DeGolyer Exhibition and Bookbinding Competition, 2015

Erin Fletcher
Quincy, Massachusetts


Erin Fletcher was introduced to the craft of bookbinding under the instruction of Susannah Kite Strang while studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She experimented with a variety of simple book structures, pushing the concept of the book as an art form. This initial exposure to bookbinding created a desire to develop a deeper understanding of the craft.

Attending the North Bennet Street School, Fletcher received training in historical and contemporary bookbinding techniques from Jeff Altepeter. Martha Kearsley provided additional training in basic book and paper conservation. An eight month internship in the Rare Book Room of the Boston Public Library followed. In 2012 she opened Herringbone Bindery, providing custom one-of-a-kind and edition hand bookbinding, box-making, and basic conservation for individual clients, book dealers, and institutions.


Proposal:

Bound in full brown goatskin using traditional hand embroidery techniques in gilt thread to imitate a historical gilt panel design. Line border on outer panel and along board edges are hand tooled and gilt. Spine decorated with mix of embroidered and hand tooled gilt motifs. Title and author’s name hand tooled and gilt in Baskerville. Board edges and turn-ins hand tooled and gilt. Zerkall Book Laid Vellum endpapers. Hand-sewn single-core headbands in green and white linen thread.

To conserve an object is to show patience, intelligence and dedication, qualities which Middleton emphasizes in the foreword of his book. In a way restoring a volume also pays homage to the history of the binding, as well as respect for the techniques employed in creating the binding. I propose to bind The Restoration of Leather Bindings as a design binding incorporating techniques and designs typically seen on deluxe bindings of the late seventeenth to early eighteenth century in England. The inspiration for choosing this specific period came from a particular book (mounted on proposal board) photographed several times in The Restoration of Leather Bindings. My decision to artistically imitate this binding, using period-appropriate techniques mixed with unconventional design techniques stems from the same attitude put forth by Middleton. I wish to pay homage to the book and its author by preserving a historical binding style by combining old techniques with unlikely materials.


Example:

Margaret Armstrong, in collaboration with J. J. Thornber. Field Book of Western Wild Flowers. New York: C. P. Putnam’s Sons, [copyright 1915].

French style binding with laced-in boards. Bound in bois de rose buffalo skin with back-pared onlays of goat and buffalo. Onlays embellished with hand-embroidered details using cotton embroidery floss. Hand painted border on front board in golden fluid acrylic. Title hand tooled in Gill Sans with 23 carat gold leaf. Edges decorated with sponged gouache and sprinkled with gold leaf. Hand sewn French double-core headbands in polyester thread. Edge-to-edge doublures in bois de rose buffalo skin with matching handmade Katie MacGregor paper flyleaf. Endpapers in ochre paper handmade by Katie MacGregor.

Book is stored in a clamshell box covered with bois de rose buffalo leather and brown Canapetta cloth. Goatskin onlays with hand embroidered details using cotton embroidery floss. Author’s name is hand tooled and gilt using Gill Sans handle letters in 23 carat gold leaf. Tray covered and lined with handmade paper by Katie MacGregor. A layer of Volara foam lines the outer tray to protect the embroidery.