It can be argued that the written word is on the endangered species list. Forty out of 50 states in the United States have adopted the Common Core curriculum for their public schools, which phases out cursive writing in the classroom. The time formerly devoted to teaching cursive is spent on learning to type and other digital skills. And speaking of digital skills, printed words on book pages are threatened by the alleged ease of electronic readers.
Neither of these threats is evident within the workshop of bookbinding artist Eric Drzewianowski where he toils on machines resembling medieval instruments of torture to produce heirloom quality books.
“Everything old becomes new and hip again,” says Drzewianowski, a graduate of Maine College of Art and Design and bindery apprentice for three years, cites the resurgence of calligraphy as an example.
“There will always be people who appreciate the feel of quality paper and the process of recording information by hand.”
It is in this spirit, new for Spring 2012, Sea Bags announced the collaboration with bookbinding artist Drzewianowski to produce hand-crafted albums, journals and guest books.
According to Drzewianowski, and contrary to the old adage, much can be told about a book by its cover. Eager to work with a material other than the typical book cloth and to master the dynamics of reclaimed sails, Eric now has a deep understanding of this renewal resource. He applies this understanding to each journal, guestbook and album he crafts for Sea Bags.
“It was a challenge to get a standard on recycled material because each panel is different. Just by touch, I can tell if it will work for binding. It takes greater precision to work with sails because it does not hold memory as easily,” he gestures to the hand-operated book press that clamps the sail covered cardboard to the book spine.
Drzewianowski personally crafts each book. He drills the holes of the guest book pages, then blanket stitches them together and glues them to the super strength cloth called the “crash” to form text block (the “meat” of the book) that binds to the cover. The pressure required to seal the sailcloth to the cover is so immense that placement in the press has to be exact before he lowers the handle encasing the book inside.
As long as there are no shortage of baby or wedding pictures that are too precious to be confined to a computer hard drive. As long as there are journeys of land, sea or mind that are best captured by written notes; and, as long as the presence of friends or family and comments from guests are worthy affirmations of shared experiences, then those memories can be properly displayed in Sea Bag’s heirloom quality, classically unique, hand-bound album, journal and guest book.