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How to sharpen your paring knife
How to sharpen your paring knife Image
When I first started bookbinding 8 years ago, I went to the fundamentals class at the American Academy of Bookbinding with next to no tools. Luckily the class was in Ann Arbor at Hollander's, so I was able to purchase a lot of my tools on the spot.
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October: Month of Books (Part 3)
October: Month of Books (Part 3) Image
Flip- the 3rd Hong Kong Book Art Festival was held last weekend at the JCCAC. The Hong Kong Book Art Festival is a biennial event, where they hold an exhibition of books and host talks and workshops. The festival is organised and curated by Tiana Wong, showcased a wide range of works from USA, Japan, Australia, Singapore, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
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October: Month of Books (Part 2)
October: Month of Books (Part 2) Image
The springback binding is a trade binding that was originally patented in Great Britain in 1799 by John and Joseph Williams. The springback's ability to lie open and flat for long periods of time made it an ideal structure for accounts/ledger books. The Preservation and Conservation Department of the Hong Kong University Libraries comes across quite a few springbacks that require repair, as Hong Kong used to be a trading port and a finance center, where most records were kept using account books.
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October: Month of Books (Part 1)
October: Month of Books (Part 1) Image
October has been a month full of bookbinding events. Monique Lallier and Don Etherington were in Hong Kong the first three weeks conducting a workshop, a lecture and a demonstration on fine binding, conservation and trade binding. The past weekend was Flip- the 3rd Hong Kong Book Art Festival , where they invited cross disciplinary book artists and bookbinders to exhibit, lecture and give workshops. It's been a busy but exciting and fulfilling month.
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Lecture and Springback Demonstration
Lecture and Springback Demonstration Image
In October, my mentor Monique Lallier and her husband Don Etherington will be in Hong Kong to conduct lectures and a demonstration. Their lecture will be on the 11th October, from 6:00 to 8:00pm, at the main library of the University of Hong Kong. Monique will be talking about how she got into design binding, the progression of her career and she will show photos of her works. Don will be talking about his time in Florence as a conservator after the Florence flood and how that experience has influenced the current conservation practices. Please click here to register.
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Cassette binding
Cassette binding Image
My friend Sarah came by to my studio over the weekend to chat and also to work on a cassette binding. Cassettes have four holes which we decided that the Coptic stitch would work well for this as most other bindings require extra holes for the kettle stitches.

Coptic binding is an ancient binding method used by early Christians in Egypt, the Copts, in the second century to the eleventh century. The Coptic binding is the first codex, where a number of folded sheets of paper/vellum/papyrus are bound together by sewing through the folds. As a contemporary format, the Coptic stitch is seen in book arts as a decorative element.

For my cassette binding, I used the cassette for the front cover, signatures of colour paper and a board covered with decorative paper as the back cover. I used black and yellow thread for one set of holes and red and white thread for the other set of holes. We were discussing that with the Coptic it would be ideal to use curved needles for going back to link the previous signatures. Also, when doing the Coptic, I prefer having more signatures as it would better enhance the linking in the stitching.
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Doublures
Doublures Image
The definition of a doublure from the Webster dictionary is the lining of a book cover; especially an ornamental lining (as of tooled leather, painted vellum, or rich brocade).
There are many types of doublures, the photo above shows a sunken suede doublure, a contrasting colour edge to edge doublure and also a plaquette showing the process of how to prepare the surface for an edge to edge doublure (from left to right).
A sunken doublure is created by sticking a frame on the board prior to covering. This has to be planned in advance as the shoulder has to accommodate for this thickness. The turn ins are wider to cover the frame and you would cover the forth side of the frame the same way as you would do a leather hinge. The thickness of the material that you use for the frame would be the same thickness as what you would have for the inset.
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OPEN • SET
OPEN • SET Image
OPEN • SET competition is a new fine binding competition in the United States, that is conducted every three years. The competition is sponsored by the American Academy of Bookbinding, where I've been taking fine binding classes. The competition consists of two categories, an open category where the binder can choose a book of their choice and a set category with a set book. The set book for this year is "Inside the Book" by David Esslemont.

My two books were chosen to go on the traveling exhibit in the United States. Here are the 2017 exhibition venues:
Denver – Denver Public Library – January 5 – 28
San Francisco – San Francisco Center for the Book – February 1 – March 4
Iowa City – University of Iowa – March 8 – April 19
Telluride – Ah Haa School for the Arts – April 24 – May 20
Boston – North Bennett Street School – June 8 – July 14
Austin – Austin Public Library – July 26 – August 26
Seattle – Seattle Public Library – September 8 – October 28
Salt Lake City – University of Utah – November 10 – January 19
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Collaborative Book Arts Project
Collaborative Book Arts Project Image
I've always liked the idea of collaborating with other artists on a project. My ideal project would be to get different artists to contribute to a book much like the Winter Book. This year I got a chance to collaborate with a few Hong Kong artist on a book arts project. This project won the second edition of Open Call for Young Curators organised by Gallery Mur Nomade.

Sojourn with Stranger is a limited edition artists' book curated by Hilda Chan. The project is inspired by Nagasaki (2010), a novel by French writer Eric Faye. Nagasaki is based on a real story about a Japanese man living alone and discovering only after nearly a year that there has been an intruder living in his house. This story addresses the issues of space, ownership, isolation and lack of privacy in modern societies.

I worked alongside Wai Lau (photographer), Beatrix Pang (book designer) and Wawa (poet) to create an edition of 10 books. We printed Lau's photograph on tyvek, cut, scored and folded it into an accordion book. An excerpt of “Anna and Anna”, Wawa's poem, was letterpress printed (in her own hand-writing) onto a cardstock. I then created an origami enclosure to house the different elements. The idea behind the enclosure is that it should be unsuspecting when closed, by opening the enclosure, one reveals the story.

Our project was exhibited at Gallery Mur Nomade from 3rd to 24th of December 2016. In 2017, Tai Kwun collected a copy and exhibited our project at Art Basel, Hong Kong 2017.

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