DeGolyer Exhibition and Bookbinding Competition, 2015

Samuel Feinstein
Chicago, Illinois


Award for Design


Samuel Feinstein trained at the North Bennet Street School in Boston and has been in private practice since graduating in June 2012. He specializes in fine bindings, gold finishing, new bindings in period style, and luxury clamshell boxes.


Proposal

Full red goatskin leather fine binding sewn on German tapes, laced into boards. The top edge decorated in alternating sections of gold and palladium prior to sewing. Double-core silk headbands. Pastedowns and flyleaves of a “Dutch curl” marbled paper. Boards tooled in gold and palladium with black leather onlays, with the titling placed along the curve within the black onlaid rings. The palladium lines continue over the board edges and onto the turn-ins. A single gilt line is tooled on the board edges, breaking at the palladium lines. Four gilt rules on the turn-ins which break at the palladium lines. The finished volume is to be housed in a full cloth clamshell box with a tooled leather label.

My design seeks to show the beauty of historical binding elements within a modernized context, a use of traditional techniques in a manner which is not strictly traditional. Here I am attempting to demonstrate the relevance of bookbinding history in modern fine bindings. The design alludes to Mr. Middleton’s own style as an homage: the optically centered elaborate motifs on each board, bold use of line, and allowing the beauty of the materials to speak for themselves. The medallions on each board are inspired by late seventeenth-century gold-tooled bindings with the “drawer-handle” motif. Understanding the practices, and especially the subtleties, of previous eras is absolutely crucial when approaching a book for restoration. It is essential when approaching any binding project, even when it is to be disregarded in cases where the book itself calls out for a contemporary designed binding.



Example:

The Revelation of John the Divine. Pownal, Vermont:  Mason Hill Press, 1983. Decorations designed and cut by James Dignon. Type set and printed by James Dignon and Nelson Ogert. Printed in an edition of 135.

Full goatskin leather binding with sewn-in leather hinge and handmade flax paper flyleaf which has the look of parchment. The book was sewn on five German woven tapes with linen thread, the edges were gilt “in the rough” without trimming, and the tapes were laced into the boards. Double-core silk headbands. After spine linings, a hollow was attached with false raised bands to emulate raised cord sewing. The book was covered in natural grained brown goatskin. The sewn in hinges were placed down and doublures were pasted in. The binding was tooled with 23 carat gold leaf and carbon, with many different colored leather onlays. The clasps were designed by the binder and made by Joycelyn Merchant, a jeweler, bookbinder, and clasp-maker.

The Book of Revelation is filled with both divine and depraved imagery and this design is based on that dichotomy within the book:  the front cover represents the former and the rear cover represents the latter.  A significant element is based on the press’s decision to base the text on the Geneva Bible, first published in 1560. The book called for a look back to the decoration of sixteenth-century bindings. I combined onlaid strap-work, an element from gold-tooled bindings of this time, with carbon-tooled motifs based on sixteenth-century blind-tooled bindings, using a single “head-and-shoulders” tool on four sides of an enclosed shape to make a leaf in the negative space.