Special Collections & Archives Blog

During May 2011...

Coptic Binding Workshop @ Asheville Bookworks

Friday, May 20, 2011 11:39 am

Coptic bound journal with Kakishibu

This weekend, my wife, Kathie and I took a workshop at Asheville Bookworks. This is a center for bookmaking, paper making and letterpress printing located in West Asheville. Bookworks is a large open factory style building that has been converted into a workshop. There is a large paper-making room in the rear. The main work area is lined with letterpress printers, type cabinets and a number of bookbinding cutters and tools. Bookworks also has a small gallery and sales area. This workshop was called: Kakishibu (kah-kee-she-bu) and Coptic and was taught by artist , Heather Swarttouw. I’m writing about this workshop because I really wanted to learn the coptic binding style. This workshop was a way of expanding my binding knowledge and therefore, my understanding and ability to work with a variety of bindings and materials. The coptic style I learned used 2 needles-one at each end of a long piece of waxed linen thread. Before you actually start sewing, you punch holes at each sewing station of each signature of the book. The cover is also punched with holes in the same locations. Sewing progresses from the cover through each signature, to the opposite cover. I have to say: this was the most difficult sewing I’ve ever attempted.
We also learned to use a Japanese dye made from aged, unripe persimmons called Kakishibu. This liquid has a sepia-like color and is also light sensitive. It gains a richer color as it ages and darkens. We tried a few experiments using sunlight and placed objects on paper we had painted with the kakishibu. A piece of paper covered with pennies might create a polka dot pattern.
The workshop was fun and it was a great chance to learn a new stitch, meet new people and experience Asheville.

Young scholars tour the library

Thursday, May 19, 2011 2:32 pm

Although it has been a while since the students from Mount Airy came on a tour of the Rare Books reading room, and the rest of the library, I have not forgotten about the video I made to record the occasion. Gretchen has been helpful in guiding me in my video editing, and hopefully my next attempt will be a little more polished than this first try.

I have posted the FlipVideo on the ZSR Vimeo Channel. Enjoy the jaunty music and the enthusiasm show by these young students:)

Here’s the original post I started on the Library Gazette:

Millenium Charter Academy Students in Special Collections

On Wednesday morning, we were fortunate to have the fourth graders from the Millenium Charter Academy in Mt. Airy visit the library. Gretchen allowed me to check out a Flip Video camera to shoot some footage. After taking her introductory course on editing, I managed to cobble together this short video (I need a lot more practice). The students were engaged in the materials that Beth, Katherine, and Megan had put out on display. The young lady at the end of the video was particularly enthusiastic about Bram Stoker’sDracula!

Finding cool things

Thursday, May 5, 2011 9:03 am

As I have been re-cataloging books in rare, I have come across many titles that even though they have call number slips in them, have no record for them in the catalog. It has gotten to the point when I am more surprised when a book is actually in the catalog than when it isn’t. One that I came across recently seems to be one of just a few copies still in existence. The Aitken Bible was published in Philadelphia in 1782. It was the first complete Bible printed in the United States, and considered the Bible of the Revolution. It even includes a 2 page resolution from Congress authorizing the sale of the Bible. It was published at a time when the British had a monopoly over the publication of such material which means that it was published illegally. Robert Aitken is said to have buried the type so that it wouldn’t be destroyed by the British soldiers. Earlier editions of the New Testament were published during the years 1777-1779. Our copy was bought in 1952. Included is a copy of the book seller’s catalog supplement advertising the Bible. It has the history of the Bible as well as information about how many copies were still available in 1952. When I downloaded the record, I noticed that OCLC said we held it, but it was never entered into any computer catalog system. There are only 33 other libraries that have copies. As I continue going through the shelves, I am sure that I will find others books that haven’t been cataloged. I am hoping for a something really big such as a first folio of Shakespeare or a Gutenberg Bible! A librarian can only dream.

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