Thanks to one of our local hosts (Grazie, Laura!) I had the great pleasure to visit the studio of local paper artist Pino Guzzonato. The huge studio – only used in summer because it’s too cold in winter – is located somewhere in the hills behind Sartorso in a former weaver’s shuttle factory. What a delight to discover this fact for somebody like me with a strong textile and weaving background! The outside picture of the studio was not taken by me but is contemporary – Pino uses this car to transport material and wood for the stoves… and in the inside there is a lot more stuff nowadays.
Pino is not only an experienced papermakers who has tried more or less all possible techniques and fibres during his long career, but he also builds sculptures out of his paper and is an avid printmaker. I enjoyed especially the casts of medieval doors and stone engravings and the prints and embossings. Embossing is one of the possibilities paper offers – not only but especially handmade papers with greater volume can be used with it to great effect. And it’s a technique that allows subtle results. Though I haven’t thought about it for a while I think I have to go hunting for a press again!
Thanks to Pino (himself in the picture above) for an inspiring morning and to his wife for supporting us struggling to understand Italian with great coffee and cake.
I’ve been thinking about putting a bookplate or “ex libris” into my books for quite a while now. First of all out of practical reasons (so that books lost on friends’ bookshelves can be returned to the rightful owner because this kind of “bookloss” really enoys me) but also because I like the idea to put my name on my most cherished possesion.
Of course I had no idea how complicated this all would be. Actually there is a bookplate-design in my family (the picture above on the left) designed by my grandfather in the 1920s. Looking around on the internet it seems that the early 1900s were a heyday for bookplate design. Also I considered bookplates to be something well designed but practical till now like business cards but now I realise that they are pieces of art themselves. Today I also realized that there are whole networks of bookplate collectors out there (here I found a real treasury of odds and ends about bookplates and a load of beautiful examples).
Cats and owls seem to be favourite with people. One idea I liked is to have different bookplates for different “sections” of the own library (like the “A. Conan Doyle Collection”) though I already see a problem in categorising books into different sections. The fingerprint is also very nice – put even more information about yourself in your books (they are fingerprints themselves I guess).
For various reasons my bookplate would have to show a donkey (this example is by Eduard Pruessen who founded his printshop “Donkey-Press” in 1962) – I’m changing my personal letterhead etc. constantly but the donkey has been a reoccuring element.
One of the most beautiful ideas was not to use a common bookplate at all but to use a discreet, blind-embossed seal like Mrs. Walter L. Dean used in her books. This would also spare me the use of glue (what a frightening thought!) in my books.
So there are quite a few things to think over before starting to design a bookplate or seal – and before putting it into some 500 (?) books!