Lettering artist Julie Wildman (wildmandesigns.com) purchased this book at my studio sale in 2013. The long-stitch binding uses waxed linen thread. The archival paper for the cover, handmade by Timothy Barrett, is100% flax. (Timothy is director of the University of Iowa Center for the Book and the recipient of a 2009 MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant for his papermaking.) Interior pages are Fabriano Artistico.
Julie used this book to create an alphabet book as her entry in the Chicago Calligraphy Collective’s annual exhibition at the Newberry Library. Each year, the Library purchases one work from the show for their permanent collection… and Julie was the recipient of the Newberry Purchase Prize.
The box to house this altered book by Fluxus artist Ray Johson is a rounded drop-spine construction, covered in leatherette. The tray holding the book is covered in red linen, and the entire right edge of the tray is a drop-leaf with a pair of magnetic closures.
Designed by El Lissitsky
This project involved creating a portfolio (approx.14 x 10 x 3 in.) to house a set of Soviet propaganda booklets from the 1940s in their vintage box, which had been “doctored” at some point. I designed a drop-spine box to allow easy access to the artworks without risk of further bending or crushing them. Four separate elements are foil stamped (2 red and 2 silver), requiring precise registration when covering the box. New archival materials maintain the look and feel of the original case.
With This Ring
This diminutive box (2 x 2 x 1 in. high) holds a pair of wedding rings. I had just enough Japanese crinkly Kodai of the bride’s favorite color combination to cover the box and its lid. Nancy Melvin (of Union Handmade) hand-sewed the tiny pillow from eggplant velvet I provided, along with several ribbon options for securing the rings. Both Nancy and I were honored to be among several local artists whose work became part of this couple’s Chicago-centric wedding celebration.
Starting in the 1970s, the client's mother made calendars for her family. Her son Jim wanted his children to enjoy their grandmother's handiwork, so he commissioned two albums. The calendar's size varied from year to year, and the albums' divider pages (Fabriano Tiziano, foil-stamped in matte silver) follow suit. Each calendar page is hinged and scored to French fold. End-sheets are hand-marbled Cockerell from Britain. Recess in the cover holds a family photo.
Papery Party Favors
Italian papermakers Gruppo Cordenons hosted an event in Chicago, to re-introduce their papers to the design community. Each guest received a swag bag, including a set of pamphlet-style notebooks made for the occasion. I suggested a stitched binding (rather than stapled). Five notebooks are tied together with Italian cotton ribbon and the business card is looped on with baker's twine. (500 sets)
A Gem of a Box
Brad Rowley commissioned a multi-compartment box to transport his jewelry collection. The compartments are removable, so the configuration can be rearranged. A black velvet-lined tray nests just inside the lid of the clamshell box. All elements are covered in chocolate brown linen; lid is foil stamped in matte black.
I constructed and covered ten boxes in Missoni fabric imported from Italy. The fabric was paper backed to allow for gluing. The finishing touch is a double-thick, double-wide Mokuba satin ribbon tab that allows the box to slide out easily in the dressing room where they now live. These are the largest boxes I’ve built (so far!).
Delight Is in the Details
An interior designer commissioned a keepsake album for her client, documenting the fabrics, passementeries, other materials, and wall and window treatments in the home. To accommodate the thickness of the various samples, I created spacer bars of foam core, covered in fabric that matches the album binding and box.
To Hold a Cherished Volume
This drop-spine box is lined and covered in black linen. The Japanese decorative paper is stencil-dyed.
Noteworthy Client Gift
An interior design client commissioned holiday gifts of note sets. I constructed and covered boxes in hand-marbled papers to hold gilt-edged notesheets and elegantly simple pencils. I covered more than 20 dozen pencils in midnight blue Japanese Moriki.
