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

Bound in green pebble-grained goatskin; covers have gilt eggshell decoration; hand-dyed silk doublures and flyleaves; gilt gauffered edges; in a green goatskin chemise lined with silk; in a green goatskin slipcase. 

Geraty writes, “Since I was a child I have made things. Throughout  school, for reasons unclear at the time, I felt no affinity for the conventional work world. So, near the end of college when I had the chance to set type, print books and bind them for a small press, I knew I had found something that had meaning for me. It’s been twenty-one years now and I can safely say that my instincts were right. Bookbinding, is at its root the manipulation of materials and the solving of problems. Each work experience I have had has given me an insight into both of these aspects and added immensely to my appreciation of the beauty and nobility of the craft. The trajectory of my training had been toward the conservation field, as well as, edition and fine binding. Most important to that was the year and a half I worked at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University and the four and a half years at the Harcourt Bindery in Boston. My work at the museum introduced me to many important and beautiful books and the need for preserving them. Harcourt Bindery was the place where I learned many of the skills, speed and accuracy necessary to reach my goals.”

“I began my own bindery in 1984 in the Boston area and moved to its present location in 1985. Several years ago I changed the name to the bindery from Peter Geraty Bookbinding and Restoration to Praxis Bookbindery. The word praxis best defines my approach to bookbinding. It is the practice or exercise of a skill. For me, it is the doing again and again always trying to do it better. It is what drives me and along with appreciation of the finished book, it is the pleasure I receive from the craft.”


 “The binding I have sent to you, as well as the chemise and slipcase, has been covered in green pebble grained goatskin. The doublures, flyleaves and lining for the chemise are hand-dyed silk. The edge is full solid gilt and gauffered with handmade tools cut to resemble broken eggshell. The decoration on the covers is gilt eggshell. As a decorative medium I have always been intrigued with it because of the random broken outline. The mosaic possibilities are probably limitless. Since it was one medium Mr. Middleton did not mention I thought the time was ripe for me to finally try it. This design was easier than some because there was no underlying meaning to the text. The subject of the book left one open to experiment and play. When designing covers for books of poetry, essays or a novel I feel it is important to try to find the essence of the author’s message. I take that essence and translate it through my voice with the expectation that I can embellish the text much the way an illustrator does. I have found the making of my own finishing tools, or in this case gauffering tools, gives me a freedom from the constraints of gouges and pallets with their uniform line quality. I like the more spontaneous nature that arise from the use of these tools in combination with unusual techniques or materials.”