We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Buck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
Clients and people in general have no idea the time and expertise involved in restoring antiquarian books. It is almost as if they think I run the book through a machine, punch in some codes and it comes out the other end restored. Each book requires many hours of painstaking delicate work to bring an aged relic back to life and to be a functioning book.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Fine Bookbinding/Book Conservation comes down to the care of each book that I work on. Every book is different and has its own challenges. My goal is to use my skills to bring each book back to life and to ensure its longevity. What sets me apart from others and what I am most proud of is my ability to restore the books that others cannot. I have spent decades developing methods to restore the original binding where others merely chop the book up and integrate it into a new binding. I am where I am professionally because I have not abandoned my high standards of work and have kept going, non stop for 30 years. It has not been easy. Fine materials are expensive, work flow comes and goes. As I mentioned before, most people cannot grasp the amount of time and skill involved and do not want to pay a fair price for the work involved in each project. I have learned to quote high as there are always issues that come up that you don’t see going into a project. Stand firm on your price, never negotiate. Do not take projects where the client is difficult from the onset, know when to walk away. It has been a long, strange journey. Surviving in the modern world working in an ancient Craft is incredible. Myself and my contemporaries are the last of this line of skill and knowledge.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Maureen Duke, Lester Capon, John Mitchell: Master Bookbinder, Master Book Conservator, Master Gold Finisher. These three English Instructors taught me the Craft of Fine Bookbinding/Book Conservation 30 years ago in Surrey, England. Their knowledge and skill was the best available in the World and I am grateful that they shared their knowledge of the Craft.
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