It was my good fortune recently at the Grolier club in town, to meet among others the winner of the 2009 International Bookbinding competition, Alain Taral.It was my further good fortune to arrange a meeting at the bindery today through his student, artist and interpreter Laurence Fayard.After studying with Alain, she is learning more about bookbinding, and working on startin up on her own in 2011.
It was a great opportunity to see a completely different style and approach to binding, and its always nice to meet other binders anyway.
Alain started binding in Toulon in 1989.A client had asked for a binding using wood, and so began his career, perfecting his solid wood, and veneer bindings, complete with the most exquisite inlaying and marquetry.
Its all about the hinge...a kind of piano hinge built around metal rods, or pins.
He first produced a small box, with the first incarnation of the hinge...this he said was suitable for making boxes for documents that were not be touched.
The second incarnation is the hinge style he uses for design bindings, impressive still.
The third hinge , was truly a marvel...double hinged with 2 pins per joint,and butterfly clasps, giving the opening a kind double-jointed action.This example was reserved for special bindings for important conservation work.
We talked for 2 hrs at great length about all kinds of stuff !....the one thing that did stick out , was his statement that he had know idea why???leather became so popular and wooden bindings faded, and that it would seem counter-intuitive.
It would seem, the arc of bookbinding archaeology may be reversing, and some would say, that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.
A link is included for his winning binding, and the show is open to the public...you should all check it out.