Autumn Greetings!

I am fresh from having taught a weekend workshop (marbling and Coptic binding) in Southport, NC.  Those Coastal Calligraphers and the Carolina Lettering Arts Society certainly do know how to host an excellent event!  Many thanks to them all for a superb weekend.
Now I am preparing for little goblins showing up at my door and thinking ahead to a Thanksgiving gathering.  I hope you are enjoying the fall weather and preparing for both of the above as well.  Of course, I am also preparing for holiday orders,

learning new skills, and re-organizing my business model.  Read on for the details…  

                 TC 1                          TC 2

The book above is one part of a commissioned set memorializing a loved son.  I have blurred the name and dates intentionally.  One of the new skills I am developing is using a laser cutter to engrave wood.  It opens many possibilities!


            Dea Paring 1               Dea Paring 2

In September I took a class with Dea Sasso, a highly skilled bookbinder with 30+ years of binding experience.  I am working my way from doing simple book repair and re-creation of books to being able to work on more complex damage and/or to restore books to their original appearance.  This requires additional skill development.  Once I completed the class – at the Campbell Folk School, where Dea is also a resident artist – I arranged for additional time with her at her studio, Light of Day Bindery, in Asheville.  When I took the photos above I was learning about types of leather paring knives and sharpening techniques.

                        Repair 1                         Repair 2

More repair work… On the left, above, is a textblock that had many loose pages and was falling apart, now repaired and ready to be cased into a new cover. On the right one can see that I replaced the missing part of a page with a photocopy from another edition of the book.

Anne’s “rules” should you have a book that is starting to fall apart:

  • When is a book worth repairing? If you love the book, it has great sentimental value, and/or it has monetary value because of rarity, then it is worth repairing.  Often it can be less expensive to replace the book rather than repair it.
  • DO NOT use duct tape or any other tape for that matter — it just makes it harder to clean up.
  • Save all the pages and parts.
  • If you can’t get it to a bookbinder, or you don’t want to spend the money, put the book into an archival box (a cardboard box made of acid-free cardboard, available online or at office supply stores).  That way at least there is no further deterioration.
  • When you are ready, call me or another bookbinder to properly repair it.  Any binder I know will talk with you about your options, providing several ideas on what can and cannot be done and will give you an estimate of the time (cost) involved.

                     brightbullseyes                        marbling sample

In the not so fun, but important, category…  My partners and I have dissolved ArtConnections, the retail store we’ve shared for about 15 months.  I am remaining at 629 N. Trade St. in Winston-Salem, in the upper part of the building where my studio has been for almost a year.  I am looking forward to having additional time for teaching – both in my studio and in other venues – as well as increasing studio time for my own creative efforts and custom work.  I also look forward to seeing some local folks at First Friday Gallery Hops, when I will frequently demonstrate my work.

              flower marquetry book                   landscape marquetry book

And exciting progress to end on: Last spring a woodworking instructor and I were chatting at the Folk School about what fun it would be to collaborate…  The above pictures are the result.  Jane Burke did the marquetry – the fine “art of using wood veneers of different species and colors to create pictures”.  Do see her website for even more awesome examples!  I created textblocks and bound the books using the Secret Belgian Binding. We are excited to be offering a week-long class at the John Campbell Folk School in December of 2019, wherein folks will learn to make books like these.  She has sent me two additional marquetry pieces, which I will bind into books.  Look for pictures next month! 

Anne Murray
Bookbinder and Papermaker