September 28 – …and a sigh of relief…

Marbled paper cover of Book Studies white paper

Cover of Book Studies white paper.



Attached please find the digital version of my academic leave white paper.  The document summarizes my research on book studies pedagogy at colleges, universities, and community centers and their connections to libraries.  Recommendations present in the paper include expanding the mission of the preservation lab to advance a book studies pedagogy at the University of Cincinnati.

Additionally, seven physical editions were produced modeling different binding structures – the practice in a call for the study of the history, art, and practice of the book.

A special thanks to the Preservation Lab staff, Jessica Ebert, Catarina Figueirinhas, Ashleigh Schieszer, Veronica Sorcher, Hyacinth Tucker, and Chris Voynovich for support during my leave in all aspects.  Additional thanks to Melissa Norris and Ben Kline for editing and feedback, and Nathan Tallman and Jay Dungavath for digitization.

And a sigh of relief and happiness is heard from,

Holly Prochaska

September 16

I was busy writing my white paper in July and August.  Not a lot of posting has been done of late, but there has been plenty of of writing, editing, and feedback behind the scenes.

And with September there came binding.  In addition to digitizing my white paper, (which I’ll post here shortly) I wanted to bind 6 copies to give to the UCL Cabinet (the Dean and his advisors).  Since the white paper focuses on advancing a Book Studies pedagogy and what the Preservation Lab’s role might be, I wanted to physically show some examples of areas of practice and teaching that could be immediately accomplished in the lab.  All of the binds are examples that the staff of the lab could teach.

Below are the physical binds – the digitized version is coming soon!

Binding types

Wrap around case, 3/4 bind, pamphlet stitch, tacket bind, reverse piano hinge, long stitch

April 30

As luck would have it, after meeting Tim Barrett at the Center for the Book in Iowa he was traveling to Ohio to teach a Japanese paper making class and deliver a lecture at his alma mater Antioch.  Then, luck struck twice and three slots opened up in the class!  Ashleigh Schieszer (the lab’s conservator), Brett Schieszer (a print maker and instructor), and me traveled to Antioch to take the class and reconnect with Tim.

Though I have been working on learning, acquiring, and experimenting my way through the western paper making processes, I had no experience with Japanese paper making.  Oh, I’ve read Dard Hunter’s Papermaking, but my read through the non-western parts was more cursory than I would like to admit. And the few YouTube videos I perused just didn’t really stick.  There is nothing like actually having your own body go through the motions of creating something to have it make sense and to have it stick in your memory. That said, I definitely did a better job in my mind’s eye than I did in reality, as the video attests [see “images from my travels” for still and video images].

Readers of the blog can compare the images between this date and those of April 29th and February 26th to see some of the major difference, but briefly, here are some highlights:

  • Fiber choice – Japanese paper uses kozo fiber from the mulberry. Western papers use a variety of fibers, but commonly cotton, flax, and abaca.
  • Mould and deckle – the mould used in Japanese paper (called a “su”) is quite different, the screen portion is lifted out of the frame for couching.
  • Dispersing fiber onto mould – the motion used to cover the screen with fiber is quite different, in Japanese paper the bottom ¼ of the su is submerged and the fiber is then rolled back and forth then thrown off the front of the su. In Western paper the mould and deckle are submerged and drawn straight up, gently jogged right, left, up, and down to distribute the fiber, then the water is allowed to drain through the screen.
  • Post couching – Western papers normally have felts placed between each sheet and then are pressed using a hydraulic press to remove water and strengthen the bonds between fibers. The interleaving of felts keeps the sheets from sticking together under the pressure.  Japanese papers are pressed slowly and gradually and are not interleaved with felts, but rather wet sheet are stacked.  The slowness of the compression keeps the sheets from sticking together.
  • Drying – Japanese papers are brushed on boards (or glass in our case) and dried while stuck to the surface. This surface tension allows the paper to maintain its shape and there is very little shrinkage.  Western papers may be air dried, but tend to keep their shape better if dried between felts.

The three sheets I made with Tim Barrett’s assistance just turned out great.  I wonder if the kozo fiber is just more forgiving?!

Tim was kind enough to bring seeds of a species of hibiscus plant whose roots are used as a formation aid in the kozo slurry.  This might just be the answer to the flax problem worried over in the post below.