I’m always keen on learning new techniques and meeting new people. So this trip to Buenos Aires (BsAs) fulfilled both of those needs.
I obtained Eduardo Tarrico’s contact details through the BookArts Dist List. His only course for March was on simplified binding.
Simplified binding is a method developed by Sun Evrard, and in its simplest terms is a book cover method in 3 parts: a spine and 2 boards. What makes this fun is that each piece could be covered with different materials/colours.
The process is somewhat laborious as there is much glueing, waiting and sanding. Although this was aimed at novices, I was glad of my recent experience at work with Bradel binding. But even through the familiar techniques, there were a few handy tricks to learn. Eduardo was away in March teaching in Brazil, and the course would be run by his assistant Valentina.
This was an opportunity to meet locals and to practise my Spanish. The class was made up of four students: 2 from Argentina, one who had spent a year in New Zealand as I found out later, a student from Italy and myself. Over the next three Saturdays mornings we would troop into Eduardo’s studio to slowly progress on our books.
Valentina was both funny and meticulous. Funny because she made these strange sound effects after giving us some instructions, and meticulous in how and what she instructed. She wanted us to be able to reproduce this book in our home, so we took no short cuts using the board cutter. It was back to measuring basics. The class was structured in the following manner:
Week one: Folding and sewing sections
We used a clever jig to find the middle of the section and have all our holes in the correct place every time.
The second week after rounding and backing, we worked on getting our spine linings correct. We made our own headbands out of leather and lined the spine with three layers of cloth. Much sanding was then involved in getting the spine completely level.
In the third week we glued the spine hollow to the cloth joints and prepared the boards
Before we could cover the boards, they needed to be sanded. The spine edge of the board was given a very long bevel as it needed to fit neatly into the shoulder joint.
The next process was to cover the boards and add a filler so that the hollow space made by the edges of the turned over coverings didn’t show under the board leaf.
The end result. The covered boards are simply glued onto the cloth joint/spine hollow combination.
This method really allows a lot of creativity because all parts of the book can be of different materials and patterns. I could have learned this at work or from a book. What made the weekly sessions fun was the interaction I gained from meeting these women. We didn’t chat endlessly but we managed to share stories while we worked.
What I found really unusual was the fact that the studio space was in an apartment block; perhaps if you live in Europe this does not seem weird, but I am so used to the space we have here, to the enormous resources we have in terms of locations, that it didn’t occur to me that a workshop would be in a residential space. Like other places I was to visit a little later, the space was cleverly appointed and good use was made of it. I’d like to think that I will return next year to continue learning.