Sunday, September 12, 2010

The craft of bookbinding

I’m still at a point in my bookbinding work where I’m tackling new ideas and techniques. I delve into research of tools and materials that I can use, re-use, adapt or improvise. When I find myself getting too far away from the traditional I take a break, so I can jump back to the basics the next day. That’s how I’ve always functioned, I can’t do something for too long, so from time to time I must allow myself the time to miss it. 

            Hanns Landawer, bookbinder, 1532           Nicasius Florer, bookbinder, 1614

The other day I happened to find these great images that filled me with respect for the old times. They are reproductions from a project of Nürnberger City Library that edited and digitized the craftsmen illustrations from 15th-19th century house books of the Nürnberger Zwölfbrüderstiftungen. The website of the project has a huge database with over one thousand images of all master craftsmen at that time (some of which obsolete but very interesting, Bell ringer, Bird-catcher, Runner, etc). It’s so nice to see these portraits made in great detail, sometimes naively represented at work or with their occupation tools, accompanied by descriptions that reveals lovely details. The website is in German but a list in English of all occupations (and of tools, materials, products and even diseases!) can be found here if you want to check how your profession looks like.

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