(Iowa City, Iowa: Gravel Pit Press, 1990). 280 x 180 mm. (11 x 7 1/8"). 1 p.l., 11,  pp.,  leaf. No. 27 OF 45 COPIES, signed in the colophon by designer, printer, and illustrator Nora L. Koch.
UNCONVENTIONAL BLACK AND KHAKI TIE-DYED CALF BY CRIS CLAIR TAKACS (inscribed in pencil in colophon: "Bound by Cris Clair Takacs 1993"), upper cover with subtle leather-relief archway and blind-stamped falling leaves, smooth spine with two black morocco labels, green handmade paper endleaves. In matching leather-lipped black cloth slipcase. With four full-page woodcuts by Nora Koch. Printed in Hammer Uncial on domestic etching paper. In mint condition.
This is an attractively hand-printed and illustrated remembrance by architectural historian Carol Ahlgren of the hand-crafted bridges she crossed while collecting maple sap with her grandfather; but the big story here is our volume's conspicuous binding of tie-dyed calf fashioned by Ohio artisan Cris Takacs. Takacs began studying bookbinding in 1980, and in 1987 worked with Czech binders Jan and Jarmila Sobota. In an email to a former owner of this volume, Takacs explained she achieved a modelled effect on the upper cover using a leather relief method in which the leather was laid over thin bristol board to produce the design's archway outline. The falling leaves were then tooled in blind, though the leather did not take tooling well, and she had "a devil of a time with the leaves." Takacs is a former chairperson of the Guild of Book Workers, and since her retirement from managing the collections at the International Women's Air and Space Museum in Cleveland, she does binding and conservation under the trade name Books Bound & Repaired. Nora Koch received an MFA in Printmaking and Book Arts from the University of Iowa, and then operated the Gravel Pit Press for a few years after graduate school. She is now a freelance book designer for publishers that include the Minnesota Historical Society Press, University of Wisconsin Press, and Fortress Press. She was a founding member of Minnesota Book Builders. (ST17263-23)