Friday, October 27, 2017

Dresden Codex


Hellloooo everyone! Am baaaacckk!
And yes. I've been such a lazy slob in not paying attention to my blog all these months, and I suddenly realized it was already late October! - the realization came when I saw a bunch of kid-adults dressing as witches and Pres. Trump holding carved pumpkins. I wonder if Mr. Pres. is able to collect royalty paycheck every time someone buys his rubber masks or toilet paper rolls with his face printed on it, though I don't think he'd be interested in getting paid such a petty amount of money.

Anyway, before getting started on my next work, I decided to post one that I've finished last night. The client asked me to put a case on a manuscript that he printed and laminated by himself. It's Dresden Codex (C√≥dice de Dresde), the oldest surviving Mayan manuscript that dates back to 13~14th century. Such a cool project. As his printed manuscript was already folded in an accordion style, we decided to do an accordion binding and a limp leather case with a bone clasp. I don't think I've shown a work with bone clasps here before, so here it is. Bone clasps are normally used for boxes, but it can be used for a normal binding as well. Because this is supposed to be an old ancient manuscript, I suggested to use bark paper to give a feel of an antiquity, along with an earthy green leather that he chose. It's 21cm x 11cm approx., true to the original size. 

I've had a personal project like this that I started several years back. It's the Voynich Manuscript. I downloaded it off the internet, and started putting it together digitally, intending to print it out so as to do a facsimile binding. Well, it's been put aside all these years. Like I said, I'm just being a lazy slob yet again on this as well. Hit me!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Boucher on Forest Trees, 1775


It's a bit late, but a happy new year to ye' all ! I hope you are still sticking with the resolution that you made a month ago! (I gave up mine on the 3rd day. Ohh, typical me.)

I haven't updated my blog for a while, but that doesn't mean I wasn't working, yo! I just got too preoccupied with work physically and mentally, so I neglected to do anything else other than what was in front of me. And what was in front of me last week was my seedy digital camera that was buried in my so called junk box. You know, one of those boxes or drawers in which you dump little stuff that you never use but can't somehow throw away, thinking that you might need them someday. Unmatched batteries, little toys that came with breakfast cereals, almost empty eye shadows and a What-the-F**k-was-I-thinking-when-I-bought-it!?! goth-black lipstick... For some reasons, I put my digital camera in there. humm,,, That's not good. I don't know how it got there, because once something goes to my junk box, it usually never sees daylight again. Kinda like a little black hole in my room.

Anyway, that reminded me of how badly I've been neglecting my blog. I hastily took a picture of a book that I was about to work on, with a bit of guilt. There were actually two books on my workbench at that time, - one is a first edition of Rude Stone Monuments in All Countries by James Fergusson, and the other is Boucher on Forest Trees, which I chose to post on my blog because of its leather marbling. I thought you guys might find an interest in some "forgotten art" aspect of this craft. This is a common traditional method of leather dyeing technique using acid - a mixture of potassium sulfate and ferrous sulfate which is applied onto running water on the surface of leather. This particular texture is called "tree marbling" because of its resemblance to tree branches. It's very common in antiquarian books, but I personally don't know many binders who do this marbling technique nowadays. I, for one, can't do it, so don't ask me how to do it properly! Well.. This is how old arts and crafts die, you know? There's no one who can teach us to inherit the knowledge to the next generation.

This work required a rebacking of the spine, which needed to match the marbling texture of the original front and back boards. Matching the acid-based leather marbling is always tricky, and this one was no exception. I hope the client approves the result.. Oh, and, in case you are wondering about the spelling of forest on the skiver label, I did a double R because the original was spelled like that. I don't know if it's an original binder's mistake, but hey, I must follow the client's instruction.
This is A Treatise on Forest Trees by William Boucher. (1775) By the way, there were whole bunch of plants and flowers pressed in the book. Someone was indeed studying the book seriously. ;-)