Imagine a retired librarian, who loves her books so much as to bequeath their loveliness onto the next generation,and even into the caretaker hands of libraries she respects. Fully appreciating however, the limited resources of libraries and loved ones alike, and feeling the book custodian's sense of responsibility and stewardship, she sets out to leave them in a state the can live on and be adored and protected without the risk of languishing on a conservation lab desk, or in a box - damaged but too precious to use and admire.
I am honoured to have been trusted with a dedicated librarian's treasures, and to give them new life. Here it is in pictures..
BEFORE: Loved Books
Pages torn and creased, hinges gone, linen bare and suffering the fading beat of the sun, leather dry-rotting - powdery to the touch, corners bruised, broken and open, endpapers disintegrating as the book is opened. Then there are the paint and oil stains...
DURING: Painstaking Pace
Page repairs, hingework, cover cleaning, colourmatching, consolidating leather and cloth, rebacking, reinforcing, protective treatments
AFTER: New Life
I learned some valuable lessons during this work - that cloth and leather that look fine at first can rapidly degrade upon manipulating a book not touched in a long time, that colourmatching skills can improve greatly if a colour diary is kept, and that even Lascaux 498 adhesive will not dry overnight if the room temperature drops below 8degC.
I love that my trade teaches me new things with every job, and that I love it more for the learning.