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Leonardo da Vinci was known to have a set of spoons, each marked with the name of a different color. By filling each spoon with its color one was guaranteed to paint a masterpiece each time, with perfectly balanced tones. One of his students one day stole off with the set, but after trying again and again he found himself incapable of producing anything worthwhile. He approached another student:

"How does the master use the spoons?"

The other student looked perplexed:

But...the master never uses the spoons!"

The same goes for rats...

Paul T Werner, New York

WOID: A journal of visual language
THE ORANGE PRESS, publishing "Vellum Preparation: History and Technique"
DRAGONSBLOOD AND ASHES, a project to research and practice the techniques of the medieval scribe

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Minsky <minsky@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Saturday, October 30, 2004 5:13 pm
Subject: Ratskin

> Phil Zimmerman is correct. In 1979 I bound Patti Smith's book
> _Babel_ in
> alum tawed rat, with safety pin clasps. Actually it's just quarter rat
> (spine only) with goat covered boards. At the time this punk
> bookbindingcreated quite a stir.
> It was hard getting rats in New York City. They don't let you
> shoot them,
> and when I volunteered to join the Dept. of Sanitation's Rat
> Patrol they
> refused my offer. I think it was a union job. I ended up preparing the
> sumac tanned goatskins and the alum tawed ratskins at the National
> Leathersellers' Centre in Northampton, England. I discovered that
> althoughratskins were not commonly used for anything, mouse skins
> had been used in
> earlier times for the bosom linings of ladies' evening gowns.
> You can read a review of the binding at
> http://www.minsky.com/reviewta.htm
> where there is a link to a photo of it.
> When I read Phil's note on the list archive I went to minsky.com
> to look at
> the book, and realized it was not easy to find it. So I added a
> search form
> field on the home page. Now you can find just about anything at
> minsky.comfrom the home page by typing in a keyword. There are
> over 300 pages there,
> so this should make it easier for the 4,000 weekly users of the site.
> --
> Richard
> http://minsky.com
> http://www.centerforbookarts.org
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