Decorative papers have long been an essential material in the construction & design of a book. Whether used as endpapers or to cover boards, the use of this material can introduce a variety of colors and patterns to further enhance a book’s appearance and offer an attractive and more economical alternative to full leather or cloth bindings. At a time when decorative papers were not as commercially available as they are today, binders in the past occasionally designed or commissioned their own decorative papers, featuring repeating patterns and often imbedded with images representative of the publisher’s iconography. Custom decorative papers can also become an integral component in the overall design of a fine press book.
In this two-day workshop, students will design their own original decorative papers. In day one, each student will generate an original design that will then be drawn directly onto a pre-mounted linoleum block or transferred using carbon paper. The majority of the day will be spent carving. On the second day, students may spend time finishing, embellishing, or cleaning up their designs. Once carving is finished, each student will print a small edition of their papers on a Vandercook proofing press.
Safe carving techniques will be stressed and bench-hooks will be provided to minimize the potential for injury. Each student will be provided with one pre-mounted linoleum block and a sheet of carbon paper to transfer their design. Carving tools will be available for students to borrow if they do not own carving tools. Paper and oil-based printing ink will also be provided.
Note: This is a fast-paced workshop with an ambitious goal of producing a decorative paper large enough to cover a standard-sized book board, approximately 12”x 12.” Previous linoleum carving and letterpress experience is not necessary, but students must come prepared to spend much of their time carving. During this workshop, carving and press time will be limited; for this reason students will not be able to print large editions of their papers, but they may do so at a later time.