My Week At Arrowmont
I’m exhausted! The good kind of exhausted. Every waking minute (there are NO televisions in the rooms) was spent making, observing and/or speaking with other artists about art – all kinds of art (and eating delicious meals).
We learned a lot about historical leather bindings, leather and leather tooling from Jana Pullman. I was kinda hoping for some instruction on her overlay and inlay techniques (her work is incredible) but the class was geared more towards making the basic leather structures.
|Larger Book – 5 3/4″ x 3 1/2″
Day 1 – we made a Nag Hammadi binding using Kangaroo leather and papyrus for end covers. Jana was generous in sharing her leather tools (she showed us how she made a most of them – which means I can too) we spent a lot of time designing and tooling our covers.
|Larger Book – Tooled Back
I got done a little early, there were scraps of leather left AND there was still daylight – so I came back after dinner to make a miniature of the Nag Hammadi. I didn’t bring signature paper and since there wasn’t anyone else around to ask for some I glued two pieces of paper towel together and cut them to size for my signatures. The scraps of the papyrus weren’t big enough for end covers so I cut them into strips and wove them together to make a piece large enough to cover. Fun….
|Smaller Book – 2 5/8″ x 1 3/4″
Day 2 – we made a Vade Mecum (translated means “come with me”) using cow leather. Again we spent a lot of time designing and tooling the covers. This time we also dyed the leather. I had some leather paint with me so I masked off some areas – dyed, then painted and rubbed off the paint (that’s why there are various shades on my large cover).
|Larger Book – 7″ x 3″
Smaller Book – 3″ x 1 1/2
Then making a miniature book like the larger books we made became a “thing” and was fun.
|Signatures are cut and folded.
|Larger Book – 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″
Smaller Book – 2 3/4″ x 2 1/8″
Notice the Gold Tooling?
Day 4 – we started the Medieval Gothic binding. Geeze! This was a lot of work. We used chisels to chip away at the oak board covers where the cords get inserted and glued in as well as a groove for the leather strap. This didn’t turn out as good as it should have. I think I’ll leave well enough alone on this one but I have to make one that looks right to me. Then I don’t need to make another one 😉
|Larger Book – 5″ x 3 5/8″
Smaller Book – 2 1/2″ x 1 7/8″
Again, notice the tooling – how cool is this?
I still have a whole roll of it.
|We all chose to make headbands
The miniature boards were made using a double thickness of chipboard, leather scraps I brought with me and marbled paper.
Day 5 – we finished the Medieval Gothic Binding book before lunch. I brought with me a roll of gold foil I found at a yard sale (I wasn’t sure exactly what it was). Jana had Arrowmont bring us a hot plate, she took out her leather tools and we experimented with the foil. IT WORKED!
This was just a little of what there is to know about working with leather.
I wish I had gotten permission to share pictures of the other student’s work – they all looked different.
The staff and assistants at Arrowmont were fabulous!!