All posts by siberiana

Book edge marbling workshop

On 1st of June a workshop of book edge marbling took place in our studio. We organized this event together with the Bookbinders Guild of Vilnius and Aušra Lazauskienė, a colleague and a great marbler from Vilnius.

The participants of the workshop brought their own handmade text blocks, ready to be decorated. After an short historical introduction and some marbling trials on the plane paper sheets, everyone created their own design for their text block decoration.

Beautifully photographed by Liuda Drižytė:




Historical vellum bindings and the opening of our studio



On the 1st of December Siberiana & Co. organized a one day workshop on XVIIth century vellum bindings, called “Vellum binding according to Dirck de Bray’s ‘Short Instruction in the Binding of Books‘ (1658, Haarlem, Netherlands)”. The event was oriented to the proffesionals and advanced bookbinders.

The main goal of the workshop was to present to Lithuanian community of bookbinders a material of the course “Dirck de Bray and Beyond” which tuitors were conservators and bookbinders from USA, Anne Hillam and Maria Fredericks. Originaly it took place in Italy as a part of the Summer Programme 2018 of The Montefiascone Conservation Project on 13-17th of August, 2018. Siberiana’s participation in this course was funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture.

Besides, our event was also the first public opening of our new bookbinding studio in the wonderful place in the center of Vilnius. It was also the very first workshop organized by Siberiana Books and oriented to the professional reconstruction of the models of historical bindings.

During that day, step by step, according the one of the oldest manuals on bookbindery,  we made a tiny model of vellum binding. This type of binding was also called spitsel binding or trade binding and became extremely popular at that time all over the world. During the process we used old style pasted boards, handmade headbands, parchment, wheat flour paste and animal glue.

Most of the book conservators have seen variations of this binding type in different libraries. However, there’s still a lack of condensed study of these casual types of bindings because most of the historical studies on bookbindery until very recently were focused on beautiful, precious and antique bindings, often rich in decoration or made by famous bookbinders.

That’s why we thought that practical sharing of this kind of information, kindly provided by Anne and Maria, would be very useful for the most of professional bookbinders and book conservators of Lithuania in their day to day work.

We wish to thank all the participants for creating the wonderful atmosphere and a joyful epiphany of the common work and our profession.

The workshop was beautifully photographed by our lovely assistant Liuda Drižytė.




How the Double is made

The project

Approximately a year ago, in April of 2017 a young Lithuanian poet Virginija Kulvinskaitė, also know as Virginija Cibarauskė, a one of the most promising literary critics in Lithuania, published an electronic version of her first book of poems titled Antrininkė (meaning “The Double” in Lithuanian). The book is accessible for free in the publishing house for electronic books Naujas vardas.


The cover of an electronic version designed by D. Dirgėla


Despite of the still unusual format of electronic book of poems, the book of Virginija was received warmly and even selected to the list of the most creative books of 2017 by The Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore.

After a year of the publishing of this successful electronic version, Dead Shirt Society launched their very first project of limited edition of this particular book giving it a physical and tactile aspect. This seems to be the first time when electronic book was converted into a completely handmade book of limited edition.

The process

Since the book had only electronic version, we needed to give it a physical book-like shape. So, the whole layout with the 6 sections made by 16 pages or 8 sheets was created. In collaboration with the author, we decided that the text should be self-sufficient and independent, so we discarded any introduction of illustrations.



For the printing of the book we have chosen a digital printing, which is, in fact, the actual reason of the easy and not expensive printing of small number of samples. We decided that the most suitable number of samples would be 30, which itself is already quite a lot to bind all of them by hand. The books were printed on the paper Scandia Ivory 2000 130 g/m² which is nice to touch and have a beautiful yelowish tone.

Speaking about the design of the cover, on the one hand, of course, it was important to reflect the atmosphere of the book and the poems of Virginija. On the other hand, the final result should have been affordable and not too expensive. After several readings of the entire book and then hundreds of readings while the layout was made, finally we came up with the idea based on the image of an ice hole in the surface of lake during the wintertime. This image as a definitive one came to the mind after sketching and reading a poem titled “visiting an ice hole” (p. 45). It seemed that it reflects the cold and translucent atmosphere of the book and the dark, ghostly and even threatening shade. So, all in all, the figure of the Double, in the cover of the book became a kind of dark Ophelia seen through the ice hole.


