I've been working hard to grow LeMieux Books in the past few months. As this business has grown, I've had a lot more requests for restorative work on old, already-printed books. At first, I was afraid to take these jobs. As a self-taught artist, it can be intimidating to try a new thing without a mentor's instruction, or without formal credentials. However, as business has slowed down following the holidays, I've had a lot more time to experiment with different rebinding styles.
I received my first commission back in the fall, to rebind two photo albums printed by Shutterfly. While these are very nice books and make a great and inexpensive gift, the binding quality is often not very durable. These little books had started to fall apart and lose their pages. I had to research methods of binding single-leaf sheets, and then build them into a more durable book. My dad had bought me a sewing frame, and I was really excited to use it for the first time!
I was very happy with how these two albums came out! While making the books, I kept having this thought of "There is no way that this will work!" and I'm happy that I was proved wrong. The client loved her books, and I learned a ton from making them.
I already wrote about my mom's Christmas gift, which was a rebound copy of her favorite book - The Robe (pictured below).
Both of these projects gave me a bit more confidence, so I started to work on other books that I had lying around.
Most recently, I gave an old, tattered copy of The Confessions of St. Augustine a new outfit.
I know that most saints don't care very much about fashion or style, but I think that Augustine will enjoy his snazzy new outfit. He has a gray spine made of durable bookcloth, and a Yuzen paper cover. I even repaired some of the torn pages with archival open-weave fabric. The pastedowns are made of a black Nepali paper, and I also added in some clean, new endbands.
All in all, it's been a great few weeks of experimenting with different styles of bindings and repairs. At the moment, I am working on a new cover for a Spanish translation of The Odyssey, which I hope to have completed in the next couple of days.