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VLOG: How Is Vellum Made?

By Brian Hoey. Apr 21, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making

Vellum, a fine parchment traditionally made from calf skins, was for many years the default material for use in printing important manuscripts or documents. Many of Gutenberg’s first Bibles, for instance, were printed on Vellum, as were many illuminated manuscripts from the Medieval Era. And, in fact, despite the decrease in the material’s prevalence over the centuries, all British Acts of Parliament are still printed and archived on vellum. Differentiated from other forms of parchment by the quality of the animal skin used (debate continues as to whether vellum must refer to parchment made from calf skins or if it is more broadly applicable to finer quality parchment), vellum is extremely labor-intensive to produce. The resulting product, however, is durable and high-qualitysuitable for printing a book of hours or a religious work.  To learn more about the process, check out the four videos below.

     
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Bird & Bull: A Fine History of a Fine Press

By Adrienne Rivera. Apr 11, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Collecting

In 1958, Henry Morris, inspired by piece of medieval paper he'd recently acquired and a new hobby of paper making, founded Bird & Bull Press. Bird & Bull Press published over seventy-five beautiful books, each printed on paper handmade by Morris himself or carefully selected and imported. Bird & Bull publications were printed by letterpress from metal type, creating books that not only serve as a lovely example of the skill and artistry that goes into bookmaking, typography, and paper making, but as a means of preserving a history and tradition that otherwise may have been lost.

     
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Local Legends: The Book Club of California

By Adrienne Rivera. Dec 22, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Collecting

The Book Club of California was founded in 1912 when John Henry Nash, W.R.K. Young, James D. Blake, and Edward Robeson Taylor went to lunch with Charles Moore. Nash and company were hoping to showcase some of the books they owned in the upcoming Panama Pacific International Exposition. Moore said their entry would have more weight if the request came from an organization rather than a handful of individuals. Though the exhibition fell through, the newly formed Book Club of California grew to 58 members by the end of the year. Now, membership is close to 1,000. The club is the oldest fine press publisher in the country to continually release fine press books.

     
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VLOG: Four Videos on the Art of Chromolithography

By Matt Reimann. Dec 20, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making

The word lithograph comes from lithos, the Greek word for stone. Lithography differs from similar image-based printing methods by not requiring the artist to carve into the medium, as she would have to do with a copper engraving or a woodcut relief. Instead, she draws the image onto the smooth surface of a limestone block, and then uses oil and other substances to transfer it onto paper.

     
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7 Videos to Take You Inside the Craft of Paper Making

By Matt Reimann. Nov 25, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making

No matter how far the digital age encroaches, nothing will ever replace the joys of paper. The pleasures of underlining words with pen or of feeling the page in your hand are hard to beat. Some even argue memory-retention is better when one reads on paper than on the screen. From Ancient Egypt, to Han Dynasty China, to Gutenberg’s Europe, paper has long been a treasured object. Here are seven videos to renew your admiration for the incredible craft of papermaking.

     
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Collecting and Preserving Broadsides

By Audrey Golden. Nov 18, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Fine Press, Book Collecting

Are you considering expanding your current book collection to include paper ephemera? If so, you might want to learn more about collecting and preserving broadsides. Sometimes you will also see broadsides described as “broadsheets.” Now that you know the terminology, you might be asking: what in the world is a broadside? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is “a sheet of paper printed on one side only, forming one large page.” But this definition doesn’t fully explain the significance of these items. Broadsides are among the most sought-after items for collectors: from those interested in sixteenth-century political ephemera to those putting together collections of twentieth-century poetry. No matter what era or genre your collection spans, you might be interested in adding some of these materials to your library.

     
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A Brief Guide to Collecting the Works of Eric Gill

By Leah Dobrinska. Nov 10, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, Fine Press

Eric Gill was a sculptor and engraver who is now best known for his scandalous personal behavior alongside his spiritual art. Gill remains a controversial artist. As his biographer Fiona MacCarthy so aptly puts it, “Does consciousness of artists' reprehensible behaviour (Gill, [today,] would no doubt be in prison) put up a barrier between the viewer and the work? Or does knowledge of the artist's life, fallibilities included, amplify and enrich our understanding of the art?”* While that question may be one each individual must answer for him or herself, for those interested in the work of Eric Gill, what collectibles should you seek out?

     
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Aurora Teardrops: An Interview with Author Harold Budd and Artist Jane Maru

By Leah Dobrinska. Nov 2, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Interviews

Heavenly Monkey is set to release its latest fine press publication: Aurora Teardrops. The booka collection of poems by legendary musician Harold Budd and batik paintings by artist Jane Maruhas been in production for over two years, but the collaboration between author and illustrator is something that’s existed for longer still. Indeed, the entirety of Aurora Teardrops proves to be the perfect melding of different parts—each shining bright on its own but glowing when combined.

Rollin Milroy and Heavenly Monkey worked closely with Harold and Jane to hone the overall concept and ensure the final product was the right combination of materials, methods, and presentation. Both Harold and Jane were kind enough to sit down and answer some questions about Aurora Teardrops, their work as individuals, and their collaborative efforts. We hope you enjoy this extra insight into a truly phenomenal work. As a limited edition, we’d encourage you to reserve your copy today.      
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VLOG: Six Videos on the Art of Woodcut Printing

By Matt Reimann. Oct 21, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making

Let’s face it: no matter how much we love reading, everyone likes to look at a good picture. Printers and publishers have long known this, and have struggled for suitable ways to include images alongside set type. The key was to make the illustration copyable, and for that function, bookmakers depended on engravings. And for centuries, woodcuts were king. Today, we’re bombarded with printed images on magazines, billboards, and elsewhere, but unfortunately, none bear the aura of intimate craftsmanship like engravings do.

     
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An Introduction to The Golden Cockerel Press

By Leah Dobrinska. Oct 18, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press

Our love affair with fine press is no secret. And we’re in good company. Countless collectors and bibliophiles have discovered the art of fine press printing and savor the chance to compile libraries filled with these creative masterpieces. (If you’re new to fine press and would like to know more, start here!) The history of fine press is an interesting one, and we often focus on currently functioning fine presses. For example, we recently spotlighted a modern fine press printer, Two Ponds Press, which touts works like The Brownsville Boys and a Margaret Wise Brown original. Today, we’d like to look to a fine press publisher who thrived during the early part of the 20th century: The Golden Cockerel Press. Read on for interesting information about the history of this great press, some notable publications, and some necessary collector’s points.

     
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How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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