Cover trial


The image of the Double was created by Vytautas Pliadis, a Lithuanian underground artist, a musician named as Obšrr, an architect and the author various graphic works. By etching technique Vytautas reproduced an XVIIIth century block print that we all together have chosen from one English chapbook. The etching, due to the printing technique itself (printed on yellowish paper Hahnemuhle, 300g/m²),  in every sample’s cover is different and that makes them quite special.


XVIIIth century woodcut reproduction from Chap-books of the eighteenth century, with facsimiles, notes, and introduction by John Ashton; 1882; Chatto and Windus, London. (Source of the image)


The etching made by Vytautas after giving it’s shape


The text block

When the content was printed, we still needed to create the whole physical book structure. So, there were sections made and the samples with several sections of additional endpapers and the block was sewn in the sewing frame on three linen cords with cotton thread.


Sewing the text block


Then the margins of the edges of all the samples were cut to make the block nice and smooth. In this way we also got an actual size of the book.


Sewn and cut blocks


The second important part of binding process was giving the right shape to the spine. So, the shape of the book was rounded by special bookbinders hammer. Two-layered endbands made of paper was pasted down in upper and lower edges of the spine. Then several layers of linen cloth and paper was pasted down to consolidate this rounded shape and parts that will keep the block firmly connected to the cover.



The cover

The cover was made of 1,5 mm cardboard. After the right size of boards was cut, it was about the time to create a oval-shaped inlay to embed the etching. To avoid mistakes in measuring, I prepared a template.



After shaping the oval inside the front board, two boards and the spine board was pasted down to the black linen cloth, previously padded by thin paper.


Preparing the cloth for the cover


The edges were folded with bonefolder inside, so that the borders of the book would have the regular and smooth look. When the cloth was being pasted to the oval-shaped inlay, the compensation (the template) was used to give the right shape while pressing and drying the cover.


The Book

When the over was made and the block was ready, it was about the time to connect them into The Book. Thats why until now the ends of cords were left loose and thats why the paper leaf used for the spine lining was left with longer edges. All these elements together with torn parts of protective endsheets work as strong hinges which let the cover open, but stay firm at the same time.



The hinges are pasted down and shaped in a groove in the outer part of the cover which makes the book more flexible for the opening.

One of the last steps was the attachment of the decorative endpapers. Endpapers previously were decorated by step-by-step immersion into liquid dyeing solution. As a result, the simple layered pattern matches nicely with the deep dark waters that one could find under the ice-hole of the cover.



To attach the endpapers to the book, I firstly used a certain template to cut a special bifolio. Then one side of the endpapers is pasted down as well as the hinge area and left to dry completely. Afterwards, the remaining part of the loose endpapers’ part is cut according to the shape of the text block.


Cutting the remaining parts of the endpaper


A this step the book is almost finish, although you might want to keep it under the light pressure a couple of days more in order to make all the parts “to get use” to each other.

At the very last step a precious etching, as an jewel, was cut in the right shape and pasted down into the cover. The finishing is made with an agate stone.


The jacket

The last, but not least part of the process is a manufacturing of the dust jacket. However, in the case of  The Double this jacket is not only a mere protective jacket, but an integral part of the concept of the cover. The jacket was cut from a thin grey board (220 g/m², Fabriano Elle Erre) and folded according to every book sample. By using a special cover template the front oval  and back hole were cut away and their edges were slightly smoothened by soft sandpaper.


Folding a dust jacket


The oval hole in the front cover worked perfectly as a main reference for my title template. The plates with the right types were made by special order in the company that makes this kind of plates for the printers world. We decided to use a simple black stamp ink for the book title and the name of the author. The types were printed by moderated time and pressure in the press. That’s why you can feel a nice relief when you touch the cover.



Finally, determined shapes of two color paper was cut by special templates to create the deep layer effect in the cover. These pieces were carefully attached to the inner part of the jacket. Everything was left to dry.



Afterwards, the books were dressed up with each of their jackets and left at least a couple of days to stay calmly under the light pressure. See the finished book in our gallery.

