Girdle Book Model by Karen Hanmer

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The Girdle Book is a medieval binding structure featuring a long extension of leather at the tail of the book, often terminating in a decorative knot or hook that could be attached to the reader’s belt. The twenty-three known examples of girdle books date from 1400-1550. This model has many features typical of medieval bindings: Text block sewn on double raised supports, wooden boards shaped all around with special attention given to the inside spine edge, vellum spine linings extend beyond the text block and attach to the inside of the boards, text block laced onto boards and laces pegged in, sewn headbands also laced into the boards, corner tongues, strap and pin closure, corner bosses, vellum for-edge markers. The model mirrors approximately two thirds of the 23 extant girdle books: the leather extension is part of the primary binding. In the remainder, the book is covered normally, then is placed in a chemise with a leather extension.

Artist Bio

Karen Hanmer's Chicago studio practice is unusually varied, including small editions of artists' books, larger editions of inexpensive multiples, installation, and one-of-a-kind design bindings. Her work fragments and layers text and image to weaves together themes of history, technology, personal and cultural memory and the American Midwestern landscape. The work often has a playful presentation, taking the form of puzzles, maps, games, or decks of cards. Many include text, often archival, usually first person accounts. Hanmer exhibits internationally, and her work is included in collections ranging from Tate Britain and the Library of Congress to UCLA and Graceland. She is a leader in the book arts community, serving on the editorial boards of The Bonefolder and the Guild of Book Workers Journal and as frequent exhibition curator. She offers workshops and private instruction focusing on a solid foundation in basic binding skills.