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Monique Lallier and Oak Knoll author Don Etherington at the American Academy of Bookbinding

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Monique Lallier and her husband, conservator and Oak Knoll author Don Etherington, have been at the American Academy of Bookbinding this past week participating in the Intermediate/Advanced Fine Binding class. This class has taken books that were originally just an idea and turned them into objects of art. Check out the new post on the American Academy of Bookbinding blog that shows some of the students at work, their creative designs, and a couple shots of Lallier and Etherington.

Also, click here to learn more about Don Etherington’s book Bookbinding & Conservation: A Sixty-Year Odyssey of Art and Craft and click here for more on Monique Lallier featured on our blog.

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Printmaking at the American Academy of Bookbinding

July 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Take a look at some of the recent work going on at the American Academy of Bookbinding in Telluride, Colorado. A new post on the blog of the AAB shows recent printmaking photographs taken at the academy. Also, check out some of the bindings done by the AAB faculty. The right-hand column includes photographs of the work of Monique Lallier, Don Glaister, and Oak Knoll author Don Etherington.

Click here to read more.

Highly Reviewed

May 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Oak Knoll regularly sends out copies of our new publications to be reviewed. Check out these short excerpts from a few of of the recent reviews that have been published.

A Catalogue of the Junius Spencer Morgan Collection of Virgil by Craig Kallendorf

“Bibliographers and bibliophiles alike may fairly rejoice in this product of ten years’ work: Kallendorf has provided an expansive and illuminating account, replete with illustrations and indexes, of more than 700 printed editions and translations (evidenced by some 900 copies) of the great Mantuan bard, ranging from the mid-fifteenth to the twenty-first centuries. The book itself is a tall and stately folio, printed on fine paper and accurately set by Michael Höhne, with rubricated headings throughout, not unlike many of the works it describes. There are 49 high-quality plates, including fifteenth-century illuminations, woodcut illustrations, fine bindings and title-pages bearing the signatures of the great classical scholars Daniel Heinsius (p.4) and Peiter Burman the Younger (p.141). Kalendorf is to be commended for this stimulating and eminently readable survey.” —D.J. Butterfield, The Book Collector 

Bookbinding & Conservation: A Sixty-Year Odyssey of Art and Craft by Don Etherington

“This slim, attractive volume packs a lot of information. Don has laid out the arc of his life to date, filling in the early formative years during and immediately following World War II and his apprenticeship in the 1950s London. More than an enjoyable read, this volume illuminates the training and development of not just one binder, but of a generation of British binders and conservators who heavily influenced the development of the library conservation field in the United States.” —Roberta Pilette, Libraries & the Cultural Record

Illustrated Periodicals of the 1860s: Contexts & Collaborations by Simon Cooke

“This handsomely printed and profusely illustrated book provides insight into the complex processes involved in illustrating British periodicals of “The Sixties”—that is, the period roughly from 1855 to the mid-1870s. In explaining these complex relationships, Cooke provides insights that will be valuable to the fields of librarianship, print history, and literary criticism. A surprising number of libraries in the United States have solid holdings of some of the magazines discussed in this book. The author’s ideas should aid scholars who study the magazines to understand their illustrations in new ways—not the least of which is the manner in which some of the illustrations enhanced the quality of the literary works in which they appeared. Cooke’s solid scholarship, which is based on many years of collecting and studying nineteenth-century British periodicals, artists’ drawings and proofs, plates, original correspondence and business records, published memoirs, and an extensive number of secondary sources, builds on his related articles, which have appeared in Brontë Studies, Thomas Hardy Journal, Victorians Institute Journal, and Victorian Periodicals Review.” —Maurice C. York, College & Research Libraries

The Last of the Great Swashbucklers: A Bio-Bibliography of Rafael Sabatini by Jesse F. Knight and Stephen Darley