We are very proud of the result of this collaboration with Virginija. And we are also very glad that our work was warmly received  during the presentation on 9th of May in Studium P in Vilnius, where everybody could see, touch and order his or her sample of the book.

Dead Shirt Society is born!


Dead Shirt Society is a new experimental project carried out by Siberiana Books and focused on the  limited edition books (and other printed work) and all the creative process behind it.

We believe that new technologies, despite many discussions and a certain criticism, also permit to develop new approaches to the creative process in the field of edition and publishing.

As one of our goals, we want to show that e-book phenomena doesn’t mean at all the disappearance of the traditional paper media, but, contrary to the popular opinion, it elevates the traditional codex-shaped book to the much more sophisticated and artistic level, limited by the number, but extended in its quality.

From its very beginning, the spirit of the Dead Shirt Society is absolutely collaborative inviting all the poets, writers, photographers, designers, publishers, conceptual artists, bookbinders, bibliophiles, conservators, ecologists and many other people to join us and share the ideas.

This is also the way we see the possibilities for the return of the craft of bookbindery with all its incredible historical potential. We make layouts, we bind, rebind and create objects based both on the new materials and ideas and the old ones, time-tested solutions.

That’s where we give a shape to the virtual contents and that’s where dead shirt rise for the new live in the cover of a hand-bound book.


Warm memories from Montefiascone

Now when the autumn is getting into it’s dark zenith, at least here in the North, it’s good to remember the summer and an enriching workshop of historical bindings and document conservation that took place in Seminary of Barbarigo in Montefiascone town, in sunny Italy during 7-11th of August. It was a third week of Study programme 2017 organised by The Montefiascone Conservation Project. I was able to participate there thank’s to the educational grant provided by Lithuanian Council for Culture.



The workshop The Secret Ledger and Memorial Book of Pepo degli Albizzi: An Early 14th Century Italian Ledger Binding was guided by an experienced document conservator from New York, Library of Academy of Medicine, Scott W. Devine. During the course we had a good oportunity to observe the meticulous study not only of the structure of original book that Scott made before the workshop, but also a deep knowledge of the content and the history of this particular sample of ledger book.

The manuscript was written in 14th century by Florence merchant Pepo degli Albizzi, a representative of Albizzi family who’s influence in Florence at that time is comparable with their later competitors Medici. Pepo degli Albizzi received a blank notebook bound in bright pink leather as a present for his wedding. This let us presume how the book itself was considered as an expensive object during those days. The interesting thing is that he used this book not only for his business notes (lists of debts), but also as a personal diary where he put the list of important family events.


Pepo d’Antonio di Lando Degli Albizzi, Secret Ledger and Memorial Book, 1339-1358. Case MS 27, The Newberry Library (Source).



As long as the book includes dyed alum tawed leather, we also had a very nice introduction made by Cheryl Porter, a document conservator and a soul of the whole Montefiasconce Conservation Project, about history of alum tawed leather manufacture and it’s use. She also introduced us red pigments historically used as leather dyes.

The main part of the course was dedicated to the reconstruction of Albizzi’s manuscript and making a cutaway model of the original book. According to the detailed instructions of Scott, we started by dyeing the leather with the mix of two types of dyes made of brazilwood and lac.



Often we are mislead by the shady and washed-out colours of antique objects. So at the beginning it was quite shocking to recognise the the old manuscript was so brightly pink.


When it was dry, another alum tawed leather was pasted on top with a sheet of handmade paper between them. According to Scott, the presence of the paper in Albizzi’s manuscript together with the structure of the book (the limp binding) once again shows a big Arabic world influence in the Mediterranean region.



The book block consisting of six sections was sewn on three dyed leather tongs and put into vellum wrapper. Particularly this structure of the book shows how well protected this type of books was: Albizzi’s manuscript seems to survive until our days without any later intervention.



Pasted and trimmed leather was decorated by two-color stitch.


Moreover, the presence of the overband tackets also made the binding extremely firm and resistible. Dyed leather strips of overband tackets are fixed with undyed alum tawed leather laces that also works as a decoration, that is also so typical for ledger books, also known as archival bindings.



Even the headbands also have their own tackets, fixing them to the book cover and giving the right shape of the block.



