Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Art of the Craft

Melinda Padgett bookbinding

Melinda Padgett, Fine Bookbinding
Santa Cruz, California
~~Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop, 2005~~

"Tight back French style binding; sewn on vellum strips; split boards, wide raised bands; bound in ivory calf with Morocco onlays and blind tooling; double headbands in silk; leather joint; endpapers are reproduced 1891 maps of New Mexico; cross ornament on spine made from handmade tool carved from brass. The cover design suggests the imposition of Christianity over the Southwestern Pueblo Indian culture. The spine is intended to resemble a bible’s binding; the Southwestern motifs are adapted from traditional Acoma pottery designs. 21 x 16.5 x 4 centimeters. Created 2005."

Susan Collard bookbinding
Susan Collard
Portland, Oregon
~~The Winter Palace~~

"For me, Winter Palace suggested something both intricate and provisional. I sawed the front and back covers from a salvaged piece of old tongue-and-groove fir, and inset piano hinges to form the basic structure. Meant to function as a sort of stage set or curiosity cabinet, it contains two removable books with 2" square pages. These are perfect bound with Japanese repair tissue and Tyvek, after a board book structure developed by Hedi Kyle. Materials include reclaimed fir, walnut, birch aircraft plywood, basswood, various metals, glass, mirrors, Tyvek, found objects and paper. 11 x 9 x 6.5 centimeters. Created 2006."

Emily Martin bookbinding
Emily Martin, Naughty Dog Press
Iowa City, Iowa
~~Sleepers, Dreamers & Screamers~~

"Sleepers, Dreamers & Screamers is an accordion pop-up book, printed letterpress with hard covers. The pop-ups are constructed of a variety of papers including a cotton and gampi paper made for the project by Bridget O’Malley of Cave Paper. The complete text is “We’ve all had nightmares. Vivid as they may be there is always that sweet release upon waking. But what happens when events in our waking lives surpass even our most horrific dreams. Where is our release now?” This book was begun in 2001 and derailed by the events of September 11, 2001. The text was rewritten in the aftermath and finally completed. 24.5 x 18.5 x 2 centimeters. Created 2006."

Tennille Shuster bookbinding
Tennille Shuster
Oakland Park, Florida
~~Lyrics by Modest Mouse, Crown of Thorns~~

"Crown of Thorns is meant to communicate the concept of sacrifice, using an easily recognizable symbol. This book was letterpress printed in an edition of three. The pages are overprinted off-register purposefully, to look as though the word “take” is being sacrificed — it’s taken away a little each page, until all you’re left with is one simple statement in red — take what you want from me, you deserve it all. The pages were then roughly trimmed and bound in piano hinge format, using acrylic stained dowel rods. A crown of thorns was attached with hemp cord and the structure is then displayed on an antique wig stand. 30 x 30 x 30 centimeters. Created 2005."

Sylvia Rennie bookbinding
Sylvia Rennie
Questa, New Mexico
~~Léo Bronstein, Five Variations on the Theme of Japanese Painting, 1969~~

"Binding edged in black leather; sewn on recessed cords; brown and rust Japanese paper endleaves; brown, rust, purple, and gold handsewn silk endbands; top edge gilt, colored and gauffered; décor of multicolored leather onlays and gold and white tooling. 27 x 18 x 3.5 centimeters." Undated.

Hedi Kyle bookbinding
Hedi Kyle
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
~~Hedi Kyle, April Diary, 1979~~

"This is the original work of the form that has become known as the “Flag Book.” It is the single most influential structure in the world of contemporary bookmaking. This method of construction, employing tipped on page fragments on alternating sides of a concertina structure, has been adopted by artists worldwide for the creation of unique and multiple bookworks. 26 x 14 x 1 centimeters. Created 1979."

Jamie Kamph bookbinding
Jamie Kamph
Lambertville, New Jersey
~~Peter and Donna Thomas, A Collection of Paper Samples from
Hand Papermills in the United States of America, 1993~~

"Bound in full gray Oasis goat skin; pastedowns of Dieu Donné “antique linen” with Nancy Pobanz’s “pampas grass” decorative flyleaves; sewn on linen tapes; gray and red silk endbands; multicolored leather onlays with gold and blind tooling made up from watermarks of participating papermakers. 30 x 23 x 3 centimeters. Created 1996."

