Once the design had been established for the book and the sample board created, it was time to work on the binding. Firstly the book was removed from the original cover and pulled to take it back to individual sections.
The sections were then re-sewn onto four linen tapes using waxed linen thread. I used some of the original holes that were already pierced though the folded sections.
Once the pages were sewn up it was necessary to work on the endpapers (and corresponding doublures) so the sewing of the text block could be completed with these attached to the front and back. I used the same irridescent bronze paint with the thinning medium that I had tried out on the textured leather (see previous blog post for details), using a roller to spread it out on a piece of smooth Zerkall paper. This was then left to dry for a number of days.
I cut very thin strips of brown Mi-Teintes paper, which were to form the ‘shelves’ of a miniature library. As the rolled paint was oil-based, these strips of paper didn’t stick very well to its surface during my tests. Once dry, I marked out where the book shelves were going to be and then scored the top surface of the paper and peeled back the top layer, a strip the same width as brown Mi-teintes strips. This helped the strips of brown paper glue down (see below image on the left).
The same was true when it came to each of the books on the shelves. Once I had cut the thinly pared leather to the size of the book required: either for a single book or a larger piece for a block of books standing together on the shelf. I laid the leather cut-out down in the right position, lightly scored around it so I could see the outline, and then scraped away some of the inked paper from behind. This then gave it more chance of adhering properly once it was stuck down (see below image on the right).
I also added pen and pencil detail to the brown paper strips to give more of an appearance of wood grain. Plus where each of the shelves intersected, I placed a dot of gold leaf (backed onto Japanese paper), punched with my Japanese hole punch before being stuck in place.
I pared down lots of different colours of leather for the miniature books. I largely worked the front and back spreads so that they were a mirror image, leaving gaps for specific reference books that I was going to include. The book spines gave great scope for adding different titles and imagery to them, taking inspiration from both books and ideas within the story plus also representing books from the library of the client’s father who the binding was to be gifted to.
I was sent images of specific books from the library in secret and I simplified the design of these covers so that they could appear in miniature form on the endpapers and doublures, turning them to face outwards so the the full front covers of most of these special books were the focus rather than their spines. Some were more obvious representations of the larger version, and others identifiable by unique clasps or patterns. One of which that was included was actually a binding of mine the the client’s father has in his collection: Randall Davies and His Books of Nonsense, bound in yellow goatskin with a hexagonal honeycomb pattern and bees all over it!
As well as these specific miniature books there was a list of other possibilities from within the novel which I also included:
- ‘L Space’ – This concept springs from the idea that libraries are infinite and you can reach any other library from another library – the Librarian in the book takes a ball of string, ties it to his desk and then heads off into L-space to travel back in time. All libraries are therefore connected.
“It is via L-space that all books are connected (quoting the ones before them, and influencing the ones that come after). But there is no time in L-space. Nor is there, strictly speaking, any space. Nevertheless, L-space is infinitely large and connects all libraries, everywhere and everywhen. It’s never further than the other side of the bookshelf, yet only the most senior and respected librarians know the way in.”Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
The ‘L-Space’ title was included on one of the book spines, plus a line of gold thread to show the ball of string travelling a path between them. The embroidered detail was added here by first pricking the shape of the line through the endpapers (once all of the books were complete and on the shelves), then hand-sewing a line of gold thread using a running stitch. The running stitch was then whipped with an extra run of gold thread on the top surface of the paper to consolidate the sewn line.
I had made the endpapers larger than they needed to be, so with this in mind I knew they still needed to be cut to the size of the text block. On the left hand side the image below, you can see a little slot cut into the paper where the embroidered gold thread line ends, this was to ensure that the sewing stopped clear of the edge of the page and wouldn’t break whilst the foredge of the text block was sanded during a later stage of the binding process. This line of ‘string’ was designed to travel right the way round from the front doublure and endpaper, across the spine, onto the back endpaper and finish with a ball of string placed on the back doublure.
- There is an equation used for this: knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass
“Knowledge = power = energy = matter = mass, and on that simple equation rests the whole of L-space”Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
The equation was placed along the same path as the embroidered string line. Tooled in carbon onto a piece of Japanese paper, torn at the edges into the correct shape this was stuck down on top of the detail behind.
