Flint Hill bindery produces OLD-WORLD BOOKS with a creative flair
‘I’ve just started to make the kind of things I want to be making’
We’ve all heard of working studios in this virtual artists’ colony of Rappahannock. Now there’s a working museum, masquerading as the Flint Hill book bindery of Michael J. Dennis.
“I would not say that I am a bookbinder, although I do bind books,” says Dennis, leading a tour of his imposing village bindery where beautiful handmade books of all styles and shapes are complemented by antique tools of the bookbinding trade. “I would say that I am a bookmaker. I make books.”
And not just ordinary books. For starters, he makes “palmleaf” books, first produced in India more than 2,000 years ago (although Dennis covers his palm-leafs in Japanese wood veneer paper).
There is the “concertina” (Italian for “accordion”), consisting usually of paper pressed into into an accordion fold, thus it’s common name the accordionfolded book. Originating in China and Japan, and carried west by explorers, the concertina’s covers are of wood or cardboard, often layered with paper or cloth.
We also find in the bindery “loose-leaf” books of wood or leather, held together by string or leather straps. Original loose-leaf books, the bookmaker educates, were used for religious purposes in distant lands like Tibet.
And finally, among others, the “codex” — the fundamental form of all Western books, and a top choice by many for ts simple chain stitch