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Re: The Quality/Leather Thread (again)



Bonnie writes:

>A passage from Howard Mansfield's book  _In the Memory House_ pretty much
>says it for me:
>
>"We are used to a different order of preservation, a preservation closer
>to embalming. We preserve buildings, not the habit of being they
>sheltered. We save a grist mill building, but not the milling process,
>that is lost. The mill becomes a gift shop, and we call it preservation.
>We preserve a farm's buildings, but let the husbandry methods fall away.
>The Japanese at Ise preserve the great temple by rebuilding it, since AD
>685, over and over again, every twenty years. They don't attempt to arrest
>time and hold the building against decay. They preserve the process of
>temple building, not just the tools in glass cases, but the hands and the
>hearts to use them."
>

It's a wonderful
quote, but I should think that it does a great job of supporting those people
on the list who've argued for using good quality traditional materials.  If
you use high quality hand-made paper in your book, you support the small
papermakers who may (or may not) be practicing more traditional methods in
their work (you could make a conscious effort to support those who do).
Similarly, you could take the same approach with all the materials in your
book, which would help to preserve the *process* of book 'building', and other
crafts related to it.  You could patronize a woodworkers and blacksmiths for
your tools and equipment.  It may sound ridiculous, but it isn't so far
fetched if you're truly dedicated to these sentiments.  It may not be
economically viable to do so, but there is such a thing as barter.  I know
that I often feel that I should do more in the way of supporting my fellow
craftspeople by purchasing their wares.

Naturally, a book made entirely of the finest materials would be beyond the
means of most people, especially if you start getting into handmade materials
and tools.
That's where you start to make compromises.  Most all of us have to make them
at some point.  The trick is to make educated
compromises that will have minimum impact on the quality of your finished work.
For example, you might use a good quality machine made paper for your text
block, and use handmade only for the endleaves.

Quality does not necessarily equate with 'preciousness'.  From my admittedly
limited reading on book structures and materials, I get the impression that
one of the main considerations in conservation is STRENGTH of materials under
normal use.  Conservators are not simply concerned in preserving materials
under static conditions.

Cheers, Rick C.


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