James Tapley studied with several well-known American binders including Gerhard Gerlach, Carolyn Horton, Arno Werner, and Laura Young. He is the proprietor of a one-man shop where production ranges from design binding to book and paper conservation to small editions.
There is no Natural Religion.
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Department of Graphic Arts, Harvard College Library, 1948.
Hand-forged and drawn ingot sterling silver square wire, hand-forged sterling silver "stars," purchased sterling silver tubes for hinges, purchased sterling silver bezels, and purchased lab-grown rubies. All silver except the stars intentionally blackened. Endpapers of kozo unryu sprinkled with gold dust. Text sewn into a muslin spine lining, head gilt, textblock secured to binding using adhesive produced by creosote wax insects. Binding accomplished utilizing traditional Diné (Navajo) silversmith tools and methods, produced while on retreat in the Naabeehó Bináhásdzo (Navajo Nation), and is dedicated to my Diné teacher Tommy Young.
Design draws upon late eighteenth-century Rococo patterns as well as the world-wide pan-historical tradition of making jeweled bindings for spiritual texts. Exuberant lines incorporate references to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Crucifixion, and the Trinity and are also meant to suggest growth and renewal. Flyleaves (visible through the grill work of the boards) include an abstracted thorn bush pattern to be digitally printed using archival carbon pigment inks on .5 mm thick Hewit undyed calfskin. Boards of hand forged Argentium sterling silver 1/8" square wire mounted with synthetic rubies set in sterling bezels, all fixed connections silver soldered, with sterling silver tube hinges connecting the covers to the binding spine. Spine strip will be made of blackened Argentium sterling silver with the title laser etched into the metal revealing untarnished silver. Text will be disbound, then attached to binding using ruby-headed bolts screwed through spine strip and into threaded inserts counter sunk into the hardwood spine form.