About 10 years ago I visited Claire Van Vliet at her Janus Press studio space in Newark, Vermont with another conservation intern. Claire was incredibly kind, spending all afternoon showing us around and talking about her work. At the end of the visit she gave us each a copy of her book Woven and Interlocking Book Structures as a parting gift.
I rediscovered this book on my shelf a few weeks ago when I hit my limit on Zoom meetings and was desperate to return to doing some hands-on work. And what a sanity saver it has been! I’ve taken time every day to step away from my computer and work my way through each of the structures.
The book provides instructions for creating a sample of more than a dozen woven or interlocking book structures that are easy enough for anyone to do at home. The samples are small, only 4×5” and just a few pages long. Construction requires a few simple tools: a pencil, ruler, cutting blade, scissors, scoring tool/bone folder, awl/needle, glue, and a microspatula which was not required but “worth getting because you’ll wonder how you lived without it.” While nicer paper or a variety of papers would make more interesting finished samples, you really only need cover stock and text weight papers. Still, I had to make do with the paper I had on hand at home. Sometimes I had to use scraps of paper with the grain direction going the wrong way or that wasn’t quite the correct weight. But in the end I was able to successfully create a sample of every structure.
(Click each image to enlarge)
There are even instructions at the end of the book to create a lovely little slipcase to house your entire sample set of books.
If you would like to create your own sample set of woven and interlocking book structures you can access the entire book online for free through Internet Archive:
The Visual Miscellaneum by David McCandless explores better ways to represent complicated statistics and information. What could you do with your yearly ARL stats following this model? think of the possibilities.
“The strangest thing about the world of work is the widespread expectation that our work should make us happy. For thousands of years, work was viewed as something to be done with as rapidly as possible and escaped in the imagination through alcohol or religion. Aristotle was the first of many philosophers to state that no one could be both free and obliged to earn a living.” -Alain de Botton
If you haven’t read any of de Botton’s work I will recommend two others: The Consolations of Philosophy and Status Anxiety. Both offer thought provoking philosophical romps that are surprisingly readable and actually useful for navigating our modern society.
And finally, because it is the new year and I’ll be the first to support your resolutions to eat better, and the first to offer you something to kill off that resolution if you need an excuse, I give you Southern Pies by Nancie McDermott. This follows her popular Southern Cakes, which in my opinion should also be on your shelf.
I’m starting a recurring blog post called “Reading Roundup” to share some reading that you may find interesting. These links will be at least tangentially related to books, preservation, conservation and libraries. Here is the first installment. Enjoy!
Parks Library Preservation at Iowa State has a nicely written ode to Carolyn Harris and Paul Banks, leaders in our field. Read “Thank you Paul and Carolyn, et al,” Then tell your favorite teacher or mentor how much they mean to you.
And finally over on Work of the Hand , our former staff member and student, Henry Hebert, is blogging about what he is learning in the book binding program at the North Bennett Street School this semester.
Image from Duke University Libraries Ad Access, click on image for details.
These little things called blogs are really catching on in preservation-land. Preservation Underground was one of the first library preservation department blogs out there. Now we are finding ourselves in some very good company. To celebrate the spread of library preservation through this thing we call the internet, I want to point you to some other blogs you may find interesting.