Finally, overband tackets’ stripes were fixed by a typical “albizzi” tacket:



At the end of the workshop we were allowed to see some samples of ledger books found in the archive of Seminary of Barbarigo. We could see repeating main structural elements of the ledger books, that where common from 10th until 19th centuries.



The same messy way to fix the knots of the overband tackets



The same way to wave the alum-tawed lace on the overband takcets



And the same way to fix the headband with it’s own tackets



To sum up, I think that the information provided in this workshop was not only useful for those who do research on ledger or Italian bindings, but also as a very good example of a detailed investigation what is used to be called as an “archeology of bindings”, where the the shape and the structure of the book complements the content of the book and vice versa.

Coming back home to Vilnius, after the workshop, a glass of wonderful Est! Est!! Est!!! helped me to digest a bunch of impressions and information received during the workshop.






Heroic works. A catalogue of contemporary bookbindery

Happy to announce that one of the works of Siberiana Books appears in beautifully published catalogue of the International Competition Designer Bookbinders 2017.

This year the main topic of the Competition was a hero and mythology. Ieva Rusteikaitė, a bookbinder of Siberiana Books, has created a fine binding for “Des dieux et des hommes. Études de mythologie lithuanienne” (PUF, Paris, 1985), a study of Lithuanian mythology written by the great semiotician a Algirdas Julien Greimas. You can find more details about the binding here.

It is an honour to appear on the side of a group of beautiful and well made contemporary creative bindings. It is also good to see that the art and the craft of bookbindery is kept alive in so many countries.

All about women

In the autumn of 2017 a binding of a special edition of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel made by Siberiana will be exposed in the exhibition “All About Women”, an event organized in Brussels by ARA Belgica and Bibliotheca Wittockiana.




According to the organisers, the exhibition attempts to embrace “women, whether they are headstrong women, artists, writers, muses or icons or many other outstanding ladies”. On this occasion Siberiana presented a binding of the one of the most important feminine figures of contemporary poetry.



It will be an honour to appear in a exhibition hall of Bibliotheca Wittockiana, a one of few museums dedicated to book arts and bookbindery.

Find more information about the selected binding here.

Things born in the notebooks

Cover Tumba comun We are happy to present a long-awaited work of Cristóbal Polo, a book of poems Tumba común (Sp. “Common Grave”), recently published by Editorial Gravitaciones in February of 2017. In fact, it is not only a book of poems, but whole universe that includes slow-made selection of pictures made by pinhole camera during the last few year and a short movie called Alrededor de la tumba común (Sp. “Around the Common Grave”) filmed by a old good Super 8 camera.

You may ask what it has to do with Siberiana Books? The point is that whole this imaginary universe was born in our handmade notebooks, that were all named and carefully classified. These notebooks were used not only as a support for a mosaico of fragmented poems, but also as a basis for experimental notes on required exposition time for a pinhole camera as well as for sketches of Alrededor de la tumba común. 


Moreover, the whole project is illustrates Cristóbal Polo’s ideas about his pathaphysical theory of quadernistics, which is exposed in a kind of constantly updated manifesto, that currently consists of 28 clauses.

You are very welcome to visit a website of Tumba común, where you will find a detailed description of the whole project.







Manifesto of quadernistics

Finally we have are happy to present a manifesto of quadernistics. For the moment it is published only in Spanish, but hopefully very soon it will appear in English and other languages. Enjoy the manifesto and join the wide circles of quadernists from all over the world.


Anotaciones para una teoría cuadernística

§ 0

Desde el punto de vista de la comunicaciónliteraria, artistica o científica–, la cuadernística es una disciplina de escritura difícilmente justificable. Ergo la primera regla del cuadernista es: No tratarás de justificarte. Fin del manifiesto.

§ 1

Escritura nacida en, para y a través del cuaderno; ese es el principio fundamental de la cuadernística.

El cuaderno como punto de partida, como medio y como fin de la escritura. El cuaderno como soporte para una obra siempre provisional, deficiente y abierta.

§ 2

La cuadernística no es un fetichismo del cuaderno, ni un solipsismo de la escritura, ni una retrofilia del papel, ni una alergia al texto acabado y público.

