Victorian Bookbinders Guild

For all interested in the Art, Craft and Practice of Bookbinding                                             

The August 2018 Guild gathering was an interactive presentation on book structure critique, facilitated by Julian Renard.  Julian has been professionally involved with books most of his life, and has particular interests in rare books and fine bindings. 

 

Members were asked to bring in a selection of their own or favourite books to critique, and along with some books provided by Julian, these were itemised and then passed around.  On individual marking papers we were asked to make critical 

comment about each book, in regards to obvious or subtle faults about characteristics we didn’t like; as well as positive comments regarding a book’s more favourable qualities.

 

With a wide variety of style, the selection included some old 19th century novels with both original and contemporary bindings; a set of auction catalogues; a verse of anthology; a bound VBG newsletter volume from the 1990s; a few hand bound travel journals; a fine binding in clam-shell case by Betine Gresford; a very small original, religious tract from 1818; a very large rebound atlas; and a contemporary book on software - just to name a few.   Prior detailed inspection, some appeared beautiful, some a tad shabby.

The evaluation process took most of the session, culminating in a group discussion about the faults and merits of each book, and 18 were examined in total.  With such a myriad of characteristics, in thinking about both style and function, Julian suggested the following could be considered when handling any book, by asking:

Is the book easy to open, with correctly sized hinges, so it sits comfortably for easy reading, when held?   

Is the casing square and even, from front and back viewing, along the head, tail and foredge

Does the text block fit snuggly in the case, without overhanging pages?

Are the endpapers in good condition, do they look like they’ll last a good long book life?

Are the boards the correct size, with the right amount of overhang, and of appropriate weight for the size and purpose of the book?

Is there a groove present on the front case/cover, and is this (presence or absence) appropriate to the book?

Is the binding style appropriate for the size, and type of book?

Is there gilding present on the cover, to identify the book?

Is the gilding neat, even and appropriate in size and location, both on the front and spine?

A considerable amount of hearty discussion was generated through the evening, and the emphasis was on both the older books present and recommendations on contemporary book repair.  Much valuable comment was made as the conversations turned from former and current preservation practices, to individual advice for specific binding issues and problems.  All of this friendly banter suggests the value in attending these gatherings, in alluding to the collective bookbinding wisdoms that may be gleaned from one another.  Many thanks to Julian for this valuable and much appreciated session.

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Please send a short paragraph and a picture to the Editor, preferably by email to editor@vbg.net.au so that we can include your account in our next newsletter and on our website.

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Meetings & Events

Tue Feb 26 @18:00 - 09:00PM
Monthly Meeting February Marbling
Sat Mar 02 @09:00 - 06:00PM
Workshop Case Binding 101
Fri Mar 15 @09:00 -
Melbourne Book Art Fair.15-17th
Tue Mar 26 @19:00 - 09:00PM
Monthly Meeting March Bread and Cheese Club
Tue Apr 16 @19:00 - 09:00PM
Monthly Meeting April Note special date
Sat May 04 @10:00 - 06:00PM
Clunes Book Town 14th -16th
Tue May 28 @19:00 - 09:00PM
Monthly Meeting May Topic to be confirmed.
Tue Jun 25 @19:00 - 09:00PM
Monthly Meeting June Topic to be confirmed.
Sat Jun 29 @09:00 - 05:00PM
Workshop Conservation Boxes
Fri Jul 05 @09:00 - 09:00PM
Rare Book Week and Book Fair 04-15th
Tue Jul 23 @19:00 - 09:00PM
Monthly Meeting July Buy Swap and sell, AGM
Sat Jul 27 @09:00 - 05:00PM
Workshop Thesis Binding
Sat Aug 10 @09:00 - 05:00PM
Workshop Nag Hammadi
Tue Aug 27 @19:00 - 09:00PM
Monthly Meeting August Carmelite Library Joint Meeting
Tue Sep 24 @19:00 - 09:00PM
Monthly Meeting Sept To Be decided
Sat Oct 12 @09:00 - 04:00PM
Workshop Britannica section
Tue Oct 22 @19:00 - 09:00PM
Monthly Meeting October topic to be confirmed
Fri Oct 25 @12:00 -
Bind 19 Bookbinding Conference Sydney 25-27
Sat Nov 02 @09:00 - 04:00PM
Workshop to be confirmed
Tue Nov 26 @19:00 - 09:00PM
Monthly Meeting November. Binding Challenge and Breakup

Victorian Bookbinders Guild Inc.  Incorporated 1981     Registration No A2896  ABN: 97 853 169 281     PO Box 355, Seddon West, Victoria 3011