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Summer 2014

The Publication of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers
Pressing Matter
Message froM THe presidenT
Collaboration abounds!
ello Everyone,
Happy Spring! It I hope you are all enjoying this nice warm weather after a rough
As always, we have lots going on, and this newsletter reports on most of it; workshops, an
exhibit, the start of another collaboration. Please read the reviews of the two excellent work-
shops with Todd Pattison and Jef Peachey written by chapter members Kristin Balmer and
Ruth Scott Blackson, respectively.
Our miniature book exhibit, titled <3 Handcrafted Miniature Books, opened at the Clar-
ence Ward Art Library in early March. Te Library generously ofered a purchase prize and
during the three months that the exhibit was on display, students, staf, and library visitors
were asked to vote for their favorite book. Al-
though Graham Pattens Earth Dreams won
frst place, it was not for sale and the purchase
prize went to Todd Pattison for Biblioteca
Veneziana. Congratulations, to both Graham
and Todd!
All the miniature books will be on display
here at the Library Company starting later
this month and we will have an opening reception on July 10. Tat same evening, we will co-
sponsor a talk (with the Library Company) by Paula Zyats titled Te Mysterious Voynich
Manuscript: Collaboration Yields New Insights. Watch your email for more details on this
fun and interesting evening event.
Our collaborative book project got of to a great start with the number of participants top-
ping out at an amazing forty people! Tis is just about half our membership and it brings the
edition size to a nice challenging 42. I cant wait to see all the maps.
Speaking of numbers, our membership has passed another hurdle: we now have over
eighty members! It is very exciting to see our membership grow like this. At the same time,
there is some pressure to keep up the interest with plenty of diverse activities for our mem-
bers. Tis is why I wanted to take on the (admittedly boring) task of updating our Chapter
Guidelines. I am hoping that we will have an expanded committee to help with some of the
work that goes into organizing these activities. Later this month we will have our election,
and also some non-elected positions on the committee will open up. Please think about join-
ing us by taking on a committee position. Details will follow soon on which positions will
become available. P
Jennifer Rosner
Chapter Chair
in this issue
Six Questions
page 2
Jeff Peachey
page 3
The Case for Leather
page 5
Upcoming Events
page 6
neW MeMBers:
David Donahue,
Philadelphia, PA
Frances Osugi,
Philadelphia, PA
Gerri Black, Egg Harbor
Township, NJ
Leslie Marsh, West
Chester, PA
Madeline Lambelet,
Philadelphia, PA
Mary Phelan,
Philadelphia, PA
Margaret Garnett,
Gettysburg, PA
delaWare Valley
CHapTer offiCers
Jennifer rosner
Chapter Chair
alice austin
Secretary, Treasurer,
denise Carbone
Programs Co-chair
Jon snyder
Valeria Kremser
Page 2 Delaware Valley Guild of Bookworkers pressing MaTTers Summer 2014
How long have you been a member of the
I joined the Guild of Book Workers in
1981. I was just out of college and was work-
ing at the Harcourt Bindery in Boston. I was
a member of the New England Chapter until
the early 1990s. I moved to Washington and
have been a member of the Potomac Chapter
since then. Im living in Gettysburg, Pennsyl-
vania now, about 2 hours from Wash-
ington and 3 hours from Philadelphia.
I joined the Delaware Valley Chapter
this year also because I wanted to
become familiar with things that were
going on in this region as well.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Acton, Massachu-
setts, which is a northwestern suburb of
When did you realize you wanted to
learn bookbinding?
I was an Art History major in college
and took a seminar in the Rare Book
Room. A bookbinder, Barbara Blu-
menthal, demonstrated some aspects of
bookbinding for one of our classes. Af-
ter this, one of my classmates and I pursued
lessons from local bookbinder David Bour-
beau (in Northampton, Massachusetts). My
fellow student is now Senior Head of Books
and Manuscripts at Christies in London.
She is very smart.
What is your favorite book structure these
I work entirely on old books and I plan
each binding treatment based on its age,
origin, the fexibility of its text materials, etc.
So I cant really say I have a favorite structure.
My major concern is to make a binding that
optimizes the openability of the book and is
also in keeping with its historical context.
What are you working on right now?
I work half time with students in
Special Collections at Gettysburg Colleges
Musselman Library. We have been doing a
book cleaning and conservation assessment
project and some rebacking of Civil War era
cloth books. Lately Ive also done several ses-
sions for visitors on edge treatments of books:
colored edges, pasted edges, gilt and gaufered
edges, foredge paintings. Its been so much
fun to fnd examples in our collections and
people have been very responsive to them.