La escritura cuadernística puede coexisitir con la escritura teleológica, cuya meta es la obra acabada. Pero la cuadernística no tiene una meta más allá de sí misma: la simple proliferación de la escritura es su única finalidad. Pero esta finalidad sin fin de la cuadernística solo sirve como definición técnica.

§ 3

Hay cuadernistas puros y cuadernistas impuros. A todos los quiere la cuadernística por igual. Entre los cuadernistas puros, hay grafómanos sin rumbo, grafómanos redimidos, cuadernópatas sin remedio y cuadernófagos con hambre de abismo. También están los perros voladores de la escritura. Todos ellos deciden acampar de forma permanente en sus cuadernos. Los cuadernistas impuros pueden haber sido en otro tiempo cuadernistas puros de la misma manera en que podrían volver a serlo en el futuro. Entre ellos encontramos a escritores de toda clase que siguen volviendo a sus cuadernos, convertidos en cuarteles de invierno, para repensar su propia escritura.

§ 4

Paul Valéry se levantaba cada mañana entre las cinco y las seis, encendía un cigarrillo –no sabemos si también se preparaba un café– y se entregaba a la escritura de sus cuadernos durante un par de horas sin interrupción. Así durante 45 años. “Estos cuadernos son mi vicio”, confesó alguna vez. En ese monumental diario intelectual que son sus Cahiers, Valéry registró los “hechos del pensamiento mismo”, las ideas como objetos observables y en constante mutación: “Estos cuadernos representan la naturaleza provisional, perpetuamente provisional, de todo lo que me viene a la mente”. Pero esos papeles, además de una disciplina mental, eran en también el último refugio, “una forma del deseo de estar conmigo, y hasta de ser yo”.

§ 5

La escritura teleológica, pública, se ha devaluado por superávit. De la misma manera que, en un mundo hiperpoblado, los antinatalistas asumen una responsabilidad compensatoria, los cuadernistas hacen lo propio en un mundo hiperpublicado. Su solución: el retiro voluntario a las salvajes praderas de la cuadernística.

§ 6

Un cuaderno y una mano. Al menos una mano o, en su defecto, un pie u otra extremidad. Preferentemente una mano. La cuadernística se hace a mano con un bolígrafo, lápiz o cualquier otro periférico de entrada u objeto capaz de impregnar la superficie blanca con cualquier clase de tinta o pintura de origen vegetal, animal, mineral o digital.

§ 7

La cuadernística se hace sobre un cuaderno. El cuaderno puede ser un conjunto de láminas de papel o pliegos encuadernados, una pantalla de cristal líquido, un rollo de papel higiénico, una lápida, una piedra, una tabla o cualquier otra superficie vacía y no efímera. Escribir en la orilla del mar con una rama seca o inscribir el cielo con estelas de condensación no serían actos cuadernísticos.

§ 8

Los poemas que Emily Dickinson publicó en vida se cuentan, literalmente, con los dedos de una mano. Toda su obra se gestó en la reclusión voluntaria: en márgenes de libros, trozos de periódico, sobres de cartas, hojas sueltas y tiras de papel. Pero no fue una obra secreta por capricho o demencia, sino por necesidad. El secreto fue la materia en la que Dickinson modeló su mundo y su lenguaje; una condición inicial irrenunciable. Lo demás, lo que vino después, ya no era asunto suyo.

§ 9

Un buen cuadernista es quien se queda dormido sobre su cuaderno. En argot cuadernístico, las manchas de tinta de la escritura dormida se conocen como “flores de sueño”.

§ 10

Algunos de los grandes cuadernistas de la historia fueron Sei Shonagon, Michel de Montaigne, Francisco de Goya, Isaac Newton, Franz Kafka, Paul Valéry, Leonardo Da Vinci, Sigitas Geda, Pe Cas Cor, Emily Dickinson, Ludwig Hohl, J.M.W. Turner, Rober Walser y Yoshida Kenko.

§ 11

La cuadernística es una actividad individual sobre un soporte personal, aunque no necesariamente privado. Practicar la cuadernística no es escribir un diario, aunque un diario puede tener una intención netamente cuadernística.

