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Album Alter­na­tives with Betsy Palmer Eldridge – Day 1

My morning session was Betsy Palmer Eldridge’s album workshop. We met in the ceramics studio.

Ox-Bow ceramics studio

Betsy told us about her history in the book arts, which is extensive. Seriously extensive.

Betsy Palmer Eldridge

She explained that there are three issues in dealing with collections:

  1. How do you attach material to the page?
  2. How do you compensate for the addition of materials to an album?
  3. How do you put the album together?

She then explained that there are three categories of binding albums:

  1. Stab bindings
  2. Sewn bindings (through a fold)
  3. Adhesive (ex. perfect binding)
Photo album samples

Photo album samples

Something new I learned today – when gluing covers, the universal turn-in is 3/4″. I’m already doing that, so I’m psyched to know that it’s a standard.

More nuggets of knowledge from Betsy:

  • Use a synthetic bristle brush with synthetic adhesives and a natural bristle brush with natural adhesives.
  • PVA is for gluing exterior materials and paste is for gluing interior materials.
  • Cloth shrinks when wet and expands when dry. Paper does the opposite – expands when wet, shrinks when dry.

When we glued the covers for what will become a book of samples of attachment methods, I was so stressed out. I couldn’t focus and made so many mistakes. I had to go back to the studio after dinner to redo one of the covers.

Not that I’ve ever made photo albums before. Ugh.

And now for some coolness, meet the Veritas Precision Square:

Veritas Precision Square

It’s a little peanut of a tool, but a bit pricey at $24.50 plus shipping. I’d have to think more about getting one.

Betsy recommended Conservation of Scrapbooks and AlbumsPostprints of the Book and Paper Group/Photographic Materials Joint Session at the 27th AIC Annual Meeting as a source for more information on album structures. You can get it from the AIC website for $30.00 – so getting it.

And for the last bit of coolness, we were introduced to the Shoemaker’s knot. I had never heard of it before. It’s like a regular knot, but you bring the loop through the opening twice (this isn’t a double knot). It can be untied like a regular knot, but it doesn’t come undone by itself. Brilliant!

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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