Distinguishing the Arts and Crafts in Books


This dissertation examines the art of the booklet and it's distinction between Skill and Craft. Could it be considered an art form. . . a fine skill if you will, or just a traditional craft? The designed, original purpose of the book, was to be used as a means of documenting information, but soon developed to become piece of literature used for education or even to contain books of drama, illusion, criminal offenses and other assorted genre's, eventually developing further into aesthetically pleasing items of art. On this digital era our day to day lives have grown to be disengaged from touch and so the build of the reserve is taken for granted, with no thought used into how literature are made, whether it is by means of machine or by hand.


The tactile character and this development method of books. . . the traditional handmade method to be more exact is what drew me to the subject. I myself am an obsessive bookbinder, producing handcrafted catalogs on a daily basis; there's a concrete sense of satisfaction felt in transforming linens of paper or other marketing into a publication. I am fascinated with this traditional build and the aesthetic qualities the e book possess, with the use of top quality materials used and the original techniques and methods. However, more recently, nowadays there are other uses for the traditionally destined reserve, one being the function as an music artists' medium, a skill subject known today as Musicians and artists' Catalogs. Having just just lately discovered this art form, I feel more investigation is needed to distinguish what models it apart from the traditionally crafted e book. Is this genre of publication art considered a skill or build?


There is a volume of key aims and objectives to the exploration of the build of the reserve. However the key objective of the study is to determine the artwork and craft aspects of this handmade production of books, deciding their distinctions. William Morris, a well-known amount in the Arts & Crafts motion, is a essential key thinker in studying the traditional craft facet of the reserve. Morris, going back to the traditional ways of the 15th century, produces books ". . . with the hope of producing some which would have a definite lay claim to beauty. . . "[1]

At the other end of the size, Johanna Drucker, a scholarly writer in the publication arts, will be a vital key thinker in discovering the art facet of the booklet, more specifically the subject of Artists' Books. Her publication, The Century of Musicians and artists' Literature explores the Music artists' Book and its own development in form and strategy. She remarks that Artists' Catalogs ". . . didn't are present in their current form before the 20th century". [2] That being the case, there's a possible transformation of the book from a traditional craft, to the expressive talent, which will be explored in the approaching chapters, along with further exploration to find the of instant of liberation for the reserve developer and the Designers' Reserve.


The first section examines the historical need for the book and its own recognized appearance as a masterpiece of design. It will get started by reviewing the annals of the publication as a pot of information, as a way of recording the past, touching on the many methods, techniques and technology that were paramount in the build of book creation. Key thinkers involved will be Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin, in particular their highly credited book, The Coming of the Publication. And also other key thinkers in this field of research, they will assist in examining the development of the booklet and printing culture, discovering the historical importance and introduction of the codex booklet that we are familiar with today.

The first chapter will also consider the task of William Morris, a innovator in the Arts & Crafts Motion, and his interest in the art of the book and the original methods of e book development he used. Morris's greatest achievement, the influential Kelmscott Press, will arranged the arena to explore the expansion of the private press of the twentieth century. Does the private press of today meet the standards of early traditional book development? Can the handmade features of the private press be set alongside the machine made? As David Pye reviews on his theories in workmanship, the consequences of the finish and the aspects of the handmade, "Some materials promise far more than others but only the workman may bring out what they promise". [3]

The second section however, will be concerned with the e book with regards to art, or even to become more specific. . . the Music artists' E book. Here the referencing of Johanna Drucker, an integral thinker and scholarly copy writer about them, will be useful as it will introduce the first forms of the Artists' Book, focusing more on the introduction of the reserve as an subject of art. As well as a select few designers that were paramount in the introduction of the Artist's E book, the work of William Blake, Ed Ruscha and Dieter Roth will be explored along with the relationship between text and image, musician and publisher.

The third and final chapter offers a report of Fine Bindings being produced today, concentrating on the work of Shepherds Bookbinders of London as great examples of contemporary bindings. The literature specifically are a set of hand crafted, limited release Ian Fleming books. . . the James Relationship series to become more precise. They are really of high quality craftsmanship, although with visual qualities that could consider these to be works of art. Compared to their paperback counterparts, the study of these catalogs will aid in understanding whether the handcrafted books of today are considered art or art.

The analysis will review numerous meanings of art and craft, that i shall discuss in the final outcome. Will a definitive distinction between skill and craft be achieved? Will the art of the e book fit into both of the categories, or even its own category yet to be known as? The answers to these questions and more will be found out in the approaching chapters of this investigation.


[1] Ruari McLean, Modern Book Design: from William Morris to the present day, Faber & Faber, London, 1958, p. 11

[2] Johanna Drucker, The Century of Artists' Literature, Granary Books, NY, 2004, p. 1

[3] David Pye, THE TYPE & Skill of Workmanship, School Press, Cambridge, 1968, p. 2

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