Books: Designer Bindings

‘A Outrance’ by Philip Pullman

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Designer fine binding for a letterpress limited edition by Oak Tree Fine Press.

The covers of this binding are constructed from strips of laminated leather and dyed parchment. Decorative details include washes of gold powder and tin onlays. Endpapers are hand painted. The container is covered in black raw silk with onlays that echo those of the binding.

The way I approach bindings nowadays is to create an object that could almost be breathed to life out of the story itself. So that in my imagination this binding as an object would fit in with every other object described in the story. Perhaps this binding could be “fit for a (bear) king”…
Symbolically all the colours and material choices reflect my own reaction to and interpretation of the story. I have used reindeer parchment and gold powder a lot, together with freely-formed melted tin which in itself has a very alchemical feel to me. I also wanted to add a personal touch, in this case a hint of blue on the otherwise red-toned binding, to signify the particular colour of nothern lights that appears very rarely.
One sentence by the author I was particularly drawn to and was therefore compelled to use on the binding’s endpapers: “Then his strength will flow into you, and my mind will flow into yours, and we’ll be like one person.”

We were also asked to give a name to the binding as artwork. I thought it might be rather appropriate to refer to “Paradise Lost” in my search. It indeed yielded the name I chose for my work – “Finite to Infinite” which holds in it everything I have aimed at with the concept of this binding.

Bound in 2009.

In private collection