any other presentation at this conference,=20
good as the others were.

David Pankow introduced the final demonstrator, Michael WILCOX, by saying=20
that there is no better practitioner of gold tooling living today, praise=20
which Wilcox immediately rejected, noting that he gold tools perhaps two=20
months of the year, and that the best finishers are those who do this sort=
=20
of work all year round.
         Wilcox began by polishing the leather of the book he was going to=
=20
tool, saying that it needed to be smooth: (if there are lumps or puckers,=20
flatten them, with a spokehave if necessary: so much for the arrogance of=20
finishers, he said). He then transferred a pattern from paper to the=20
surface of the cover, tooled it in blind, and then applied gold leaf and=20
removed the excess: voila. Gold-tooled book, enchanted audience.

The conference concluded with a final dinner, an auction of books for the=20
benefit of the Cary Collection (ably conducted by Richard Landon), and a=20
final interview by David Pankow with a Bernard Middleton marionette fueled=
=20
with comments drawn from a tape recording of Bernard Middleton=92s own=20
presentation. The Middleton puppet=92s comment on the conference as a whole:=
=20
=93It=92s not a disaster.=94

Indeed it was not. After more than 30 years of conference-going in this=20
business, I sometimes feel conferenced out; but ones like =93Bookbinding=20
2000" give me hope. Much praise to David Pankow and RIT!




Terry Belanger  :  University Professor  :   University of Virginia
Book Arts Press : 114 Alderman Library : Charlottesville, VA  22903
Tel: 804/924-8851   FAX: 804/924-8824  email: belanger@virginia.edu
               URL: http://www.virginia.edu/oldbooks/

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Content-Type: text/html; charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

