Books, Boxes And Portfolios

I haven’t written a book review for a while. (The last one was almost a year ago.) The inspiration to review a book this week came from two sources: one of the bloggers I follow posted pictures of some of her bookshelves, and Hilke Kurzke asked about books on box-making on the Book_Arts-List. Pictures of some of my bookshelves will be found below, but first a bit about Books, Boxes and Portfolios by Franz Zeier.

Zeier was a Swiss designer and bookbinding instructor at Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich when the book was published in 1990. His text was an early acquisition in my collection of books on binding and box-making. (I think David found it at a discount price at the local university book store.) The book covers everything from tools and materials to making a basic hardcover clothbound book. There are useful chapters on things not often found in books on binding, like creating three-dimensional models of Platonic solids, and matting artwork. Minimal tools are required to make the projects in the book, and all the instructions are carefully written and clearly illustrated.

The book includes a section of painted illustrations of the possible variations of the projects in the book. I might have bought the book for these pages alone!

The images are beautifully painted, and look unusual because Zeier has used the mechanical drawing tradition rather than the more common technique of perspective drawing.

This book was both an inspiration and a useful guide when I was a beginner and I highly recommend it. Although it appears to be out-of-print, I found many copies (both new and used, hardcover and paperback) available on-line. (You can find a sample chapter on-line here.)

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, here are some shots of a few of our bookshelves:

Map Books


Assorted Book Arts Related

Please note: the wow in the shelves is due to lens distortion, not a bow in the wood.  ; ]


In other book news: Not an artist’s book, but a book that might interest artists, The Land of Lost Content is looking for funding on Kickstarter.

The book will document some of Stella Mitchell’s 40+ year collection of ephemera (and other things) which resides in her museum, The Land of Lost Content,  in Craven Arms, Shropshire, UK. You can find the Kickstarter page here, and have a look at the museum website here.


About the knitting: I am still working on David’s Fair Isle vest. It got put aside while I contemplated steeking (never done before) and thought about how to convert the pattern instructions to the gauge I am actually using. I have started the steeks and am knitting a few rows every evening. Progress is slow (I keep having to count stitches to check where I am in the pattern), but there does seem to be progress! In the meantime I have been experimenting with knitting some of the yarn leftover from my weaving days.

The top scarf is silk and chenille. The chenille tends to ‘creep’ and cause irregularities in the stitches. The bottom is knit with two strands of silk noil thread which feels a bit harsh even after washing and ironing. Both scarves have been passed on to a friend for torture wear testing.


About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
This entry was posted in book arts, bookbinding, Design, review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Books, Boxes And Portfolios

  1. I am so incredibly grateful for your review of Franz Zeier’s book. I bought it new around the time my son was born (25 years ago!) and promptly forgot about it. I had no idea what a gem I had sitting here on my shelf. Love his drawings! And attention to detail! For instance, on page 87 he says,”Experience will show why a 1/2 in fold is needed for a 1/8 gluing area. If adhesive is applied to the entire width of the strip it will warp, and a fold of 1/8 in would be impossible to handle.” How awesome is that! Thanks so much.


  2. lcmt says:

    You too have a Joy of Cooking! Growing up, I thought everyone’s mother had a Joy of Cooking. How weird it was to meet people who had never heard of it. And then I realized they didn’t know where Joy of Sex got its title. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Byopia Press says:

      I actually use the Doubleday Cookbook more, but Joy still has some old favourites. I also have my mother’s old Purity Flour Cookbook, stuffed full of scraps of paper, file cards, and newspaper clippings with recipes she collected over the years. And there are copies of Fanny Farmer and Peg Bracken on a pantry shelf. ; ]


  3. Pingback: …and why am I doing this? | Playful Bookbinding and Paper Works

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.