custom bookbinding - handcrafted - blank book - journal - wedding - bound email - guest book - scrapbook - photo album - diary - anniversary - clamshell box - book of shadows - fan fiction - rebinding

 

 

fineblankbooks.com

Tedra Ashley-Wannemuehler, bookbinder



website banner 3 fineblankbooks

 

More information on the books pictured above can be found in the following galleries (clockwise from left):

Impala and motel sign (daytime) - gallery - intricate

Album with crab - gallery - intricate

Impala with motel (nighttime) - gallery - pop culture

Chevy Cheyenne - gallery - baby

3/4 binding sunflower with copper accent  - gallery - engagement

 

your idea + my craftsmanship = a one-of-a-kind heirloom

  gallery - intricate  

This one could have gone into the pop culture gallery, but the intricacy of the small cover landed it here. A blank book commissioned as a gift for a fan of the show Supernatural, it features the iconic '67 Impala passing a vintage motel sign on the road. Each color on this cover is a separately-covered piece. The pieces of the sign were each carved from layers of binder's board and the red letters are actually cutouts; the turquoise leather of each block cut out to show the read leather mounted underneath. The squares of the sign descend in size and height from the cover surface to imply perspective. A custom die was used to hot foil stamp the car on a separate gray piece in order to have more detail in the car on this small scale.

intricate motel impala whole cover large


 

motel journal with '67 Impala

 

- page size 6" wide by 9" tall

- page are archival white Mohawk Superfine text

- pages are hand-sewn in signatures with 100% cotton thread

- the cover is predominantly a medium blue goatskin book leather over carved binder's board and tag board

- each color on the cover represents a separate element, each hand-carved from tag board and binder's board and individually-covered with paper-thin hand-pared goatskin leather

- custom printed endpaper in a retro wallpaper pattern

- Impala on cover added using a custom metal die, hot foil stamping, and black stamping pigment, stamped onto a separate piece of light gray cowhide leather and wrapped around a separate piece of matte board before being inset into a slight recess in the cover

- satin ribbon page marker

- parts of cover accented with clear leather cream and buffed to shine and darken certain areas

- clouds applied with rubbed silver pigment

- all archival adhesives

- something of this complexity can cost upwards of $470


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intricate motel impala small

 

intricate motel impala detail sm

 

intricate motel impala endpaper

 

intricate motel impala open sm

 

intricate motel impala scale sm

 

 

 

This album was commissoned as a holiday gift for a family who collected Chinese Imperial dragons.  My customer requested a cover depicting an Imperial dragon reaching for a pearl.  The dragon took a few months to complete.  The dragon was carved by hand from a separate piece of binder's board and then each individual scale was cut from thin tag board and glued into place one at time on the carved dragon form.   Once the dragon was complete, it was covered with a single piece of red British book calf that was hand-pared paper-thin to take the shape of the underlying board.  More accents were added with tag board flames individuall-covered with hand-pared goatskin leather and accented with gold pigment.  An inset mother-of-pearl disc acts as the flaming pearl.

 

leather custom imperial dragon album

 

imperial dragon album

 

- page size 13 and 1/2" wide by 13" tall

- page are acid-free black Arches Cover paper

- 50 pages (100 sides to mount photos, etc. on)

- this book has an album construction with "spacers" in the spine to allow room for the thickness of the photos that will be attached to the pages later

- endpapers are decorative red paper sponge-printed with gold

- the cover is burgundy pigskin leather over binder's board and tag board

- raised stylized clouds on the front and back cover

- dragon on cover was carved from a separate piece of binder's board and covered with hand-pared goatskin leather

-dragon is accented with gold pigment

- "flames" on cover are thin tag board covered with hand-pared goatskin in yellow and orange, then accented with gold pigment

- inset mother-of-pearl disc

- all archival adhesives

- something of this complexity can cost upwards of $950

 

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intricate leather chinese imperial dragon album with pearl whole cover

 

intricate leather chinese imperial dragon album with pearl carved cover board

 

intricate leather chinese imperial dragon album with pearl flaming dragon

 

intricate leather chinese imperial dragon album with pearl flaming pearl

 

intricate leather chinese imperial dragon album with pearl spine

 

intricate leather chinese imperial dragon album with pearl red and gold endpapers