Set of gentleman's portfolios
Interior architect Darcy Bonner is a long-time client. For his new portfolios, he selected the paper and ribbon combinations. Two of the marbled papers are from Atelier Flavio Aquilina, a Neapolitan hand-marbler whose "marbling concoction" gives the papers a vintage look. The other three are from Payhembury Marbled Papers in Cambridgeshire in the UK. All five portfolios have coordinating Japanese grosgrain ties. Each portfolio (13" x 19") has three archival interior flaps to protect and hold the contents in place.
A Hooper Family History is a collection of three short privately-published books that date from 1828 to 1939. The original books were carefully scanned, then printed on archival pages, side-sewn, and cased into a hardcover binding. The three stories are separated by a sheet of Japanese kozo paper. Cover: Recessed panel "frames" a facsimile image from one of the books; title is foil-stamped. Edition of five.
Jewelbox à la Japonaise
This box is simply elegant on the outside, with a button for lifting the lid. Outside dimensions are 7”w x 9”l x 4”h.
Shown here: Box covered in crinkly Kodai paper from Japan.
Construction: Tray (très perfect for pearls) rests atop built-in compartments. Tray is fully covered in Moriki, a complementary uncrinkly paper; cotton ribbon loops attached to the tray allow easy removal and resetting. Compartments are lined in Japanese Momi, a crinkly paper.
Owen's First Book
Screw-post binder (10" x 12") with Japanese cloth cover and recessed panel for calligraphed name card. Multi-coloured pages: pale blue and deep blue are hand-lettered in white; cream and white pages are hand-lettered in blue. Many pages provide spaces for recording Owen's statistics and memorable moments. Calligraphy by annebenjamin.com.
Keepsake box covered with Ivory Fabriano Ingres (6”w x 8”l x 2”h). The detachable lid is addressed to newlyweds Karen and Bob, and the row of LOVE stamps is hand-cancelled with the couple's wedding seal (also part of their gift). The box contains 10 Francobolli cards inscribed “Thanxoxox,” and matching envelopes embellished with a LOVE stamp-as-seal, inscribed S.W.A.K.
This luxurious box leads a double life, first handsomely bearing note cards and envelopes, and then handily presenting personalized pencils and paper clips.
Soutache, a ribbon boutique (and passementerie purveyor) in Chicago, commissioned a pair of ribbon-trimmed boxes with a little “lid lifter.” But(ton) of course. Boxes are fully lined with matching fabric.
Custom boxes for T.T. Patton (a stylish retailer in Barrington, outside Chicago) are covered with enlargements of vintage correspondence. A typed label announces the contents of this set: 10 envelopes and note cards. The lid is embellished with a quartet of Letters Mingle Souls stamps (from 1974), cancelled with a Bureau de Poste mark.
Tribute Book for Patty
Commissioned for a long-time executive with McDonald's on the occasion of her retirement to honor her years of service. The client provided a continuous digital output - taller than Patty herself! - which I scored and folded into an accordion-format and then affixed to covers, in this case heavy bookboard wrapped in linen. A recessed square on the cover frames a tipped-on McDonald's logo. Overall dimensions: 6” x 8”.
Photos Courtesy of Joe DeNatale
S.R. Crown Hall
Presented to the Crown family to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of S.R. Crown Hall, and to celebrate the Hall's completed renovation. (For a virtual tour of this Ludwig Mies van der Rohe landmark on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, visit www.coudal.com/mies.php)
Right: Warm gray linen wrap-around cover. The front is debossed with a large line drawing of S.R. Crown Hall. Overall dimensions are 10” x 13”.
Left: Three 1/2“ screw-posts are hidden by a covered tab. The binder holds approximately 30 pages with drilled holes and opens completely flat for viewing. Architectural drawings make the perfect endpapers.
An edition of 18 with 2 unbound copies. French-folded handsewn pages in a flat-spine cased-in binding, covered in natural linen. Drop-spine box covered in matching linen, lined with “red tree material.” You can read more about Lee Tracy's Red Trees installation at www.leetracy.com.