DeGolyer Exhibition and Bookbinding Competition, 2015

Gabrielle Fox
Cincinnati, Ohio


Gabrielle Fox received a diploma in Bookbinding from the Guildford College of Further and Higher Education in the United Kingdom. Her instructors there included Maureen Duke, Daphne Beaumont-Wright and Tony Miles. She travels often to care for collections and teach, most recently to Toronto as the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild Visiting Artist of 2014. Fox returned in May 2015 to the American Academy of Bookbinding in Telluride to teach miniature design binding. She is the author of The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books and looks forward to the publication of her history of the Larkspur Press of Monterey, Kentucky.


Proposal:

The hand tooling along the colored leather strips represent traditional lacing-on of boards and Bernard Middleton’s approach to design expressed in his Recollections: A Life in Bookbinding. (This sample is only a representation of the decorative tools that will be used.) The haphazardness of the onlays represents the elements that need to be placed back in order when a leather binding is restored. 

The structure is the most recent variation of a binding I have been working with for more than twenty years. This variation provides a full leather spine. It is a combination that incorporates the flat opening of the hollow tube and the solid structure of a tight back. Sewing the text in as the final step is ideal for conservation bindings. The proposed binding will be full goatskin with goatskin onlays. The tooling will be done by hand in gold. The layer of leather at the inside spine will be alum tawed goatskin. Doublures and flyleaves will be goatskin with onlays and gold tooling. Drawings and any other ephemera will be enclosed in a heavy paper portfolio placed inside a drop spine cloth box with the binding.

Example

Ladislav R. Hanka. Remembering Jan Bohuslav Sobota. Kalamazoo, Michigan.: Ladislav R. Hanka, 2012.

The design is inspired by Ladislav Hanka’s powerful and beautiful engravings and the story, which many bookbinders had never heard fully before, about Jan Sobota. I used to believe that it was terribly sad when someone died and had not been able to do all the things they had hoped to achieve in their lifetime. Now I believe it would be sad if one had finished the list. This is represented in the spring and autumn leaves and the cycle of the beginning of life rather than the end of one.

The binding structure is one that I have been playing around with for more than twenty years. It is simple, basic, and I love that the text can be removed at any time with no damage to the paper or binding.  This is the most recent variation of this structure in that there is a full leather spine and the sewing is not visible. It provides the book with the flat opening of the hollow tube and the solid structure of a tight back. The binding is composed of various goatskins with an alum tawed goatskin inner spine. The onlays are of various leathers applied to the surface and then back pared before the inner lining is attached. Headbands are leather and the rivets are gold tooled. Pamela Smith marbled endpapers are utilized and Twinrocker handmade paper leaves have been sewn in with the text at the very end of the volume.