 

Commissioned as a recipe album where recipe cards would be attached to the pages, my customer wanted a crab on the front that looked as much like a real crab as possible. All elements were cut and shaped from layers of tag board and binder's board before being covered with hand-pared orange leather. Two black inset circles of goatskin leather make up the eyes. The antennae are part of the underlying cover; raised under the leahter. All crab parts were permanently attached to the cover in recessed areas.


intricate crab front large

 

intricate crab album

 

- page size 10" wide by 10" tall

 - 50 pages (100 page sides to write on)

- orange and blue British marbled endpapers

- cover is predominantly dark blue goatskin book leather

- raised elements on front and back cover are carved from separate pieces of board and individually-covered with hand-pared orange goatskin

- crab legs accented with black leather wax pigment

- lettering on spine added using moveable metal type, hot foil stamping, and pewter stamping foil

- all archival adhesives

- something like this is going to cost at least $650

 

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intricate crab flat sm

 

intricate crab endpaper sm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This intricate but small album has a modern interpretation of an Asian design on the cover.  It was made to hold a very few valuable photographs.

The style of this album was meant to mimic a very old style of cord binding.  I don't think this type of binding functions very well, so, on this book, the braided cords on the spine are completely decorative.  The grommets allow a look at the ornate yellow, green, and burgundy endpaper inside.

 

leather modern asian style album

 

small modern Asian-style album

 

- page size 6" square

 - 5 pages

- French marbled endpapers

- cover is a goatskin leather 3/4 binding with mottled brown leather front and back and dark brown leather for the spine and corners

- front cover design made from individually-covered pieces of tag board

- leather on front cover design consists of a varitey of colors of hand-pared goatskin leather

- a book like this could cost around $450

 

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intricate small leather modern asian style album detail

 

intricate leather modern asian style album flat

 

intricate leather modern asian style album marbled endpaper

 

My customer sent me a great half-sketch she did of an owl.  That was the basis for the cover of this journal. This project took several months to complete. Each color on the owl is a  different piece of individually-covered with hand-pared goatskin leather. (Happy accident; the white chest feathers mimic the shape of the crescent moon.)  A taxidermy eye was added for a very life-like effect. My customer first contacted me about this project two years prior to staring. I enjoy the long-term relationships I have with many of my customers.

 

custom leather owl journal

 

owl journal

 

- page size 6" wide by 8" tall

 - 300 pages (600 page sides to write on)

- gorgeous Claire Guillot marbled endpapers in a "bark" pattern

- cover is predominantly navy pigksin leather

- owl is covered with dark brown, black, and white goatskin leathers, all hand-pared

- resin taxidermy eye

- owl is accented with dark brown wax to accent texture

- moon and stars are stamped using hot foil stamping and silver stamping foil

- something like this could cost around $750

 

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custom leather owl blank book with night sky detail

 

custom leather owl blank book with night sky spine

 

custom leather owl blank book with night sky marbled endpapers

 

 

This blank journal was commissioned as a holiday gift for my customer's wife who collects Chinese foo (fu) dogs. The cover design was based on a painting done by my customer. The painting featured a colorful foo dog, heart, and checkerboard border. Working from the painting, I created the design in carved layers of binder's board and tag board. The thin raised lines of the shaggy fur were created using glue-impregnated string (see "before" photo for what the raised elements looked like before being covered with hand-pared goatskin leather). Each different color you see in this design is a separate piece, individually-covered in thin leather. The book also had lovely hand-marbled green, blue, and gold endpapers. The larger (roughly 10"x10") size of htis cover made a greater degree of intricacy possible.

