I keep making blank books for other people because they keep me sane - it is good to think about what might be interesting to other people, instead of just continuing be stuck in the rut of my own mind all the time. This book, for kaytay, was to be purple, as by her request, though she did not know I was working on a blank book at the time.

The general design of this book is similar to the one I made for wuukiee - the other eight signatures of Rives lightweight are used and the style and format are generally the same - a nice, small, limp leather bookbinding. For the book for kaytay, I dyed the leather of the cover purple, used red calf tapes, and did not glue down the endpapers.

Naturally, leather is an off white or cream - color is achieved by the use of dye. A quality supplier of bookbinding leather will have a wide array of colors, ranging from black, several browns, blues, greens, reds, to white. Bookbinding leather is also available undyed, so that one could dye it to perfectly match a book being conserved. For the cover of this book, I dyed undyed goat a medium purple.

Normally, to dye leather, one uses dyes specially formulated to that end. But I have no such dyes, nor do I know of one locally. The emphasis of my studies is art, so I have all sorts of materials for painting and coloring things - it was just a matter of finding something that was the right color and that would last. Higgins drawing inks seemed to be the best solution to create a purple, though the lighter colors, yellows and oranges, do not look good on the leather. The inks are waterproof and relatively lightfast. I tried mixing acrylic paints, and they were too thick at the right intensity of color, and too muted once I had thinned them down a bit. Watercolors were out of the question, and oil paints would take forever to dry and would rot the leather.

I cut the piece of leather to size, choosing a part of the hide that had nice lines - I like to show a little bit that this was actually an animal, and the grids of lines do that nicely. The book was folded, as in the previous example, but the leather was not scored with a razor on the hinges - goat is too thin for this. (Yes, I learned this the hard way.) The scraps were used for testing the ink. I found that a single layer of the ink looked best - after that, the purple looked too dark. The ink was brushed on lightly, taking care to not leave dots anywhere. The leather soaked up the ink quickly. Then the leather was left to dry.

The book block was sewn on red calf leather tapes. Each tape extends about 5 in. from the fore edge of the book, but this is still not enough to tie the tapes in bows, just simple knots. oops.

Once the leather was dry, the folds were folded again, and the flaps glued down with PVA. The bright red tapes were threaded through the covers and tied in knots, as in the previous example. I had been trying to figure out what to do - glue down endpapers, glue additional leather in their place, or what, but the look as it was seemed just right - a nice combination of purple, off white, and red.

Blank book for Kaytay is 3.5 x 5.5 x .875 in., 64 leaves (128 pages), bound in hand dyed purple leather, sewn with linen thread on red calf leather tapes.

Closing thoughts: The look of the veins (or whatever they are in the leather) that is achieved by this sort of coloring is really cool - must find ways to utilize it in the future. Five inches long on each side is still not long enough to tie tapes in bows. Dyeing leather by this method means that the edges are still white - this may be a concern in some situations.

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