Atelier Bindery’s Florian Bieschke has been featured on Wisconsin Life this month! Read Trevor Keller’s article and watch the video here: Arbor Vitae Bookbinder Keeping Centuries Old Tradition Alive.
Atelier Bindery now has additional rebound books for sale; all volumes were originally published in the late 19th or early 20th century. Each volume has been meticulously cleaned and restored with a new binding, using original cover material and illustrations whenever possible. New book cloth, leather and all new materials used coordinate with original color schemes of books and are acid-free to ensure longevity. All volumes are sold complete with a custom flannel-lined slipcase to prevent dust and wear.
Shipping available at cost. Please view web galleries for each volume available and call 715.358.5470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further inquiries.
Join us for an evening exploring the traditional art of fine leather binding and restoration! There will be a presentation followed by a question and answer/ show and tell period where the public will have the opportunity to see and handle some of the fine bindings produced during the apprenticeship and the tools and materials used in the process. Please call the CVA at 715.842.4545 with any questions at and feel free to download/ forward the flyer below.
Of the many techniques to be learned in fine bookbinding, gold tooling is one of the most challenging. Not only does the binder have to contend with the tools and materials themselves (gold leaf is so fine, small pieces will float away in a draft and will absorb upon contact with skin) but the process is so exact, and requires a number of smaller skills to properly execute, that rarely does an impression come off perfectly.
As Florian, head of Atelier Bindery, so often states, however, small imperfection is the mark of an authentically crafted book; complete perfection is something that only a machine can achieve. Imperfections are especially likely when, as at Atelier, one uses vintage brass tooling implements which have seen a century or more of use and are far from perfect in and of themselves. Especially on restoration bindings where a worn look is desired, vintage tools are always preferred to newly-minted ones.
For this re-binding of a volume of Tennyson’s The Princess, the book was first bound on raised cords in hand-dyed calfskin.
Atelier Bindery’s Florian Bieschke and apprentice Emily Umentum are one of ten teams statewide awarded the Wisconsin Art Board’s Folk Arts Apprenticeship Grant for Fiscal Year 2014. For a full listing of those awarded, please see the Wisconsin Arts Board website.
Starting August 1, the two will begin working to complete a series of custom restorations and re-bindings in leather, with a focus on honing traditional skills in gold tooling, inlay and onlay leather work. The books featured will be historic volumes, so the apprenticeship will also require attention to higher-level conservation techniques such as corner and edge replacement, resizing and encapsulation.
In the summer of 2014, a special installation of the final work created during the apprenticeship will be on display in a Northern Wisconsin art venue.
“We hope to use the exhibit as an opportunity to educate the public and create dialogue around the preservation of the traditional craft of leather bookbinding. We plan to feature an opening night of the exhibit that includes a lecture and presentation on the apprenticeship as well as a question and answer session for the attendants. We will feature both conservation of pre-existing bindings as well as the creation of new bindings using traditional techniques.” (WAB Folk Arts Apprenticeship FY14 Grant Application).
Binding has received increasing attention in both the contemporary art world and in the more tradition-focused folk schools in the US. Perhaps because of the resurgence in scrap booking , or the simple desire in today’s digital, pre-formatted world to create something solid, functional and truly original, bookbinding as a modern art form has enjoyed a renaissance.
While there are hundreds of individuals teaching and producing basic cloth-bound,non-adhesive or contemporary nonfunctional bindings, however, there are few teaching traditional leather bookbinding. The high cost of binding materials and meticulous and lengthy nature of the work have made leather bookbinding a rare art.
Atelier will be documenting the progress of the apprenticeship; visitors are welcome to follow along as books are diagnosed, repaired and embellished over the course of the following year.
This apprenticeship is supported in part by funding from the Wisconsin Arts Board and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Click here to see the latest summer newsletter!