§ 12

Ludwig Hohl vivió voluntariamente encerrado en un sótano durante veinte años, dedicado a pulir y reordenar sus anotaciones. Sus papeles colgaban de una cuerda que atravesaba la habitación, como ropa tendida o como fotografías recién reveladas. Había descubierto el verdadero sentido del trabajo: corregirse, reescribirse, reordenar las frases y los fragmentos en busca de una combinación definitiva. A aquel sótano llegaban muy pocos lectores –sobre todo algún buen samaritano, como Dürrenmatt o Frisch–. El verdadero lector tardaría en llegar, pero terminaría llegando: «Que tendré lectores, y en el sentido más riguroso, está fuera de toda duda. Lo que no sé es simplemente cuántos y cuándo».

§ 13

La cuadernística se sustenta en lo fragmentario y en las conexiones aparentemente arbitrarias entre las partes. Pero no persigue otra cosa que crear un mundo. Para un cuadernista, cada uno de sus cuadernos es un mundo, pero todos sus cuadernos forman un solo mundo. Necesidad y contingencia son una sola cosa para la cuadernística.

§ 14

Pero también el secreto es un un punto de llegada. En 1987, Pedro Casariego Córdoba dio por finalizada su obra literaria. Desde entonces, toda su creatividad se vuelca en la pintura, la escritura privada y el cuidado del jardín familiar. Para Pe Cas Cor, el verdadero artista es el “artista interior”. Aquellos que exteriorizan su obra son los artistas débiles, los “poetas de segunda” que son incapaces de construir su obra solo dentro de sí mismos y para sí mismos.

§ 15

El cuadernista piensa: “Soy el único cuadernista sobre la tierra”. Y no le falta razón.

§ 16

Yoshida Kenko, un bonzo budista japonés del siglo XIV, utilizaba un método de escritura muy similar al de Ludwig Hohl. Pero, en lugar de cuerdas, utilizaba las paredes de de su covacha, donde iba pegando los papeles que llenaba ociosamente con su pincel y que posteriormente fueron recopilados por Imagawa Ryoshun. Al comienzo de sus Ocurrencias de un ocioso, escribe:

«En medio del ocio, en este océano de paz, paso los días inclinado sobre el tintero, tratando de recoger en el papel las descabelladas ocurrencias que cruzan por mi mente. Yo mismo me he quedado sorprendido de tantos desatinos».

§ 17

Un pequeño desvío (opcional) a modo de analogía:

Piénsese en la estonopografía (“estenopo”=“agujero”, “grafía”=“escritura”). Escritura a través de un agujero. Escritura espectral de las formas en disolución. La estenopografía es a la imagen fotográfica lo que la cuadernística a la palabra escrita.

El escritor estenopógrafo espera mientras su caja negra recoge los fantasmas. Mira fijamente la escena mientras el agujero absorbe la luz que el objeto devuelve desde un espacio muy diferente al que perciben sus ojos. La espera, la contemplación, invoca y remueve los fantasmas en el interior de la caja negra. Del otro lado del agujero, la presencia pura del objeto se convierte en espectro, en espacio anterior al espacio, en recuerdo puro.

§ 18

En los guateques literarios que se celebran en las azoteas acristaladas de los más altos edificios de las ciudades, se habla de los cuadernistas como escritores en retirada, sujetos aculturados en un mundo completamente nuevo en el que ya no cabe lo único que aprendieron –tal y como lo aprendieron–. Pero eso no es verdad. Los cuadernistas son higienistas, y su retirada no es otra cosa que una avanzadilla.

§ 19

La cuadernística no es una escritura en collage, sino en mosaico. El nombre de esta antigua técnica pictórica proviene del griego μουσειoς (“mouseios”), “relativo a las musas”. Para los romanos, ese arte exquisito y casi imposible solo podía ser inspirado por las musas. Cada fragmento de piedra era un diminuto accidente que encontraba su lugar necesario en el interior de una trama que dependía de la voluntad de las musas. En biología molecular, un mosaico es un organismo que presenta, por error o capricho de las musas, tejidos celulares genéticamente distintos. De la misma manera, en la escritura cuadernística cada fragmento es tan contingente como necesario.

§ 20

Un cuadernista con talento es cien veces un buen escritor.

§ 21

Todo lo que cabe en un cuaderno, por ridículo o peregrino que parezca, es sagrado.

