What could be better if you love book arts than a week spent making books? Well, perhaps a week spent making books with a terrific book artist and great teacher. I'm fortunate to live in book artist Dan Essig's home town and just as lucky to have access to BookWorks, a wonderful book arts center, where Dan taught a "Book-a-Day" workshop this past week. About half of the students came from out-of-town, and most of those from outside the state, fairly typical for Dan's workshops.
Dan is best known for his books in wood and for his sculptural works (see The Penland Book of Handmade Books -- that's Dan's book on the cover), but this class covered books made with paper, papyrus, leather and mica, employing various bindings.
Here are some pix from Day 1. The book's cover houses two text blocks. It's not a dos-a-dos (a book that contains two text blocks, each text block having its own cover and the two books sharing a back cover); instead, the two books face in the same direction, and fold over each other. Each text block is attached to the spine with a long-stitch binding. We used paper made by papermaker Anne Marie Kennedy. It's wonderful, strong paper that behaves very much like leather, which makes it perfect for this fold-around cover.
Dan has tools, such as awls, available for sale. Some he's made, others are made by book artists and master toolmakers such as Jim Croft.