A Workshop with Tom Conroy
September 24th & 25th, 2010 (9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.)
At the Gladys Brooks Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory, The New York Academy of Medicine
For more information or to register, please contact Erin Albritton at email@example.com or call 212-822-7364
Workshop Fee: $250 (GBW members)/$300 (non-members)
This workshop will explore two parts of traditional tooling and design. Blind tooling indents and darkens a leather cover, giving an understated, elegant effect. Traditional panel design can be built up from guidelines boned directly on the cover, without a paper pattern.
After examining, analyzing, and discussing examples of traditional panel design bindings in the collection of The New York Academy of Medicine, we will shift to tooling blind panel designs directly on plaquettes. A steel or brass creaser (not a roll) will be used to line-in a double panel. A creaser slides in the guideline like a bobsled in a run, running more by touch than by sight; this sets, darkens, and polishes the lines. Then corner tools and ornaments are struck into the frames made with the creaser, designing directly on the leather while tooling. Finally, smaller ornaments are added to fill the empty space and intensify the design.
Before 1800, the sequential elaboration of designs based on these techniques was used to produce anything from mass-production single panels to the most elaborate overall gold tooling. Frequent use of simple panel designs trained finishers’ eyes to good proportion; and elaboration on a familiar simple skeleton helped to keep complicated versions in proportion. The combination of blind tooling with layout on the book still has much to offer modern binders.
Tom Conroy is a professional book restorer, toolmaker, and binding historian. His main benchwork training came from Anne and Theodore Kahle at Capricornus between 1981 and 1988. He holds an MLIS from the University of California at Berkeley, and worked there toward an MS in Wood Science and Technology. He is the author of Bookbinders’ Finishing Tool Makers 1780-1965 and many articles, and he has taught workshops all over the country. Currently he is affiliated with the American Bookbinders’ Museum in San Francisco, where he describes himself as “one of the exhibits.”
Please find directions to The New York Academy of Medicine here: