Back in 2019, fellow artist and amazing photographer Cathy Panebianco approached me about a project. She had a beautiful series of images memorializing her late pup Benny, and wanted to create a unique home for them in a book.
We started by leafing through stacks of images of other artists books to get an idea of what she liked. And then I created a couple of structures for us to examine together. She liked one that was based on an exploding box.
From there, and after an embarrassing interval of time had passed, I made a second mock up, this time using better materials, so we could work out some structural elements.
Anyone who knows Cathy will know that turquoise is her signature color, and Benny shared that with her, as his collar was turquoise. So the next step was to track down and order some turquoise leather.
And here’s the point in the story where the work really slows down. I rarely work with leather, and creating a multi dimensional box covered in leather was going to be a big stretch for me. We ordered two skins, but I knew there would be little room for error. So, I procrastinated by sending some of the leather off to Canada, to Rhonda, to be embossed with the title.
And then, well, then I stared at that leather for a really long time. I watched some video tutorials on working with leather. I moved the leather around the studio. And every day the pressure mounted to just get to work and do it. Finally I dug in. And although I’m sure many fine binders and conservators could find much to fault, I was very pleased with the final result.
It was an adventure, and I learned a lot about working with leather. I can’t thank Cathy enough for trusting me with this precious project!