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. ;-)

4 comments:

  1. How to avoid failing your resolution: make no resolution! See? Problem solved!

    I see mottling is yet again on the line of duty. Same can't be said for the neglecting blogger (shame, shame, shame)...!

    May you have a happy and healthy year MHR!

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    1. haha, but I make a new year resolution every year just for the sake of it though I know it wouldn't last. In case you wonder what my resolution was this time; Got to bed by 1am, and get up by 7am. Well, I just couldn't stop being a night owl. hoo hooo!

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  2. Looks like you did a PERFECT job on matching the color and mottling. I wonder: When you have to blend raw, rough leather edges such as at the hinges, aside from the skill required, are there particular products you use to restore the smooth texture and create a seamless blend of old to new?

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    1. Hmmm... Hope everything's okay, MHR, and you're just busy with bookbinding. Rereading my question, I'm not sure it makes sense anyway. Stay well!

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