§ 22

Uno de los pocos libro que Yoshida Kenko llevó consigo en su retiro ascético era, por supuesto, el Libro de la almohada, de Sei Shonagon, poeta y cortesana japonesa del siglo del siglo XII. Shonagon, precursora del zuihitsu, género ensayístico japonés cuya denominación podría traducirse como “el correr del pincel”, puede considerarse la fundadora de la cuadernística. Shonagon escribía para sí misma en su “cuaderno de cabecera”, ese que hay que tener siempre a mano cerca de la almohada. Observaciones pasajeras, apuntes de sociedad, sutiles agudezas, breves instantáneas, listados de cosas que atraen su atención, bocetos de poemas, pequeñas narraciones, pinceladas descriptivas como paisajes en miniatura; todo cabe en ese flujo en el que la mano se mueve con gracia y agilidad e incluso cierta indiferencia. El pincel salta de un motivo a otro sin detenerse más de lo necesario. Importa más el flujo, que las impresiones e ideas salten al cuaderno manteniendo toda su viveza, sin adornos innecesarios. En el penúltimo fragmento de su Libro de la Almohada, confiesa:

«Me propuse llenar los cuadernos con anotaciones sobre hechos raros, historias del pasado, y toda suerte de cosas, incluyendo a menudo la materia más trivial».

§ 23

Un cuaderno, para ser cuadernístico, debe tener un nombre. Porque cada cuaderno pertenece a un mundo y es un mundo. Y los mundos sin nombre son solo pantanos de tiempo. El cuadernista nombra sus cuadernos para que sus cuadernos regresen a él en el momento justo y le devuelvan un nombre y un mundo.

§ 24

Isaac Newton, hijo de analfabetos, consiguió su primer cuaderno a los doce años, con el dinero que su madre le había dado antes de enviarlo al colegio The King’s School, en Grantham. En la primera página de ese cuadernillo escolar con cubierta de vitela escribió: Isacus Newton hunc librum possidet («Isaac Newton posee este libro»).

§ 25

La cuadernística es sana.

§ 26

Todo cuadernista es un calígrafo, aunque su letra solo la entiendan un puñado de critógrafos en todo el mundo, como sucedió con los microgramas de Walser.

§ 27

La escritura de Robert Walser es un intento de desaparición. Para desaparecer, uno puede desintegrarse o hacerse infinitamente pequeño. Walser optó por lo segundo, sobre todo desde su ingreso en el sanatorio psiquiátrico de Herisau. Los 526 pliegos que integran “El método del lápiz” fueron compuestos con una microscópica caligrafía gótica en cuyo desciframiento los investigadores se han demorado cuatro décadas. Fue en los años 20 cuando Walser decidió pasarse al lápiz, en un intento –como confesó en alguna ocasión– de regresar a los orígenes de la escritura, a los tiempos del cuadernillo escolar. Con el lápiz, todo lo escrito es virtualmente efímero. Pero hay quizá otra razón, más técnica, que lo emparenta con Höhl: una necesidad de abolir la linealidad del acto de escribir. Eliminar esa linealidad equivale a abrir la escritura a todas sus posibilidades. Los estímulos pueden venir de cualquier lado, en cualquier dirección y en cualquier momento. Y cada momento es un nuevo comienzo. No en vano, para muchos críticos, Walser es un “escritor sin motivo”, y su obra, una deriva ociosa e indolente sobre la vanidad del mundo. Hacerse pequeño e ingrávido hasta desaparecer.

§ 28

Para el cuadernista, el cuaderno es el camino y es el pan.


A fine binding of Moby Dick

Ieva Rusteikaitė aka. Siberiana, a chief bookbinder of Siberiana Books, and as a member of ARA Belgica had participated in a exhibition, called “Reliures océanes / Ocean bindings” organized by ARA France and held in Paris on 17th of November-12th of December of 2016.

Moby Dick or the Whale
A fine binding of Melville’s Moby Dick. See more on the ARA Belgica website.

Siberiana presented a fine binding of Lithuanian edition of Melville’s “Moby Dick, the Whale”, which soon will be exposed in our website with more details. For the moment we are eager to see the catalogue of the exhibition which also represents a spectrum of contemporary fine bindings.

In the meantime, Siberiana keeps busy with her new work on the next exhibition, organized by ARA Belgica.