Monday, June 23, 2008

my love affair with secret belgians

I've found a new book structure to love. And oh do I love it. It's based on an unusual sixteenth-century binding that Hedi Kyle (a book arts goddess on all accounts) is said to have rediscovered.

I'm glad she did, because there's something about this structure that elevates it from utilitarian object to functional art. I think it's got to do with how the covers and spine piece enclose the textblock, and the straight lines and angles that march from the book's tail to head.

The secret belgian model that drove me to make my own belongs to Margaret Couch Cogswell, who's currently and artist in residence at the Penland School of Craft. She was kind enough to let me photocopy her binding instructions, which originate from a Paper Book Intensive workshop that Emily Martin taught years ago. I'm amazed that I hadn't seen a secret belgian until my trip to penland; it's such and engaging structure. Or maybe my taste in handbound books is a little wonky. Whatever the case, I'll be making a lot of secret belgians in the coming weeks.


Marian said...

It looks so incredibly complicated! But lovely. I like the colors you combine for the covers and the work and detail... I've always been intrigued about bookbinding. I visited a very old library in Argentina once (I come from Argentina) in a little town in the middle of nowhere, and it had all these very, very old books, some of them had come with the colonizers in the 16th century. So beautiful!
It makes you think on how much works it implies!

Hey! saw you on Dawanda, thought I'd check your blog up.

mightcouldpress said...

Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad you like the book! It does look really complicated, but it's actually not as difficult a binding as it seems, which is why I'm surprised I don't see more of them around.
That sounds like a wonderful library. I'd have to go to a university library speicla collection to see something like that, and it's just not the same.

Sandrine Deleuze said...

Hey !! a binding from my country !! yes yes yes !!! I really need to discover more about bookbinding !! I really want to learn !!! you inspire me !