Thursday, 7 January 2010

On my shelves

Over the years I've collected quite a few books made by New Zealand bookbinders.


One of my favourite books is made by Michael O'Brien, a traditional binder making wonderful books in Oamaru, South Island. Michael's description: "This Hand Bound Book is made from Recycled New Zealand Paper. It is Hand Sewn with unbleached thread on strong tapes forming ties at the foredge. This style is a variation on the Sixth Century Monastic Tradition of Saint Benedict and carried on in the Arts and Crafts Movement of the Nineteenth Century by William Morris. This Book was made in my Bindery in Oamaru's Historic Precinct in response to the need for sound Ecological values in contrast to the market forces of the consumer age."

Michael's description again: "Old Age Book. This Hand Bound Book is made from Recycled New Zealand Paper and boards reminiscent of old book covers in aged materials. Hand sewn in the flexible style with unbleached linen thread on five raised cords. This method of binding evolved in the Monasteries of the Dark Ages. It is very strong but seldom used today as it is considered overly labour intensive. This Book was made in my Bindery in Oamaru's Historic Precinct with an awareness of the value of Age Old Contemplative Traditions."


The above two photographs show a Paste Paper book as described by Michael: "This Hand Bound Book is made from high quality Acid Free Paper, hand sewn with Irish Linen Thread on strong tapes. This style of binding first came into popular use during the 1830s with the advent of bookcloth. Paste Papers, which were one of the earliest forms of decorative papers, were used for both cover papers and endpapers from the 16th century. A mixture of Starch Paste and Pigment is spread on paper which is then Patterned or Textured by drawing or printing onto it. Each sheet is unique and cannot be reproduced. This Hand Made Book was bound in my Bindery with Care and Contemplation in contrast to mass produced commodities."

 I haven't met Michael but I believe his values and care show in all he does. I hope you enjoy this video about his Oamaru shop and the man himself. I hope he feels I've done him justice in this brief look at his work.

I want to mention two blog sites that I really enjoy. The first is Judy's Red Velvet Creations. Judy, a Sydney artist, makes the most sumptuous creations and her other site Visual Anthologies is simply stunning. These are places I go when I just want to be inspired. To go to one of Judy's classes is on my list of dreams to be carried out one day.

Also from Sydney, Shey, is one of the most prolific and multi talented women I've found on the net. And she shares a great many of my interests so I love visiting her blogs. See her here at Have Journal Will Travel and then explore her other sites.

Do leave a comment when you visit. I love to know what you're thinking, even if it is to tell me my interest in spiders is over the top.

16 comments:

  1. now this is much more user friendly!

    and its great to see more marbling and paste paper - my dear friend cecilia is a fine paste-paper (amongst other things) artist - you might already know her calligraphy and booky website: http://www.cecilia-letteringart.com/
    which has lovely paste paper headers throughout the site.

    heck for all I know you might be bestest mates with cecilia (she would thoroughly appreciate your spiders - she has a bit of a thing for bush rats.... it takes all kinds I say!)

    I love seeing your booky treasures - I hope you share some more with us

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  2. Lovely books, Carol. I've never been to Oamaru, but now there's another reason to go. Thank you for showing us your books.

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  3. I've been to this precinct in Oamaru but it was some years ago when it was quite new. I will have to be sure to make another trip next time I go to NZ. It's only about an hour's drive. Very interesting.

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  4. thanks for the blog references...I will go there next!

    I find the book binding info very interesting...I had no idea! LOL

    xo

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  5. Beautiful examples of books! I especially like the first one.

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  6. These are wonderful! I am so in love with them! ALL OF THEM :-) (being a fanatical collector of journals! :-)

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  7. Thanks for posting this. Your knowledge is really appreciated.

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  8. I met Michael O'Brien when I was passing through Oamaru a couple of months ago. When I mentioned I was a letterpress printer in need of a press he tried to persuade me to move to Oamaru where there is a whole print shop just waiting for someone to move in and use it as part of the historic precinct there.

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  9. Carol, dear, you really do collect some of the most gorgeous book! Love that first one by O'Brien that's sewn on tapes.

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  10. Carol this paste paper is so gorgeous! Also, I answered your question in the comment section on my blog about the iridescent paint.
    warm regards
    Angela

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  11. Well, I made it over here from DJ PETTITT's class....and I am so excited to come back when I can just read and read your most interesting blog. I have a love of old books as I had an antiques shop for eighteen years until 2003, when I THOUGHT I retired...I do calligraphy,but my own silly style, and old books with beautiful discoveries on their brittle pages! I WILL be back!! Fondly, sherry peck

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  12. Carol, I too am getting all the notes for later....as I have many children I'm involved with and may get behind. Also wanted to thank you for coming to my blog and commenting....such encouragement. And again I sent a few people recently to your blog to see your passion of books.....I can't wait to have more time to read it!

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  13. First time to your blog, Carol. Such an interesting post - very informative and the books are exquisite. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving your kind comment.

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  14. Those are some beautiful books Carol - real treasures. I'm so pleased to have found your blog and now it's in my RSS feed, there'll be no hiding

    I was sorry to hear that you're suffering with the migraine but pleased you're taking it easy and letting it take its course. Photoshop will still be there when you're ready to roll - as will I!!

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  15. It amazes me the creativity, attention to detail and patience that bookmakers/bookbinders must have! Those are truly beautiful books - works of art in themselves. And yes, Judy's assemblages are incredible. I've been lucky to meet her in person and to see one of her books up close. She puts so much thought and research into her work.

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  16. I am wondering if I once met Michael. His shop was wonderful and he was in need of an apprentice at the time. Though I have little experience, I sometimes wonder what my life would be life if I had been able to take the position~ You have shared gorgeous books here.

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After several months of managing a flood of idiotic anonymous comments I am reluctantly returning to Word Verification. I will also leave Comment Moderation on. Such a shame but apparently robots rule. Remember, I love to get YOUR comments.