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.