At the Guild we like to keep control over the design process of our books and one of the ways we do that is produce our own decorative papers to use as covering material and endpapers. We use three historic techniques to produce these papers, marbling, pigment paste and block printing. Below are some examples of our work. Although we primarily produce these papers to cover our own books, occasionally we sell excess sheets, so do get in touch if you would like to purchase any.
The technique of Paper Marbling was developed by the Turks in the 16th-century, where it is known as Ebru. The process involves floating pigments on the surface of a size prepared from seaweed and then transferring it to specially prepared paper. The process reached Europe in the 17th-century and over the course of the next two hundred years a wide range of different patterns were developed. In our marbling work at the Guild we focus on reproducing some of the standard patterns of the 17th, 18th and 19th century.
Pigment paste paper (or Kleisterpapier as it is known in German) is another traditional technique we use. It was developed in Germany in the late 16th century and spread to England and America in the mid 18th century and was popular throughout Europe until the early 19th century. Cheaper to produce than marbled paper, the mixture of paste and pigment produces a particularly robust covering material and was most often used on stationery bindings or mid range publications. Patterns are made in the paste by stamping, or brushing. As well as reproducing a number of historic patterns, we have also developed our own designs using this traditional technique which we use on our mid range bindings.
Block printed papers were in common use in the late 18th and 19th century, particularly on the continent. In France these papers were known as papier dominoté, domino papers and were used to bind alamanacs and other ephemeral works at the bottom of the book market. We have revived a number of hand blocked designs for our own binding work, using letterpress, and lino and stencilling techniques.