Some years ago an important exhibition entitled "Livres en Broderie" - reliures françaises du moyen âge à nos jours - took place at the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal in Paris.
Along with a few designer bookbinders, I was asked to bind a book in collaboration with an embroiderer. I had already produced some bindings using fabrics in my own way so I was very interested in the subject, but I wanted to do both the embroidery and the binding. This fact was important to me because no professional embroiderer would have accepted my way of transforming the needlework. The organizers accepted my request (see binding 6). Click images.
Prepare: A piece of handmade paper according to the book’s size.
A piece of silk or other natural fabric. You can also use small pieces of tissue or ribbons and make a patchwork.
One board, the same size as the paper.
One metal plate the same size as the board.
Six pieces of silicon paper the same size as the board. Two wooden boards to put the paper into the press.
A mixture of 50% PVA and 50% Methylcellulose with addition of water, to obtain the consistency of shampoo.
A roller or a thick brush to spread the adhesive as smoothly as possible.
A natural sponge.
The technique: Lay the paper on the board and cover it with a thin layer of adhesive. Flatten the fabric over the paper and spread a small quantity of adhesive to cover it. Put a piece of silicon paper on top of the adhesive and a metal plate covering it all.Place the four layers between wooden boards and put them in the press under maximum pressure.
Take the ‘sandwich’ out of the press and pull off the silicon paper. With a slightly damp sponge clean away the excessive adhesive from the fabric’s surface. Renew the silicon paper and press again (the silicon paper can be cleaned and re-used when dry). This operation must be repeated until no adhesive comes to the surface. Then the sandwich can remain in the press for ten minutes controlled half an hour controlled again and finally be left alone to dry always under strong pressure.
Due to the fact that there is a piece of metal on top and a much weaker surface under the paper, if you are using an embroidered tissue the surface will become flat and smooth and the bumps will protrude underneath. To obtain an even under surface, you can use a paring knife or coarse sanding paper when the tissue is dry.
Try different materials. A silky surface very similar to vellum can be obtained using Japanese paper.
The ‘hidden weft’ fabric can be used with many binding structures. Click samples.
All the images in this page are dromographies. See section "Call me Dromo"