DeGolyer Exhibition and Bookbinding Competition, 2015

Karen Hanmer
Glenview, Illinois


Karen Hanmer has studied with Priscilla Spitler, Scott Kellar, Don Etherington, and Monique Lallier, and holds one of only eight diplomas in fine binding from the American Academy of Bookbinding. She has served as Exhibitions Chair for the Guild of Book Workers and on the editorial board of The Bonefolder, a peer reviewed, open access book arts journal. Hanmer was awarded the 2009 DeGolyer Competition Jury Prize for Binding. She offers workshops and private instruction focusing on a solid foundation in basic binding skills.


Proposal:

Full goatskin binding with laced-in boards. Sewn on flattened cords, leather hinge, doublures and flexi-endsheets of marbled paper by Pamela Smith. Hand sewn, double-core silk headbands; three edges sprinkled with multiple shades of brown acrylic ink.  Blind and gold-stamped title, blind tooling, sprinkling and pochoir with acrylic.  Goatskin onlays.  Illustrations scanned from the text and inkjet printed onto Mohawk Superfine cover, hand cut into pop-ups, and sewn inside each of the text block’s fourteen signatures.

The Restoration of Leather Bindings is the first binding manual I encountered in which the illustrations realistically portray work in progress, not just awkward disembodied hands or static images of tools and equipment.  My design shows both a completed restoration and a restoration in process using techniques from the text and vignettes from Middleton’s autobiography and the video interview produced by the Society of Bookbinders.  Processes include lifting leather for a reback and replacing the old spine on the new, touching up aged gold tooling, sprinkling, toning leather with Crosse and Blackwell gravy browning, use of a graining pallet (included here as a border in the Cambridge panel), and the pleasures and challenges of welcoming cats into the bindery. The addition of pop-ups scanned from illustrations in the text further animate the binding. The proposed color palette references the printed wrapper of the first edition. I am also inspired by 2003 DeGolyer Award for American Bookbinding recipient Jamie Kamph, who said she likes to include a surprise in the design for the rear board.

Example

Bookbinding with Numerous Engravings and Diagrams. Edited by Paul N. Hasluck. Grove, Wantage, England: The Black Swan Press, 1992. Reprint of the 1902 first edition.

Full goatskin binding with laced-in boards. Trade book disbound, guarded, and resewn on flattened cords; leather hinges; doublures and flexi-endsheets of marbled paper by Pamela Smith. Hand sewn, double-core silk headbands; three edges sprinkled with blue acrylic ink. Blind title and tooling, acrylic pochoir. Illustrations from the text have been scanned and laser printed onto goatskin onlays.  Illustrations scanned from the text and inkjet printed onto Mohawk Superfine cover, hand cut into pop-ups, and sewn inside each of the text block’s ten signatures.

The design for this binding is inspired by the text’s charming vintage illustrations, many of which feature disembodied hands performing common binding tasks. Tooling and pochoir further illuminate aspects of structure and process: beating the text block prior to sewing, sawing in sewing stations, lacing on boards, turning in and forming corners, tooling, and the figure-eight motion of the polishing iron.