 

 

intricate foo dog front large

  

intricate foo (fu) dog journal

 

- 100 pages (200 page sides to write on)

- page size 10" x 10"

- hand-marbled blue/green/gold endpapers

- satin ribbon page marker

- cover is predominantly black goatskin book leather over hand-cut binder's board and matte board

- foo (fu) dog image created from many layers of hand-cut and carved binder's board, matte board, and tag board (see "before" photo below) with "fur" accents of glue-impregnated string, all covered with hand-pared electric blue goatskin leather

- eyes, teeth, mouth, and heart are all individually-covered pieces of hand-cut board - covered with hand-pared white, red, and black goatskin leathers

- all parts permanently-attached in recessed areas of the cover

- "pedestal" covered with hand-pared gray goatskin book leather

 

- approximately $800

 

intricate foo dog in progress large

 

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intricate foo dog detail sm

 

intricate foo dog endpaper sm

 

intricate foo dog open sm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This journal was inpried by the video game Myst. While I don't play Myst, I gladly took instructions from my customer on how they wanted this book to look. It is a 3/4 binding done entirely in brown and dark green goatskin leather. The front features a medallion with small raised elements and an inset copper piece that I created from precisesly cutting out a sheet of copper that I hammered first for texture. Copper was cut with a jeweler's hand saw and treated with liver of sulfur to bring out the hammer marks, then sealed to preserve the finish. The entire medallion is riveted to the cover, actually THROUGH the front cover with hammered steel rivets. The endpapers are a gorgeous Claire Guillot hand-marbled paper in a "bark" pattern completing the woodsy look of this book.


intricate myst whole cover large


journal inspired by the game "Myst"

 

- 200 pages (400 page sides)

- pages 6" wide by 9" tall

- page are archival mohawk superfine text in smooth finish soft white

- claire guillot marbled endpapers in a "woodgrain" pattern

- cover is a 3/4 binding of smooth (butt joints) dark green and dark brown goatskin leathers

- inset medallion features raised elements hand-cut from tag board and covered with hand-pared dark green goatskin leather

- medallion accented with an inset, hand cut and formed (by me) copper accent; cut and pierced using a jeweler's saw, textured with a hammer, oxidized to bring out the hammer marks, and sealed to preserve the finish

- medallion attached to the cover with textured steel rivets that go through the entire cover

- raised bands on spine

- pinecone on spine added using a custom metal die, hot foil stamping, and black stamping pigment

- approximately $460

 


intricate myst detail large

 

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intricate myst front sm

 

intricate myst flat sm

 

intricate myst spine detail sm

 

intricate myst endpaper sm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An album made as a gift for my customer's longtime friends and fishing buddies, he wanted the cover to have a surfacing Atlantic salmon.  I modified my "water ripple" design to include the carved fish.  The mottled "antique" finish of the cowhide leather on most of the cover has the look of water. The salmon's body underwater was accented with gold pigment to give it a slightly faded look, while the head is covered in bright gold foil leaf as it surfaces to go after the gold fishing fly.  The back cover features a school of trout in shades of silver and pewter.  The fish has  a resin taxidermy eye for added realism.

 

custom leather album with surfacing atlantic salmon

 

large surfacing Atlantic salmon album

  

- page size 10" wide by 12" tall

 - 50 pages (100 page sides to mount photos on)

- cover is predominantly mottled blue "antique" finish cowhide leather

- salmon is carved from the underlying cover board

- salmon accented with gold pigment

- salmon head features a resin taxidermy eye and is accented with gold foil leaf

- fishing fly added using a custom metal die, hot foil stamping, and gold stamping foil

- lettering on cover added using moveable metal type, hot foil stamping, and gold stamping foil

- fish on back cover added using a custom metal die, hot foil stamping, and silver and pewter stamping foils

- a project like this could cost around $900

 

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custom leather surfacing atlantic salmon album with fly fishing fly whole cover

 

custom leather surfacing atlantic salmon album with fly fishing fly gold fish head

 

custom leather surfacing atlantic salmon album with fly fishing fly gold

 

custom leather surfacing atlantic salmon album with fly fishing fly back cover

 

custom leather surfacing atlantic salmon album with fly fishing fly spine

 

