James Tapley

Sarasota, Florida 
James Tapley was fortunate to know and learn from many of the American binders of the last generation including Carolyn Horton, Arno Werner, Laura Young, and Stella Patri. He operates a small one-man workshop where he undertakes a wide range of bookbinding including small edition binding, design binding, conservation, and restoration.

Example Binding: 
Jean Genet. 
Querelle de Brest.
Paris:  Paul Morihien, 1947.

The binding is a variant on Jean De Gonet's exposed sewing and Renaissance slotted spine structures. The text block was very lightly trimmed to somewhat even the text, the head was gilt and sprinkled, pastedowns of suminagashi and kozo papers were prepared, and then the whole sewn on five linen tapes using blue linen thread followed by the application of glue with pure gelatin, the spine lightly rounded using finger pressure. The swell from sewing was allowed to settle into its natural state with no further manipulation.

The areas between the tapes were first lined with thin open weave linen brought over onto the sides along with the sewing tapes and then the areas between the tapes were covered in medium blue Harmatan goat, leaving the sewing exposed. The second, third, and fifth spine panels were titled in gilt. The boards were cut to size away from the book and prepared for a tongue and slot attachment after which the outsides were covered in crushed eggshell, blue Japanese lacquer, and gold leaf. The boards were then lined with edge-to-edge doublures of kozo papers. The sewing tapes on the sides were gilt, the boards then attached by gluing the shaped leather wings and tapes along with their linings into the board slots.

Design Description: 
The text is to be bound in a variant on Jean De Gonet's exposed sewing and Renaissance slotted spine styles, the head colored with graphite before sewing with red linen thread over grey box calf tapes. The areas between tapes will be covered in black goat and titled in gilt with no further decoration. The sewing tapes and spine panels are brought over onto the sides where they form the tongues for the planned tongue and slot board attachment.  The boards, made with a slot on their spine edges, will be laser cut to a "skyline" in order to accommodate mounted "book spines," five on each board, of various widths and heights, the board edges covered in black goatskin with edge-to-edge shaped doublures of gold sprinkled green kozo facing cinnamon colored suede flyleaves. The faux spines, shaped in low relief, will themselves be covered in a range of leathers and colors, including tawed deerskin, calf, and goatskin, with smooth spines and raised bands, gilt and blind tooled in various styles from the fifteenth through the twentieth centuries, and will result in softly undulating board surfaces. These spines are meant to reflect the range of historical leather bindings brought for repair to a busy workshop and center upon Middleton's text, itself presented in a twenty-first-century binding style.


James Tapley example binding


James Tapley design proposal

James Tapley