Thursday, November 12, 2009

Botanical Painters Visit TALAS

Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming the New England Society of Botanical Artists to our shop. Coming straight from the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, the bus arrived delivering 33 botanical painters to our showroom for the purpose of talking, learning, and purchasing their own vellums & parchments.

People often question the distinction between vellum & parchment. The answer, unfortunately, is not so clear cut. Parchment is the broader term referring to all hides (calf, sheep, and goat). Vellum is a more specific term originally derived from the French word "veux" meaning calf. That being said, calf is pretty much universally considered a vellum - however, depending on the manufacturer, other animal hides may also be considered "vellums".

In the picture to the top right, Jill, describes some of the different characteristics of the parchments we stock at TALAS.
Below, some of the ladies hand select their own South American goatskins (left) & Cowley skins (right).

While everyone seemed intrigued by the full parchments, others were drawn to our cut pieces of parchment (right) , which are great for those who are just beginning to experiment with the material. In the image to the left, Will shows a a small selection of our very large variety of decorative papers and materials to those interested.

Back to the parchments, Jill, helps these two ladies decide on full hides.
This crowd definitely seemed more drawn to more dynamic skins like Veiny Cowley's Calfskins & S.A. Natural Goatskins, as opposed to the more traditional Classic & Kelmscott Cowley's Calfskins.
Although strong in their character, and not always right for everyone, these skins can add a truly gorgeous component to the right subject matter.
I look forward to seeing how you two ladies tackle works on each of your skins!

To the right, Aaron was the only one brave enough to take a knife down the center of this skin to be split between two painters! Talk about a tense moment.

All in all, it was a great visit, as we are always delighted to introduce & share our knowledge to those interested in the the world of parchments, and vellums! It was great to have the opportunity to show our large variety of skins side-by-side to such a warm, receptive audience.

Thanks to all 33 of you for visiting!
And a special thanks to Joyce for sharing her photographs.
All of us at TALAS look forward to seeing the final pieces in the near future!

Monday, November 2, 2009

TALAS visits San Francisco

Thanks to this years Guild of Bookworkers show, TALAS had a fantastic excuse to head west and to spend some time in San Francisco last week.

But before the show began,
we had the opportunity to visit some customers...

Day 1:
Straight from the plane, we made our first port of call at the San Francisco Airport Museum, which just so happens to be conveniently located at the airport itself!
The museum is fascinating, with shows which range from pottery, to baseball, to trains - and pretty much everything else in between. They were even refurbishing some antique pinball & slot machines during our visit for an upcoming exhibition.

Here Aaron and Ken from the museum talk shop in front of a hanging piece of tyvek. And to the right, we see a JAL (Japanese Airlines) model which just arrived from overseas - still in its proper shipping crate, ethafoam plank and all!

Day 2:
The next morning we started things off at the San Francisco Public Library conservation workshop. This place is full of all types of goodies - materials, machinery, handy tools, and naturally: books!

Conservation of the libraries collection can be anything ranging from the simple tipping in of pages to full-blown rebinding and extreme restoration in certain cases. It was fascinating to see the various techniques employed at this facility, and to have the chance to go behind the scenes!

Next stop: the brand new Walt Disney Family Museum which only just opened October 1st!
And in keeping with all over Disney ventures, this museum did not fail to impress. Constructed in a former military bunker, this museum has certainly carved its own identity within its brick facade.
But, do not be fooled by the pristine condition of the museum & artifacts within, as a ton of conservation work has been completed by highly experienced & talented conservators to get things to look the way they do at this museum.

Day 3:
Our third, and last day of museum visits began with a visit to the Paper Conservation lab at the Legion of Honor. Once again, we were extremely impressed by this museum's impressive lab, and behind the scenes facility. Unfortunately I do not have any images from this lab, but it was nothing short of pristine. Plus, I had the opportunity to hold a Rembrandt drawing - so things couldn't really get much better in my point of view! But believe it or not, they did, as the museum's organs were being played for a special event, and we had the pleasure of listening while perusing the museum's collection!

Next stop, the de Young Museum - home of the Textile Conservation, Painting Conservation, and Object Conservation labs. Yet again these labs did not fail to impress, with giant windows framing the gorgeous San Franciscan landscape, and not to mention state of the art equipment.

All of these labs were particularly interesting in how they each use the materials in which we supply in such different manors and to perform different functions.

Thanks again to all of the museums for letting us come visit. It was greatly informative for both Aaron and me, and we hope to be back soon!

Next stop... the Guild of Bookworkers!

Guild of Bookworkers

Standards of Excellence: San Francisco October 29-31

Every year bookbinders from across the country meet for a weekend of lectures, demonstrations, and purchasing fun!
The location of the show varies from year to year, and from coast to coast. This year the show happened to take place in in San Francisco, and thus, was extremely well attended.

The Guild of Bookworkers currently has a traveling exhibition of works called Marking Time. The exhibit was on show in the San Francisco Public Library during our visit, which was great to have the opportunity to see the show first-hand. In any case, if the show is not traveling to wherever it is you reside, I would highly recommend checking out some of the works on the online gallery (linked above). Not only are they all exquisitely crafted, they are also all very inspiring & intriguing works of art.

The image on the left was taken during the opening reception at the library after the first afternoon of lectures, and the opening of the vendor hall.
The picture on the right is a snapshot from the counter show that the conservators for the library put up called Masking Time. It was an interesting juxtaposition to the Guild's show, and showcased a lot of the conservation techniques employed when restoring works from the collection. This case demonstrated a small array of tools used in the conservation process. But we particularly liked this section as it showcased our TALAS monographed conservation glue brush!

The show continued throughout all of Friday and concluded late in the afternoon on Saturday.

This is a shot taken from inside of vendor hall & location of the lectures as well, conveniently located in the are of Japantown towards the center of the city.

Here you can see a bit of our set-up, complete with items from parchments & leathers, to bookbinding tools, to papers, to books, etc.!

Everyone, not so surprisingly, seemed to particularly flock to our Boutique Tools & Casselli Spatulas.

Some of the vendors (including ourselves) decided to have a little fun being that it was Halloween and all!

Englishmen aren't always so proper. Case and point, the image to the left, our friends and colleagues from overseas in London. This is Will & Rob from Shepherds Bookbinders; this duo is always good fun!
To the right are the 2009 TALAS reps at the Guild, Jill & Aaron. Dressed, of course, as bookworms!

We are certainly looking forward to next years show already!