- The Laws And Ordinances of The Cities of Ankh And Morpork.
“This is the book given to Carrot Ironfoundersson by local Copperhead trader, Mr. Varneshi, when he is sent to Ankh-Morpork to become a Watchman. He is told that ‘You have to know all the laws to be a good officer.’ Carrot is nothing if not literal-minded, so he sets out to memorize the thick volume.”About Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
The title of this book is just visible in the bottom right hand corner of the below image. Tooled in carbon onto a strip of paper and then stuck to the spine of the miniature book.
The larger blocks of leather were divided up into collections of books by blind-scoring a division line in the onlay and then running a very thin nib pen down this groove to break it up visually. The top edge of the onlay was also scalloped slightly to show the different books spines. Extra detail was then added to the books as individual spines.
- Royalty – this is a big theme of the book, the joke being that one of the characters is the undiscovered rightful heir to the throne of the city, and although he has an ancient sword (which is very plain and distinctly not magical (unusual for swords on Discworld, apparently) but very sharp), he has no interest in becoming the king, while the villain of the book tries to put his puppet on the throne. Images of swords and crowns are seen to be quite important.
“Real kings had shiny swords, obviously. Except… maybe your real real king of, like, days of yore, he would have a sword that didn’t sparkle one bit but was bloody efficient at cutting things.”Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
With this in mind, I adorned many of the miniature books with both swords and crowns, using a mixture of gold leaf and leather onlays cut to shape.
Extra embroidered details were applied to the decorated papers to add fine detail to the library of books. Below you can see the reverse of the front endpapers and doublures, with the patterns of the threads. As paper is thinner and less forgiving than leather, rather than knotting the ends of the threads I frayed them out and glued them down instead of having knots on the reverse.
“The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the last date shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality”Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
These Librarians rules were each tooled in carbon onto small strips of paper, and then glued to the endpapers. Small stitches were added as if these were sort of panels, hanging from the shelves of the library for users to see whilst browsing the books (see detail in the left hand picture below).
- The Summoning of Dragons (a burned book used to summon the dragon…description “Single copy, first edition, slightly foxed and extremely dragoned”).
“But we were dragons. We were supposed to be cruel, cunning, heartless and terrible.But this much I can tell you, we never burned and tortured and ripped one another apart and called it morality.”Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
As I was unable to use the inked leather on the cover of the binding, I used it instead for the ‘dragoned’ miniature book on the back doublure. Using a piece that had frayed at the edge during the paring process, I added black acrylic paint to make it look burnt and stuck a title onto it.
Once the endpapers were completed with all of their onlays and stitched detail, they were stuck to a bi-folded paper sheet, with a strip of pared leather added in which would form the leather joint. Waste sheets and compensation leaves were added onto the outside of the made endpapers to protect them during the rest of the forwarding process. They were then sewn to the rest of the text block and also additionally secured by gluing them onto a small paper guard that had been attached to the first and last sections.
The book was then knocked up square at the tail and spine edge, placed between boards with a weight on the top and the spine was glued up in between the tapes and left to dry.
The text block was then rounded and backed, and once it was to the desired shape the spine was lined in between the tapes with a strip of Aerolinen. It was then put into my laying press between scrap boards and the edges were sanded flush.
The embroidered line of string from the endpapers was designed to travel across the foredge of the binding. In order to do this, I tooled a single line in gold foil to join the front and back endpapers together.
In the story, the Librarian is an orangutang who only ever says “Ook”. It was requested that there should be a little “Ook” somewhere so I decided to add this to a made endband. I tooled a strip of grey leather with a gold O-O-K, which was then wrapped and stuck to a core (made up of a piece of vellum and leather laminated together). Either side I stuck on a piece of maroon leather to give the headband a stripy appearance. Finally, I added some thread detail to the areas where the grey and maroon leather joined.
The endbands were then stuck to the spine of the book. The spine was lined with a layer of leather (stuck skin side down the spine), which was sanded to remove any lumps and bumps in the spine. Next, a one-on, two-off hollow was stuck down.
The boards were then attached by chiselling slots through the boards and pushing the tapes through. These were secured with glue and the ends of the tapes were glued down into slots cut in the inside of the boards. The boards were back-corned on the front and bevelled in preparation for the leather to be applied.
The next blog post will explain how the leather was worked on.