Saturday, August 22, 2009

Exploring the Roots of Our Craft: Travels in Bookbinding

By Bexx of White Sparrow Bindery

This past spring, the students in the full time bookbinding program at the North Bennet Street School embarked on a journey to the United Kingdom to explore the roots of their craft. The current instruction is heavily rooted in the English binding tradition, and many of our suppliers are located in the UK, so our week was action packed – we had six days of planned events the included twelve visits to various conservation labs, bookbinders, suppliers, and libraries.
We raised money for the trip by selling handmade books in the North Bennet Street School Gallery, Mass Market, and The Boston Antiquarian Book fair. We also held regular bake sales, sponsored a waffle party, and held a raffle at the annual open house. Our efforts raised enough money to fund airfare for all 10 students that attended, a key element in making the trip possible.

Although we had support from the school, the trip was entirely student run. I led the planning efforts for the expedition, which included scheduling visits and coordinating traveling plans once in the UK. I had assistance from classmate Amelia Sorenson (’10), and our instructor Jeff Altepeter.

Here’s a quick look at the itinerary we followed during our trip:

British Library, Special Collections Department
Quick visit to the public exhibit at the British Library Centre for Conservation
Wellcome Library, Special Collections and Conservation Department


Early train to Brighton to visit P&S Engraving
(Optional)Visit to West Dean College Book and Paper Conservation Program in Chichester
(Optional) Visit to Royal Pavilion/hang out in Brighton center.

Early train to Northamptonshire to visit Harmatan and Oakridge Leathers Lunch in Northamptonshire, train back to London
Visit with bookbinder Bernard Middleton at his studio.

Shepherd’s Bindery, Rochester Row location to see conservation lab and fine
edition binding.
Travel to Wormsley Library, lunch at a pub on the way
Wormsley Library
Cocktails and showing of fine bindings owned my Lisa von Clemm at her London

Designer Bookbinders annual meeting

(Optional) Visit with Mark Cockram at Studio 5

Although planning the trip and coordinating fundraising efforts was time consuming and sometimes stressful, the trip proved to be a truly delightful and enriching experience which brought me closer to my classmates and my craft. My only regret? That we couldn’t stay longer!

No comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...