This is project I did for myself.  I restored a piece of furniture made by my great-great grandfather, but which had been in severe disrepair.  (See photos at bottom right for before and after photos of the actual furniture piece).  It was a cabinet with recessed arches on the front doors.  I wanted to make a book that would stay with the refinished piece that related the history of the cabinet.  I did the page layout so that the book could be hand-sewn in signatures (creating the inside of the book is the hardest part!).  I wanted the outside of the book to look like the cabinet itself, only done entirely in goatskin leather.  I had to replace the original hardware on the cabient with slightly different antique surface-mounted hardware, but I kept the one original piece of hardware that remained from the original cabinet.  I used this piece of hardware to make a closure for the custom box.  I wanted the box to open like the cabinet did; two "doors" opening to each side.  I made very thick panels for the top of the box so that the original hardware closure could be built into the edge of the box just as it had been on the cabinet itself.  Inside the box, a paper panel has linen tape attached to it so that you can lift the book up and out.  The text of the book includes letters from my late grandmother where she referenced this piece of furniture and as much research on my great-great grandfather as I could find.  I also included photographs of my family members as well photographs of each step of the cabinet refinishing process.

 

 

custom leather family heirloom furniture record book

 

heirloom family furniture history book

and custom box

  

- page size 7 and 1/2" wide by 6" tall

- pages printed in a signature-sewing layout so that the book could be hand-sewn and the pages would lay open completely flat

- hand-marbled Italian marbled endpapers with a black and tan ripple pattern

- cover is predominantly dark brown goatskin leather over carved binder's board

- each element on the front cover is an individually-covered piece of thin board

- elements on front cover are covered with hand-pared goatskin in a variety of tan and dark brown shades

- cover design mimics the front of the actual piece of furniture that is the subject of the book

- lettering on spine added using moveable metal type, hot foil stamping, and blind stamping technique

- custom box created to hold this book

- box is covered in brown linen book cloth

- original antique hardware taken from the cabinet is set into the box lid to act as a closure for the box

- box is lined with acid-fre Arches cover

- book is removed from box by lifting up on two Irish linen tapes which raise a panel of Arches cover beneath the book

- the price of a project like this would have to be quoted on an individual basis

- please note that I do not do page layout or printing on customer's books

 

 

ex voto cabinet before refinishing

 

cabinet before refnishing

 

ex voto cabinet after refinishing

 

cabinet after refinishing

 

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custom cloth covered clamshell box for book with antique hardware latch front standing

 

custom cloth covered clamshell box for book with antique hardware latch detail 1

 

custom cloth covered clamshell box for book with antique hardware latch 2

 

custom cloth covered clamshell box for book with antique hardware latch front flat

 

custom cloth covered clamshell box for book with antique hardware latch open 1

 

custom cloth covered clamshell box for book with antique hardware latch open 2

 

custom cloth covered clamshell box for book with antique hardware latch open 3

 

custom cloth covered clamshell box for book with antique hardware latch open 4

 

custom leather book about furniture history with ex vote cabinet front

 

custom leather book about furniture history with ex vote cabinet flat

 

custom leather book about furniture history with ex vote cabinet marbled endpapers

 

custom leather book about furniture history with ex vote cabinet book open 1

 

custom leather book about furniture history with ex vote cabinet book open 2

This is a journal for a couple who likes to travel in their restored vintage camper, pictured in raised leather on the front. Colors as close to the colors of the real travel trailer as possible, as detailed as something can be on this small a scale with louvered windows and propane tanks and a yucca plant in the foreground. The design continues around to the back with a purple line of hills on the horizon and raised hill across the spine for continuity. Each element is individually-covered with hand-pared leather and the names were carved into the underlying cover board of the sky before the leather was applied. All parts of the cover are permanently-attached in slightly recessed areas. While I will not make entire covers in white book leather, I WILL use it for accents when necessary. The endpapers were custom-printed from a photo of a ghost town, using sepia-tones for a vintage look. This couple likes to travel to visit ghost towns out west.

 

intricate camper front large

 

vintage camper journal*

 

- 100 pages (200 page sides)

- page size 6 and 1/8" wide by 9 and 1/4" tall

- pages are archival mohawk superfine text in smooth finish white

- endpapers custom printed with sepia "ghost town" image

- ribbon page marker

- cover is predominantly navy pigskin leather (see note below)

- sky on cover created with carved (lettering) matte board covered with light blue goatskin leather

- landscape and camper elements created from many pieces of hand-cut and carved tag board and matte board, covered with various colors of hand-pared goatskin leather

- approximately $480

 

*the navy pigskin leather used for the majority of this cover is no longer manufactured or available, but a similar look could be achieved with a navy blue goatskin book leather that IS available.

