Thursday, January 31, 2013

Preservation Services: History of the (Big) Book

The Preservation Services Blog's latest post features my final book project for Professor Alex Halasz's "History of the Book" class!

In my role as a Book Arts Instructor, opportunities arise to work with students on book projects for their academic work. This past fall semester students in Professor Alexandra Halasz’s History of the Book class participated in a hands-on letterpress and binding exercise in class, and then had the option of producing a hands-on book project in lieu of a final term paper. Of the 17 students enrolled, 10 students chose this option, with three pairs of students choosing collaborative work.
Students employed a variety of facilities and workshops on campus: the 3-D printer at the engineering school, the woodshop and jewelry studios in the Hopkins Center, as well as the Jones Media Center, the Book Arts Workshops, and the Preservation Services conservation lab here in the Library. Each of these projects had their complexities, and students called on the expertise of instructors and technicians as needed. These photographs illustrate some of the steps Cally took to make her big codex book. She, along with other students, worked in our lab in Preservation Services, where her proximity to all of us allowed for instruction and advice as needed. 
Callista Womick '13 sews the light green endsheet onto her textblock of newsprint folios

Callista Womick '13 gluing up the spine

Callista Womick '13 rounding the spine

Callista Womick '13 preparing to cover the plywood boards with white bonded leather,
assisted by Book Arts Instructor Elizabeth Rideout

Callista Womick '13 done! Home to dry the book under weight.

Callista Womick '13's finished book displayed open

All of the pages are blank newsprint except for several somewhere in the middle, upon which is handwritten in graphite, a non-fictional narrative poem I captured in 2008, "SOS." The pale green endsheets are adorned with rubbed-out silhouettes of dogwood flowers, some so worn that they reveal the plywood covers beneath.

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