Heinke Pensky-Adams bookbinding
Heinke Pensky-Adam
Englewood, Florida
~~Claudia Cassidy, Lyric Opera of Chicago, 1979~~

"Bound in full taupe goat skin in French style; sewn on frayed out cords; black paper endleaves; graphite top edge; black, blue, and white silk endband; décor of multicolored leather onlays with blind and gold tooling. The design was derived from an original stage setting for the Tales of Hoffmann. 31 x 26 x 4 centimeters. Created 1981"

The Guild of Bookworkers 100th anniversary exhibition is currently at the Grolier Club in New York City and will be on show at a small number of venues in the United States over the next year. Stanford University host the Guild's exhibition website which features a large array of bookbinding/bookart images with background information including the exhibition schedule, 'Contemporary Exhibition of Juried Works' (the first 4 images above are from here) and 'Retrospective Exhibition: A look back into the Guild's past' (the other 4 images are from here). [via] {previously}
Addit: Hm, the compressing of uploaded photographs to fit the page dimensions really make some of them look ordinary. I swear they are all in fact beautiful pictures if you click on them.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Royal Games of Burma

Burmese Parabeik illustrating royal pastimesFolds 1-4 : Queen watching ploughing ceremony. King watching ? archery/polo.
[description text is cutoff in the dropdown menu]. This image is spliced from
a dozen zoom screencaps so it's a reasonable size if you click on it. I didn't
splice any of the other main pages but some of the details have been both
(or either) spliced and cleaned up in the background.

2 horses and riders

Burmese soccer playing and musicians
Folds 5-8. King and queen watching Burmese football.

football detail

Burmese drummers detail

procession with elephant and horse
Folds 9-12: Procession

procession dancers detail

horse detail

elephant detail

continuation of procession
Folds 13-16: Procession continued

Umbrella men detail

detail of canopy over elephant and rider

Game with elephants in enclosure
Folds 17-20: Game with elephants in enclosure

elephant on hind legs

group of elephants near stadium

tea sellers outside stadium

stadium crowd detail

This is a 19th century burmese parabeik - a folded concertina picture book usually made of palm leaves - with watercolour illustrations of sporting and cultural activites viewed by royalty. It is listed online as 'Parabeik illustrating royal pastimes' among the wonderful 'Seeing is Believing: Traditional and Colonial Images of Popular Culture' section of the Oxford Digital Library.

Fauna Japonica Pisces








Matoudai - Zeus fish






Hanaokoze and more

Chimaera monstrosa




Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1866) moved to Holland after training as a physician and joined the dutch military as a ship's doctor which took him to Batavia in the Dutch East Indes.

He was soon after assigned the role of doctor/scientist at the dutch outpost on the island of Deshima in Nagasaki - the only western contact Japan allowed at the time. His scientific interests had been primed earlier in life from reading the works of Alexander von Humboldt and so he began establishing what would become during his 6 years stay, an enormous flora, fauna and ethnological collection.

The wonderful images above come from the 'Fauna Japonica Pisces' volume from the series published during the 1840s that catalogued von Siebold's specimens. It is online at the University of Kyoto.
Wikipedia have a good article on von Siebold.
Previously: Fauna Japonica; Siebold's Voyage; The Sometime(s) Natural History of Japan; Glover's Atlas. [All of the above images have had minimal background cleaning. Click on each image for a larger version. (I still haven't even seen von Siebold's volume on birds or the series on flora)]

Friday, October 27, 2006

Collectio Antiquitatum - Visualizing Rome



Sacophagus of Emperor Hadrian
Sacophagus of Emperor Hadrian (Castel Sant'Angelo) and
the Ponte Sant'Angelo, beneath which flows the Tiber river

Rome City Gate
The City Gate with turreted towers

Necropolis with elaborate Sarcophagus
Necropolis with elaborate Sarcophagus bearing inscription
to Mark Anthony, Pythagoras, Romulus and Remus.

Tarpean Rock
Tarpean Rock

Baths of Diocletian
Baths of Diocletian

Vatican Obelisk
Vatican Obelisk
(see post from the other day)

The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum

Equestrian statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Equestrian statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius
with ancient monuments in the background

Rome - Monte Testaccio
Monte Testaccio with ancient urns on the ground, several broken

Tournament in a circular pavilion
Tournament in a circular pavilion


Arch of Titus
Arch of Titus, with elaborate carvings and a procession of soldiers

animal sacrifice outside temple
Animal sacrifice outside temple

Campagna, winding river with boats outside the city walls
Campagna - winding river with boats outside the city walls

centaur at the centre of a labyrinth
Crete - centaur at the centre of a labyrinth

man standing on the back of a bull
Cesena - Votive relief depicting a man standing on
the back of a bull and flanked by a bird of prey and
a putto placing a wreath on the man's head.

[click images for much larger versions]

This 209 page parchment manuscript (Garrett MS 158) from ~1471 is only available as a 50Mb pdf file from Princeton University. It is one of (I think) 3 to 5 extant copies of 'Collectio Antiquitartum', which is a compilation of works produced by Giovanni Marcanova (c. 1410 - 1467), who was a physician in Padua, an antiquary and bibliophile in Venice and a Professor in Bologna.

The manuscript opens with 18 full page ink and wash drawings of Roman antiquities "in the manner of 'fantasy architecture'". The latin text may or may not have been transcribed by another noted antiquarian, Felice Feliciano and is in general, a collection of antiquarian inscriptions. It derives in part from earlier inscription texts and includes apocryphal letters, excerpts from standard classical works and occasional miniature drawings of monuments, sarcophagi, vases, inscribed steles, mottos and seals.

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