 

intricate camper detail large


 

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intricate camper whole cover sm

 

intricate camper endpaper sm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supernatural.  The TV show.  I love it.  For those who have not seen it, the 1967 Chevy Impala that the main characters drive is an essential part of the show.  Since the main characters are brothers, they tease each other quite a bit, including calling each other "bitch" and "jerk" whenever the opportunity presents itself.  This book took ten months of scare free time to create.  At least fifty steps went into creating this book and custom clamshell box set.  Most of the time was spent creating the raised Impala (cut from many layers of thin tag board and stacked into one raised design) and covering the various parts of the car with the appropriate color of hand-pared leather.  Several types of leather were used on this cover.  The back cover features the car's red tail lights in inset red leather.  I made a custom clamshell box for this book; slightly extra-deep so that the raised elements of the front cover do not touch the inside of the box lid.


custom leather 1967 chevy impala supernatural journal


supernatural impala 1967 chevy blank book leather journal diary autograph book and clamshell box set


1967 Chevy Impala book and box set

 

- page size 12" wide by 6 and 3/4" tall

 - about 150 pages (300 page sides to write on)

- ribbon page marker

- blue swirl French marbled endpapers

- cover is predominantly mottled blue "antique" finish cow hide leather

- raised elements on front and back cover are carved from separate pieces of board and individually-covered with hand-pared goatskin and pigskin leather

- cover accented with silver pigment

- pewter foil stamped lettering on the license plate and the "jerk" and "bitch" word bubbles

- custom clamshell box is covered with black pigskin leather and silver vellum book cloth with the "Impala" name logo recessed on the front cover

- paper-covered foam core "bumpers" added to the inside of the clamshell box cover so that the raised areas on the book do not rub against the inside of the cover

- something like this is going to cost at least $1,400 for the set

 

 

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supernatural impala 1967 chevy blank book leather journal diary autograph book front detail

 

supernatural impala 1967 chevy blank book leather journal diary autograph book back cover tail lights

 

supernatural impala 1967 chevy blank book leather journal diary autograph book clamshell box front

 

supernatural impala 1967 chevy blank book leather journal diary autograph book in clamshell box

 

 

 

 

This very personal journal was created for a customer who wanted to incorporate a variety of religious symbols in the cover design: the "XPI" Chi Rho (a very early christogram) on the front, the Tao curve from the yin-yang symbol running across the entier cover, the Zen circle in the center of the front cover with raidiating triangles, and a Celtic cross overlaid with a Dharma wheel on the back cover.  While my customer created the entire design of this cover himself, we did have to hammer out a few details. Originally, he hoped it would have more metal elements, but untimately, the most practical application of the metal was for the Zen circle at the center of the front cover; forged from copper wire and made to have the look of a continuous brush stroke.  A second copper Zen circle was created to act as the pull on the custom clamshell box made to protect this book.  My customer chose the color scheme (though I modified it a bit with the purple triangles on the front).  This book started with my customer's desire to have a specific paper (handmade Italian Amalfi) for the pages for use with his fountain pen.  He ended up sending me three mass-produced books with the desired paper inside which I then disassembled and re-bound into one volume.  While this project was not inexpensive, this proved to be more economical than ordering large sheets of Amalfi to cut down for the pages.

 

red leather religious symbol cover with purple goatskin and gold copper inset XPI dharma wheel mediation cross

 

life journal with a variety of religious symbols

and custom clamshell box

  

- page size 9" wide by12" tall

- italian Amalfi paper pages

- front cover features multiple religious and spiritual symbols covered in different types of leather; gold goatskin and two colors of purple goatskin

- chi rho on front cover was hand-carved from binder's board

- purple triangles are individually covered with purple goatskin leather and set into recessed areas in the cover

- back cover features several merged religious symbols; a raised design set into a recess and covered with gold goatskin

- tao curve runs across the entire cover, including the spine

- the majority of the cover is red pigskin leather

- front cover has an inset infinity circle forged from copper wire.