I also work half time in a workshop in
my home. Right now Im working on prob-
ably the oldest book Ive ever worked on, a
manuscript Haggadah from Spain dated about
Tell us something about yourself that might
surprise us.
I am extremely technology-challenged. I
dont carry a cell-phone, I dont text, I dont
have a lap-top and dont ever try to friend
me on Facebook because youll never hear
back (I gave up trying to fgure it out). P
6 Questions - Mary Wooten
Mary Wooten
in her studio.
Delaware Valley Guild of Bookworkers pressing MaTTers Summer 2014 Page 3
By Ruth Scott Blackson
orking in a small book restora-
tion bindery in South Philadel-
phia we pare leather at least twice a
week. Early last year (as a Christmas
present to myself ) I bit the bullet and
purchased my very own Jef Peachey
paring knife. It really has been a
dream to work with. After a wonder-
ful visit with Denise Carbone at the
American Philosophy Society (to tour
the conservation lab) she asked me
if there were any type of workshops
myself and my co- workers would
be interested in suggesting through
Te Delaware Valley Chapter of the
Guild of Bookworkers. Straight away I
mentioned that I would love to attend
a Jef Peachey sharpening and knife
making workshop. Afterall, it is all
very well owning a well functioning
tool, but pretty useless if I am unable
to maintain it.
In March I received an email from
Jennifer Rosner (Chapter Chair) an-
nouncing a Jef Peachey Knife sharp-
ening and making workshop to take
place at the end of April. I jumped for
joy at this news and, immediately put
my name down for the workshop.
Myself, and my co-worker Madeline
Lambelet were excited for many weeks
before the workshop and thankful for
the opportunity to learn knife making
and sharpening from the expert. Te
workshop itself took place at Denise
Carbones beautiful home in an out-
side space between her house and stu-
dio. Each person in the workshop (8
of us) had their own workstation made
from cinder blocks, and on it a sharp-
ening system, with which to work.
Te day was spilt up into two activi-
ties, in the morning we learned how
to actually make our own knife from a
hacksaw blade and in the afternoon we
sharpened knives (many of us brought
our own knives to work on). I was very
eager to learn how to make my own
small paring knife.
Jef was a great teacher, he gave us a
lot of information in terms of the sci-
ence of sharpening as well as the dif-
ferent knives that are available and the
range of uses they have. In order for
a knife to sharpen efectively it must
have a bevel of 13 degrees. We started
out with half of a small hacksaw blade
and each sanded the 13 - degree bevel
on a belt sander. Tis was a little in-
timidating to start with but easy to use
Jef Peacheys sharpening workshop
Jeff peachey
techniques at
gBW member
Continued on next page
Page 4 Delaware Valley Guild of Bookworkers pressing MaTTers Summer 2014
after a few minutes. With a little bit of
persistence we were then ready to go
onto the sharpening system. Te sys-
tem we used was designed and made
by Jef and we worked with 4 diferent
type grits, (80, 40, 15 and 5 microns).
We started with 80 micron and then
moved down to 5 microns. Jef also
taught us to use water as a lubricant on
the sheets to keep the metal particles
from glazing over. Amazingly, after an
hour of sharpening my small hacksaw
blade, it actually does pare leather.
After lunch we all worked on our
own knives that we owned that needed
to be sharpened. I had brought in an
old knife that I had learned to pare
with (but was now very blunt). Jef
suggested I use the belt sander to get
it back to 13 degrees, this took some
time and I only just started sanding
it on the sharpening system when the
workshop came to an end. Te next day
I went straight to the studio (where I
work) and began sharpening my knife.
It took me around 1 hour but this
once old looking blunt knife now pares
leather like butter. I was amazed and so
happy to know that I am now able to
sharpen and make my own knives, (a
valuable tool as a book binder).
I am so thankful to Jef for con-
ducting this wonderful workshop to
Denise for being a wonderful host and
getting the ball rolling to make the
workshop happen, and my thanks also
go to Jennifer Rosner and Alice Austin
for organizing the workshop. Learning
to make my own knife and to sharpen
it is a life skill that I wont forget. P
Jeff brought vintage
blades to show, and
demonstrated making
your own knives from old
Continued from previous page
Delaware Valley Guild of Bookworkers pressing MaTTers Summer 2014 Page 5
By Kristin Balmer
t is a beautiful day out, but we dont mind because
the pleasures inside rival the sunshine.I love the
conservation department at the Library Company
and look forward to workshops hosted there.Todd
Pattison is an engaging, efective teacher, and lots of
fun!He has displayed his collection of leathers for us
to pick through in the massive submersion sink, and
we handle them all before making our selections.
