Margaret Stead. How did you first become interested in bookbinding as a career.
Paul Tronson – This doesn’t seem reserved just for old horror movies, even modern day TV programmes such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Charmed” show a remarkable insight of the occult world with the books that they ‘consult.’
At an early age during my apprenticeship, I considered modern binding totally unsuitable for rare books, and decided to research the different styles, materials and techniques used over the past 1000 years, not an easy task as there is very little literature on the subject, but I found that I could breakdown, analyse and re-construct using the same principles and techniques and skills of the original.
At a later date I realised that the modern materials I was working with were unsuitable and decided to make my own, which meant vegetable tanning my own leather, hand marbling the papers to specific designs, making the vegetable dyes for the leather, the glues, pastes, waxes etc. Exactly to period formulae, it was then that I began to understand the Alchemical principles behind ancient bookbinding techniques i.e., mineral and vegetable properties, herb roots, earth boles and pigments.
Margaret Stead What are your credentials Paul? How long have you been doing this work?
Paul Tronson Thirty years…man and boy… I started my business 20 years ago. I served a six-year apprenticeship and a two-year Master’s degree and am qualified in 10th century upwards in incunabula/antiquarian bookbinding, restoration and conservation.