- a custom clamshell box was created for this book

- clamshell box is covered in burgundy vellum book cloth and features a hand-forged copper pull to lift the lid, forged in the shape of a zen circle

- a book with a large, intricate raised design like this could cost around $800

- custom clamshell box with forged copper ring pull could cost around $230

 

 

red leather religious symbol cover with purple goatskin and gold copper inset XPI dharma wheel mediation cross whole cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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red leather religious symbol cover with purple goatskin and gold copper inset XPI dharma wheel mediation cross front

 

red leather religious symbol cover with purple goatskin and gold copper inset XPI dharma wheel mediation cross back

 

red leather religious symbol cover with purple goatskin and gold copper inset XPI dharma wheel mediation cross clamshell box

 

I truly loved this project.  This journal was created for an artist friend of mine, the super-talented Lydia Puddicombe who does hand-carved illustrated stories on board.  Her art often features her own dog as well as the imagined lives of animals and plants.  Her work also often has mortality themes and features skeletons and ghosts.  For this cover, I wanted to depict her dog, as a skeleton, standing on a road at night imagining she's a much more intimidating wolf.  On the back cover, the small yucca is also imagining it is a large saguaro cactus.  The lettering on the back cover says, "At night, the road is endless and everything is afraid of ME" with her dog's name "Lu" done as a long shadow under the word "me".  In real life, Lu is pretty much afraid of everything.

 

 custom book with dog yucca moon road album wolf night scene

skeleton dog and yucca journal

with custom clamshell box to hold the journal

and a vintage children's book

  

- page size roughly 10" square

- pages are archival Mohawk Superfine Text in smooth finish soft white

- pages are hand sewn in signatures with 100% cotton thread

- Italian marbled paper endpapers

- cover is black pigskin leather inset with hand-pared goatskin in purple, gray, turquoise, and electric blue

- dog skeleton accented with silver pigment

- yucca accented with navy wax

- lettering on cover added using moveable metal type, hot foil stamping, and silver and pewter stamping foil

- moon and stars on cover added using custom metal dies, hot foil stamping, and silver stamping foil

- custom clamshell box covered in navy pigskin leather and charcoal linen book cloth

- custom clamshell box made to hold the book as well as a vintage children's book

- children's book has it's own cloth-covered surround in the box to hold it in place

- clamshell box lined with acid-free Arches cover paper

- a book with a design of similar complexity would cost around $750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 leather journal with dog skeleton night scene leather road cactus

 

leather journal with dog skeleton night scene leather road cactus

 

leather journal with dog skeleton night scene leather road cactus

 

leather journal with dog skeleton night scene leather road cactus marbled endpaper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 This is an example of the largest book I am willing to make. Three inches thick with a page size of 12" wide by 15" tall. This was a very large and very labor-intensive project with a great deal of carving for the tree of life as well as many individual elements with 33 individually-cut and covered leaves. This book was momumental; over 20 pounds when finished and you can see how large it is in the photo where I'm holding it. Making a book like this is a workout and it can easily take several months to complete a custom order on the scale of this one.

intricate tree of life large

 

very large tree of life book*

  

- 3" thick (the maximum thickness I am willing to do)

- roughly 600 pages (1,200 page sides)

- page size 12" wide by 15" tall (maximum page size I will do)

- ribbon page marker

- claire guillot hand-marbled endpapers in a "woodgrain" pattern

- cover is dark green pigskin leather over hand-carved binder's board (see note below)

- each celtic knot on front cover individually hand-carved from binder's board

- tree of life carved from individual pieces of binder's board, attached to a flat circular medallion, and covered with dark brown goatskin leather

- each leaf individually cut and shaped with rounded edges from matte board, individually-covered with green and orange hand-pared goatskin leather

- all elements are permanently-attached in recessed areas of the cover cut to fit the elements before the leather is applied

- raised bands on the spine

- approximately $990

 

*please note that the green leather used for the majority of the cover is no longer manufactured or available - a similar technique with a slightly softer look can be achieved with currently-available leathers
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intricate tree of life front sm

 

intricate tree of life spine

 

intricate tree of life endpaper

 

intricate tree of life open

 

intricate tree of life detail sm

 

intricate tree of life scale sm

 

 


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