Tintern’s Binding

A lot of things go on here in the studio. My partner Holly Dean and I operate a kind of cottage-industry craft-based business, and I still do some freelance writing. Invariably, in the fall, the lines converge and we get totally smoked with work, which takes us away from our more artistic pursuits. So, in the rush of a very busy fall, I had to push Tintern Abbey far ahead. A few blogs ago, when I was about ready to set type on the project, I used the metaphor of a train about to leave the station. It left all right — without me on it! Nevertheless, we still carve out an hour here or there to do a little artwork or at least plan for the future.

Last week, Holly and I had the opportunity to visit bookbinder Natasha Herman of The Redbone Bindery for a tutorial on edition binding, and not a moment too soon. As I write she’s already in Amsterdam, where she’ll reside for a year of two, so time was of the essence. We met in her tiny, partially dismantled basement studio in the evening after she put her young children to bed for the night. So we brought a hastily gathered offering of pizza and wine and chocolate brownies, and by about 9 pm we all went into the bindery where Natasha stepped us through a two part case in binding with French groove. We took in alot — ways to make the binding straight, clean, tidy with a mind to “mass”production, i.e twenty or twenty-five at a go. It was an enlightening session that didn’t finish until after midnight, and gave me an insight into what Tintern Abbey will look like when it is completed. There’s still some question over the cover paper: I think Holly’s hand-painted papers would look ideal; she thinks papers decorated with my linocuts would be better. Well, we’ll sort something out.

The 2-step case binding, with Holly's painted paper for the cover. The top is half finished, with the inside left unglued for future reference. The two below have endpages but not covers, and show the sewing, the tapes and the structure of the spine.


Bookbinder's tools of the trade

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2 Comments on “Tintern’s Binding”

  1. Holly Dean Says:

    Thank you for all the inspiration your blog gives me. I have presented you with the Liebster Blog Award. Congratulations!
    Check it out here:

  2. […] also my wood engravings. I know it would not have made it so far without Redbone Bindery‘s (Natasha Herman) elegant binding design for the regular edition, which incorporates Holly’s painted […]

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