Brien Beidler, young star of this specific art, tells us about his personal experience on binding and decoration of book covers with gold leaves
There’s something magical in books, something unique, something that can gather our attention and take it places. All of a sudden, we find ourselves looking at a cover, its finish, binding. This is a beautiful prelude to the content, which we still don’t know and which we can only imagine. Our thoughts fly among many unread lines, taking us away from the world we know.
Deeply attracted by this, Brien Beidler has always been raved by the magic of hand-bound books, the “pre-industrial” ones, as he likes to call them. “These books, like objects, are seen as symbols of knowledge and sophistication and, with an overall look, they seem respectable and nice.” – says Brien – “Anyway, when examined in depth, they all reveal some small peculiarities: out of square angles, croocked lines and titles, missing decorations, etc. Regardless, I think these idiosyncrasies only add to their charm: they are not the result of unqualified work, but rather expedients coming from a considerate amount of a meticulous job”.
In fact, it is the imperfection coming from craftsmanship that fascinated him so much to draw him to the world of books decoration, and making it an actual life goal: “Before the 19th century, albumen, gold leaf and small hand tools were the main means employed to decorate books. Despite its long history, this technique has been decreased in the contemporary world and” – ironically – “a book explaining the technique has never been written “.
Like the main character of a book, Brien did not have a solid background from which to start the job of his dreams and for this reason, like the typical main character of a bestseller, Brien looked around and found the solution: “I started this art about three years ago following the advice of Jeff Altepeter, an expert on binding at the North Bennet Street School of Boston. Later, I have read some articles by the master of binding, Trevor Lloyd, and after several works, only in the last year I feel I understood the necessary variables that allow me to obtain cohesive results”.
Today, Brien has refined the technique of his process: the binding process and the decoration with gold leaf. Furthermore, he has opened his own site (www.beidlermade.com) where he explains his activity and interacts with clients and people simply interested in this subject. He has become a star in this artistic field, as attested by the number of his Instagram (@bhbeidler) followers and the institutions who call him for workshops.