Wooden Altered Book Cover

New for 2012, this workshop is the optional Part One of the Hand Bound Altered Book program, and guides you through the process of creating a wooden cover for your Hand Bound Altered Book.  Part Two, Hand Bound Altered Book  explores the pleasures of creating and filling a hand bound book, and is held on the days following this class. 

You book covers will be native hardwoods of cherry or walnut.  You will learn to drill, shape, smooth and finish the boards.  You will have the opportunity to create a mica window in the wooden cover if you wish. 

Participants wishing to create and attach a wooden cover to their book should plan on attending both workshops.

About the Instructor

Daniel Essig got into bookbinding while studying photography at the University of South Illinois at Carbondale. One of his first books was an altered book, printed in Greek, with bindery that was completely self-taught. Rather than mounting his photography on gallery walls, he decided to place them in boxes or books so the viewer had to actively explore the art, rather than passively wandering past. At that time, he met Al Buck, who was making wooden-covered Coptic books. This binding was first used around the fourth century, in Ethiopia or North Africa, or perhaps this is just the area where the books were best preserved. Unlike most hand-bound books, Coptic books open completely flat. Images on the pages were wholly visible without struggling with the binding.

Dolph Smith helped push Daniel beyond the simple Ethiopian book, with his sculptural books that hung paper from wooden structures. Daniel’s bridge books using the same Coptic binding with exaggerated elements were developed under that influence.

After completing his degree at Carbondale, his mentor Frances Lloyd Swedlund encouraged Daniel to attend the Penland School of Crafts, where he concentrated exclusively on Ethiopian Coptic books.