<html>
This posting has been sent to Book_Arts-L and ExLibris.<br>
<br>
<font size=3D3>Those who were unable to attend the very excellent
=93Bookbinding 2000&quot; conference held 31 May - 3 June at the Rochester
Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY, may be interested in a
brief, unauthorized account of the proceedings. About 400 persons
attended the conference, which celebrated the installation and opening of
the Bernard C. Middleton Collection of Books on Bookbinding at the
Melbert B. Cary, Jr. Graphic Arts Collection at RIT.<br>
<br>
The conference was organized under the direction of David Pankow, Curator
of the Cary Collection, who acted throughout the conference as master of
ceremonies, introducing the speakers and making the housekeeping
announcements. Pankow (incidentally, he pronounces the second syllable of
his last name to rhyme with HOE, not HOW) is so laid back he makes Perry
Como look like the White Rabbit: his relaxed amiability played a
considerable role in making and keeping his conferees happy.<br>
<x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab>Pankow=92s
strategy in putting together the conference program was to go for names:
speakers and demonstrators included not only Bernard Middleton himself
but also James Brockman, Anthony Cains, Don Etherington, Deborah Evetts,
Mirjam Foot, Louise Genest, Monique Lallier, Philip Smith, Marianne
Tidcombe, Peter Waters, and Michael Wilcox.<br>
<x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab>The
program was thus a bold mix of lectures on miscellaneous topics
(Middleton, Smith, Waters), historical papers (Evetts, Foot, Tidcombe),
and practical bookbinding demonstrations (Brockman, Cains, Etherington,
Genest, Lallier, and Wilcox) the latter aided by a sophisticated
four-camera TV setup that allowed 400 persons to get an excellent view of
the activities on stage. Indeed, the star of the show was a video camera
on an articulated boom whose unseen operator could cause his instrument
to buzz around the demonstrations, swooping and darting down like a large
cricket for close-up views from any angle or height. The four cameras fed
to a remote studio and a director who called the shots we saw projected
on a large overhead screen: unaccustomed as we are. The result was
dazzling.<br>
<br>
Deborah EVETTS (Pierpont Morgan Library) began the formal conference
proceedings with an excellent account of the history of successive
preservation attempts aimed at the Morgan=92s Coptic binding fragments.
Morgan bought the fragments in 1911; in 1912 they went to the Vatican
Library for conservation treatment (including gauzing, waxing, and
finally kiln heating to kill the insects that were invading them) from
which they emerged -- thoroughly cooked -- 17 years later, in 1929 (=93if
you want to braise a binding, this is what you do=94). <br>
<x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab>Evetts has
been working since 1984 with Christopher Clarkson to devise a suitable
housing for the fragments, and she explained in some detail how they
arrived at their solutions, which included not only Plexiglas frames but
also storage racks so that the fragments could be kept horizontal,
trolleys for moving the frames (some of which are 18&quot; square), and
readers=92 stands. Money must be raised to complete the rehousing project,
but Evetts believes that workable parameters have been set.<br>
<br>
Don ETHERINGTON (Etherington Conservation Center) gave the first
demonstration, binding a book in full leather with minimum paring (and
thus weakening) of the leather =96 producing a conservation (as opposed to
a fine) binding, though in doing such work Etherington tries =93to make it
not too clunky looking.=94 The result didn=92t look clunky at all, and --
though he said as he worked that =93I never measure anything=94 -- you=92d
never know from the result.<br>
<br>
Bernard MIDDLETON began his own talk by saying he was aware that some of
his restoration techniques did not find favor among conservators these
days, and that he hoped that he =93wouldn=92t be cut dead by too many people=
=94
attending this conference. (From what I could see, instead he spent much
of the conference autographing copies of his new autobiography for
attendees, <i>Recollections: My Life in Bookbinding</i>.) His
presentation dealt with one of these questionable techniques: creating
facsimile printed leaves for making up valuable but imperfect books,
using for this purpose sheets of old paper, process relief zinc blocks
made from a photograph or photocopy taken from a complete copy, and a
standing press. <br>
<x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab>=93I cannot
bring myself to make obvious facsimiles,=94 said Middleton. =93Call it
foolish pride.=94 His results can be good enough so that later he cannot
always detect his own work, which he does not sign or mark in any way.
His principal customers are private collectors and dealers. =93I don=92t hav=
e
many institutional customers,=94 he said, in part because of the expense:
perhaps =A3200/leaf.<br>
<br>
Louise GENEST demonstrated her exposed spine binding technique, using a
concertina to protect the gatherings of the book, the outside of the
concertina containing narrow strips of pared leather pasted around and
along each fold, so that the back of the completed book consists of
rounded strips of leather running up the spine. The handsome result was
most suitable, she agreed, for books that wouldn=92t get heavy
handling.<br>
<br>
Philip SMITH began by noting that his best contribution to bookbinding
has been in the area of concepts. His lecture discussed at length the
relationship of the head (the designer), the heart (the artist), and
motor skills (the craftsman), the book art maker properly being a
combination of all of the above. The role of the binder, he said (as he
usually does), is to enhance what the author is saying, and he showed
slides of a number of his own bindings and explained what his intentions
were in making them.<br>
<br>
Anthony CAINS (Trinity College, Dublin) demonstrated a leather binding
technique (first associated with Edgar Mansfield) that involves pushing
the freshly-pasted leather on the covers of the book into ridges, waves,
and other three-dimensional patterns while still damp. The pleasing
result might be called a puckered binding: =93pucker all over,=94 said Cains=
,
waiting for inspiration as a book art maker; he produced an amusing line
of patter throughout his demonstration that contrasted nicely with the
high seriousness of the preceding lecture by Philip Smith. Cains=92
technique avoids the necessity of gold tooling the result (finishers are
=93an arrogant lot=94 anyway, he pointed out).<br>
<x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab><x-tab>&nbsp;=
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab><x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&=
nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab><x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&n=
bsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab><x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nb=
sp;</x-tab><x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab><x=
-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab><x-tab>&nbsp;&n=
bsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab><x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nb=
sp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab><x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbs=
p;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab><br>
Marianne TIDCOMBE gave a slide lecture on =93Women Bookbinders and Their
Methods,=94 beginning rather haphazardly with a gallop through women
binders over the ages, but settling down to a very good presentation on
the work of a group late c19 and early c20 British binders.<br>
<br>
James BROCKMAN demonstrated his technique of making rigid concave spines,
pointing out that the traditional rounded back structure damages the
folds and goes against what the book wants to do (=93look at the Yellow
Pages; it=92s trying to tell you something=94). <br>
<br>
Mirjam FOOT (now Professor of Library &amp; Archive Studies at University
College, London) spoke on continental influences on c16 English bindings.
She provided a coherent overview of the early British binding trade (no
mean feat), and her slides (excellent, as always) nicely supported the
points of her lecture.<br>
<br>
Monique LALLIER demonstrated edge-to-edge leather doublures. It was an
enormous pleasure watching her pare and sand and paste and make her
materials (leather, card, and paper) do her bidding so nicely within very
tight tolerances indeed, all easily seen by the 400 conferees thanks to
the images overhead.<br>
<br>
Peter WATERS (who retired as preservation officer of the Library of
Congress in 1995) gave an important talk on =93The Preservation of Library
Materials in the Digital Age.=94 He gave a brief history of late c19 and
c20 library preservation efforts, the theme of which was that each
generation always believes that its technology is superior to that of the
past. He warned that the c20 may well be known to the future historians
as =93the century of the black hole,=94 since so many of our digital records
are unlikely to survive, and he predicted that the preservation problems
that will have to be faced in 2050 will make the present ones pale into
insignificance by comparison. Waters presented a variety of convincing
plans and strategies for coping with our present problems. His
presentation deserves publication more than any other presentation at
this conference, good as the others were.<br>
<br>
David Pankow introduced the final demonstrator, Michael WILCOX, by saying
that there is no better practitioner of gold tooling living today, praise
which Wilcox immediately rejected, noting that he gold tools perhaps two
months of the year, and that the best finishers are those who do this
sort of work all year round. <br>
<x-tab>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</x-tab>Wilcox
began by polishing the leather of the book he was going to tool, saying
that it needed to be smooth: (if there are lumps or puckers, flatten
them, with a spokehave if necessary: so much for the arrogance of
finishers, he said). He then transferred a pattern from paper to the
surface of the cover, tooled it in blind, and then applied gold leaf and
removed the excess: voila. Gold-tooled book, enchanted audience.<br>
<br>
The conference concluded with a final dinner, an auction of books for the
benefit of the Cary Collection (ably conducted by Richard Landon), and a
final interview by David Pankow with a Bernard Middleton marionette
fueled with comments drawn from a tape recording of Bernard Middleton=92s
own presentation. The Middleton puppet=92s comment on the conference as a
whole: =93It=92s not a disaster.=94<br>
<br>
Indeed it was not. After more than 30 years of conference-going in this
business, I sometimes feel conferenced out; but ones like =93Bookbinding
2000&quot; give me hope. Much praise to David Pankow and RIT!<br>
<br>
<br>
</font><br>
<br>
<div>Terry Belanger&nbsp; :&nbsp; University Professor&nbsp;
:&nbsp;&nbsp; University of Virginia</div>
<div>Book Arts Press : 114 Alderman Library : Charlottesville, VA&nbsp;
22903</div>
<div>Tel: 804/924-8851&nbsp;&nbsp; FAX: 804/924-8824&nbsp; email:
belanger@virginia.edu</div>
<div>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp=
;&nbsp;
URL:
<a href=3D"http://www.virginia.edu/oldbooks/"=
 EUDORA=3DAUTOURL>http://www.virginia.edu/oldbooks/</a></div>
</html>

--=====================_13483725==_.ALT--

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