You can judge a book by its cover : a brief survey of materials [Genest, Louise]

Bound in full goatskin, laced-in with partially exposed spine; design includes cutout leather, gold leaf, inlays in book-cloth, tooled onlays in papers, patinated bronze leaf and wood veneer; titled in blind and gold foil; colored edges; doublures of patinated bronze leaves; chemise of glassine paper and wood veneer; in a cloth drop-spine box with tooled and recessed onlays, with gold foil stamping and onlay in patinated bronze leaves. 

Born in Montreal, Canada Genest studied bookbinding for seven years in Paris at the école privée de l’Union Centrale des Arts Decoratifs. She also studied in Montreal with Monique Lallier, and in New York with Deborah Evetts, where she also did a two-year apprenticeship in manuscript and book conservation at Carolyn Horton and Associates. She continued to hone her skills by regularly attending intensive courses in North America and Europe. She founded the Association des relieurs du Quebéc and was its president for four years. Since 1988, she has been an active member of the Conseil des métiers d’art du Quebéc’s board of directors and serves now on the executive board. She has also been granted membership in the Meister der Einbandkunst. She participated in or was invited to many events related to bookbinding, both as a speaker as well as an artist in North America, North Africa, Australia and Japan. Genest teaches bookbinding and works in her private bindery in Montreal, and her works are part of many collections in North America and Europe.


A full goatskin, laced-in binding with partially exposed spine. The design consists of cutout leather, gold leaf, inlays in bookcloth, tooled onlays in papers, painted bronze leaf and wood veneer. Tilting is in blind and with gold foil. Coloured edges all around. Doublures: painted bronze leaves. Chemise: glassine paper and wood veneer. Drop-back box: full bookcloth over relief, tooled onlays in marbled paper, recessed onlays in glassine paper with gold foil stamping and onlay in painted bronze leaves. 

Genest writes “Design binding is the final stage of a process of the inseparable ‘author-illustrator-editor-printer’ connection, linked across time and era. To illustrate this reality, I use two components: the cover and the binding’s structure. My training in conservation forms a rich repertoire that I can tap in order to integrate the structure of the binding into the design. In this way, the structure adds relief and dimension. As for the cover, incorporating new materials and using traditional ones in odd ways are both tools that make an invaluable contribution to the design. You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover is essentially about materials. This became the basis of my design. Excluding vellum, I aimed to include on the cover as many materials possible: linen, leather, bookcloth, wood, papers (Japanese, marbled, and glassine), painted metal leaf, gold leaf, gold foil and also different techniques: hand tooling, stamping, blind tooling, inlays, onlays and relief. To keep all this variety under a tight rein, leather, papers, bookcloth and patination were hues of the same colour and were played in a band across the cover.”