“Rafael Sabatini’s many admirers will be glad to know that the bio-bibliography by the late Jesse F. Knight and Stephen Darley now exists, in a handsome hardcover form. The bibliography is meticulous in its details for the first English and first American editions, as well as later editions of some interest, such as Grosset & Dunlap’s photoplay editions. Dust jackets are illustrated when specimens were found, and I must shout my praise to the rooftops for Darley’s detailed descriptions of those jackets he had to hand. The main entries are very clear and detailed, and everything that anyone would hope for. But this book provided me with an enormous flash of inspiration. Every now and then Darley refers to copies out there in cyberspace, and from time to time refers to a title’s rarity. While preparing my own bibliography, Voyages in Space, I too from time to time referred to a book’s rarity. When I read Darley’s words, I thought to myself—why not conduct a kind of census for each title in my book by looking for copies on a meta-search engine such as AddAll. I’ve now started to do that— and what an enourmous help (as well as a lot of work) has it provided to be! To conclude, the bibliography has catered very well for the rational collector, and will prove to be an excellent addition to his shelves.” —George Locke, Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association Newsletter

An excerpt from Bookbinding & Conservation: A Sixty-Year Odyssey of Art and Craft

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

With the new year, we have added a new section to our blog. Similar to our blog entries containing excerpts from Bob Fleck’s book, Books about Books, we will be posting small sections from various Oak Knoll publications.

Our first entry is from Bookbinding & Conservation: A Sixty-Year Odyssey of Art and Craft by Don Etherington. Read about how Mr. Etherington first developed his skills in bookbinding.

In preparation for my interviews at the Central School the three crafts I felt would interesting to pursue were jewelry, engraving, and bookbinding. These courses lasted for three years and combined academic classes with the craft sessions. Bookbinding was actually my preferred choice at that time, though I have never really discovered why. In preparing a small portfolio of work for these interviews I had designed a complete alphabet of floriated capitals in color, a connection I imagine to those early classes of Miss Blades in copperplate handwriting. I was excited at being given this chance to interview at the Central School and I felt very sure that I wanted to pursue a career in which I could use my hands in a creative way. I interviewed at all three departments with the head instructors, and fortunately I was accepted for one of the six places available in bookbinding. The academic classes were held in a schoolhouse near Covent Garden, one or two miles from the Central. This entailed a lot of running between the two facilities when attending both academic and craft classes on the same day.

To gain furthers skills I also attended evening classes at the Central with instructors other than the daytime teachers. My instructor in the daytime was George Frewin, who had worked as a coverer for Sangorski and Sutcliffe, one of London’s finest binderies. He is pictured in the third row behind Stanley Bray, who is holding the firm’s cat. Also teaching at Central was Fred Wood, a wonderful craftsman.

Staff

Sangorski and Sutcliffe staff, June 3, 1947 (Stanley Bray is seated in the center holding the bindery cat, and George Frewin is in the third row behind Stanley)

Our class of six was very fortunate in having these two teachers, though in the beginning we had no idea how fortunate we really were. The evening teachers included Mr. Parks and the renowned binder William Matthews, who was Deborah Evetts’ teacher. Deborah Evetts became a very well known bookbinder and conservator and worked for many years at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. Only a couple of us from the day class also attended evening sessions, and I believe I was the only one of my day session classmates to enter the craft of bookbinding and continue working in that field as a career. At the same time i was at the Central School another student named Bryan Maggs was studying with William Matthews and became a very good binder in his own right. His family owned Maggs Brothers, one of the most famous rare bookshops in London. Bryan was for many years the chief librarian at the Paul Getty Collection, housed in a castle-like building near Oxford. This amazing collection includes a significant number of bindings of T.J. Cobden-Sanderson, and it is where I discovered his use of the concertina guard on his bindings.

My early bindings executed at The Central School when I was fourteen

My early bindings executed at The Central School when I was fourteen

The day classes under Ferwin and Wood were very important to me in those formative years. Their emphasis on quality work and patience was planted deeply within me. One aspect of their teaching that has stayed with me all these years is the minute accuracy that was demanded in all the steps we perform in bookbinding. For example, when placing the book in the laying press prior to trimming the edges with the plough,

I always had to have one of the instructors check to see if the book was exactly parallel to the checks of the laying press. Often I would have to take the book out not once but a number of times to achieve perfection. Having to satisfy them certainly tested one’s patience. This exactness was required of every operation. At times it drove all of us crazy, but I know now that these were important lessons to learn, particularly at the age of thirteen and especially at the beginning of a career in bookbinding. Amazingly, after only the first few weeks of classes I was completely enamored with the craft, and I have never over the course of more than half a century been bored by or tired of the work. I believe to this day that my work still reflects their standards. The debt I owe them is great and their spirit is passed on to all of the students I have taught utilizing those very same principles.