Todd is teaching us a tech-
nique he learned from his time
with the Swiss binder Hugo
Peller.Tose of us with limited
or no experience working with
leather have been encouraged to
try it out; its a good frst project.
Basically, it is a modifed Ger-
man Case binding in which the
paper strip is connected to the
boards at a distance of an inch
and a half or so from the spine
edge. Todd made case models
for us to write notes on instead
of the usual handouts.Te
model looks like some kind of
Victorian paper toy, or oversized
night moth, when standing on its
Tere are several advantages
to using this binding. Creatively,
it allows for variety in material
choices.One can have all sorts
of combinations of spine and board coverings. It also
allows for complex design treatment in front to back
without the stress of making a mistake on a large piece
of leather. Te book artist doesnt have to commit to
the whole case at one time; elements can be worked
out singularly, with less rush, less waste, and less risk.
For the class we make a book with a leather spine
and paper or cloth covers. (I now have inspiration
for with leather we carefully thinned and edged, then
paste out a board (sacrilege!) and apply the cover ma-
terial. Next we do the spine side paste down and this is
where Todd shows us the special fap shaping that al-
lows the magic how-was-that-done? efect.We attach
the completed board edge to the spine, and then we do
the top and bottom pastedowns, lastly the fore edge.
Te clever top and bottom pastedowns hide the covers
connections to the spine.
After a cofee break with George Washington
cake, Todd shares a little trick with us while demon-
strating the casing-in. He uses Mylar sheets as bar-
rier between the textblock and the boards, forcing the
moisture of the pasting away from the textblock and
into the boards while the book is in the
press.While nipping his new book (a
gorgeous thing, made of hornet nest paper
and black shiny leather), Todd comments
on the Boy Scout Bookbinding Merit
Badge that decorates Jennifers press.I
have that badge, thats how I got into bookbinding, he
tells us.
So, how does this class measure up? Andrea Krupp,
a leather newbie, states, I always thought working
with leather involved heavy bindings with massive
text blocks, not something Im interested in. Case
bindings with leather always seemed makeshift and
awkward. Todds structure is a great way to achieve a
more formal look on a small text block.Elegant and
simple.I agree! Tis structure is a game changer for
me; I will certainly be using it in the future. Ill be
using more leather, too. P
The Case for Leather
Todd, left, along with workshop
participants and other friends, enjoyed
dinner together at alice austins house the
night before the workshop.
Page 6 Delaware Valley Guild of Bookworkers pressing MaTTers Summer 2014
Lecture and exhibition opening
The Mysterious Voynich
Manuscript: Collaboration
Yields New Insights

a talk by paula Zyats, assistant
Chief Conservator, special
Collections, yale University
he Voynich Manuscript, a
mysterious vellum manu-
script written in an un-
known language, was donated to
Yale Universitys Beinecke Rare
Book and Manuscript Library in
1969. In late 2008, an Austrian
flm crew approached the Beinecke
with a proposal to conduct materi-
als testing on the Voynich Manuscript and make a flm about
it. Tis prompted an exciting collaboration between cura-
tors, scientists, conservators, historians, and flmmakers. Tis
talk summarizes those fndings, outlining the history of the
Voynich Manuscript, some of the theories as to its origins,
conservation treatment, materials testing, and parchment
radiocarbon dating. Te advances though signifcant, are
humble: the Voynich Manuscripts authorship and meaning
remain a complete mystery.

Paula Zyats is a graduate of the Winterthur Museum/
University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. She
worked as Rare Books and Manuscripts Conservator at
CCAHA before coming to Yale, specializing in manuscripts
on parchment and paper. Paula has been in her present posi-
tion as Assistant Chief Conservator for Special Collections
at Yale University Libraries for the past 9 1/2 years. In that
time, she has been privileged to work on rare items from nu-
merous special collections within the Libraries, including the
Voynich Manuscript, and is currently working on a project to
treat and house ancient papyrus fragments. P
Small Wonders:
Miniature Books by
the Delaware Valley
Chapter of the Guild
of Book Workers
In the United States, a miniature book
is defned as a book that is no larger than
three inches in height, width, or thickness.
Te Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild
of Book Workers has asked its members to
make books with no other theme except to
meet that defnition. Tirty-one members
rose to the challenge.
Tis event of co-sponsored by the
Library Company of Philadelphia and the
Delaware Valley Chapter of the Guild of
Book Workers. P
Both events are on Thursday, July 10, 2014
The library Company of philadelphia
1314 locust street
5:30 7:30 pm - reception and exhibition
opening to follow (see below)
Click here to rsVp for both events
or go to
Delaware Valley Guild of Bookworkers pressing MaTTers Summer 2014 Page 7
And the winners are....