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’

Rappahannock News - - COUNTRYSIDE - By John Mc­caslin Rap­pa­han­nock News staff

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

PHO­TOS BY JOHN MC­CASLIN

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