Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Experiences

I've always loved books with gilded edges. Their fineness, elegance and preciosity fascinates me. So a few time ago when I received as present a book on how to do it I immediately had to try. It took me a few days to gather the tools and find a workshop that agreed to cut my book blocks with their guillotine, but I was all set up and ready to go. As you imagine, the experience was not at all as I expected.

After a day of work I end up frustrated by several unsuccessful trials but I decided if I can’t gild edges, at least I can paint them. That’s how these two vintage fabric journals came into existence. Now they are two of my favorite books.

The funniest thing is that in my frustration I went to the net to search for more info that could help me with the gilding. This is what I found (first hit in Google!). Hilarious!

Gilder's Lament
By Unknown Gilder ca. 17th Century

My size is prepared,
The leaf is laid out,
My agate is polished and smooth.
The press, it is loaded,
The edge has been scraped,
I feel like I'm in the groove.
I put on the size,
I lay on the gold,
My confidence reaching its peak.
I polish the edge,
Till I see by its shine,
The edge of perfection I seek.
I take the book out,
Fan open the leaves,
My heart stops still in mid-beat.
Where has the gold gone,
I look all around.
As the leaf flakes onto my feet.
Oh, where did I err,
I did everything right,
But the gold, it just didn’t stick.
I love the gilt edge,
But the process is such,
That it leaves me feeling quite sick.

So gilding book edges has been a pain in the ass for more than 3 centuries. Why would I even be surprised by my first experience?!