Farm & Fiber at Eidolon: Life Lately.

Okay, I know I say this with every blog post, but I CAN NOT believe how fast this year is flying! Is it really September?  I'm still in the mindset of Spring, man. If you follow along with our Insta Stories, you often see us during our evening break chillin' around the firepit with our cute farm animals. It's become a routine ever since we had our baby lambs earlier this year, and one I look forward to everyday.  For me (Jill) working from home has been a huge challenge, simply because I enjoy getting out into the world, seeing people out and about, and I do miss the routine of the hustle and bustle of going to a traditional job. So getting out of the bindery and visiting our animals is so rewarding, and really that breath of fresh air I need to stay motivated and focused on projects. 


I think oftentimes people want us to show more of what we're doing in the bindery rather than out on the farm, and we do plan on showing more of our life in the bindery; we're just in the process of remodeling it, so it's not quite ready for its close up just yet. Also, I have a hard time when people start asking who owns the book we're working on, or how much money is that book worth; frankly that information isn't anyone's business. If you want to talk about the history of the book, the author, the binding style, the paper stock, type fonts, we're all in, and will talk for days about that kind of stuff. Unfortunately, more often than not, human curiousity takes over and people seem to be more interested in information that we just won't give out. So if we seem closed off when it comes to our bindery work, I'm sorry about that. We have been sent emails from other binders telling us we're snotty and look down our nose at them. For us, our closed off attitude is about being protective, that's really all it is. 

 We'll miss this space, but we're excited to expand! 

We'll miss this space, but we're excited to expand! 

Lately, in addition to regular bindery work, and remodeling and moving our bindery, we're gearing up for our first Fiber Festival that's happening this November where I'm selling my hand spun yarn and threads, raw wool from our rabbits and sheep, and other roving I have from a variety of different fiber animals, as well as our adjustable frame loom, antiques, notions, antique prints and engravings. Of course we'll have old books and new ones we've made there too! I'm really excited to meet fellow fiber enthusiasts. 


We're always making improvements on our homestead, something that is a constant work in progress. Animals wear things out fast, and so does East Texas weather. We built fencing around our house blocking off our front yard, so now our sheep won't escape when we open the gate to back out of the driveway!  All of our fencing just needs paint—another project to add to the list—but we'll eventually get it done.  We're also in the process of building a dog run which is basically the hugest dog crate ever made; we built it using cattle panels. Our big dogs will not be able to dig, chew, our bust their way out of this baby; a reassuring feeling animal owners enjoy.   


As always, we've worked on amazing books and have built beautiful enclosures this summer too!  After eight years as a full-time conservator in the rare book field, I still am amazed at what collectors find, and how well they take care of their collections; it makes this conservationist (Joseph) very happy.


With so many projects going on at once, and our constant checking off that to-do-list as fast as we add to it, I see why time flies by so quickly; we know everyone feels that way.  We hope y'all had a great Summer, and are looking forward to a wonderful Fall season, I know we are.

Stay tuned for our new and improved bindery reveal in the coming weeks (same location, just expanding)! Now, back to the books!  

 1830 First edition Book of Mormon before and after restoration. 

1830 First edition Book of Mormon before and after restoration. 

Crossing the Bench: Historical Rebind with a Concealed Fore-Edge Painting & Graphite Edge Treatment.

When my client asked for a fore-edge painting on a historical rebind, I was pretty excited! I had the freedom to choose the image and the treatment, which is always nice, but can be nerve racking too. 


This book is an 1876 Doctrine and Convenients that once had a ratty old cloth binding; now it's bound in the way it always should have been, in our opinion, because the cover of a book really should always be beautiful, and probably always leather. 


We rebound the book in calf leather that we hand dyed, then tooled the spine and boards with a classic 19th Century Design. The center tooling on the spine is a build up of a smaller tool, which is one of my favorite ways to tool on leather.  


We marbled these lovely French Curl end sheets, and Joseph painted a landscape image of the LDS Nauvoo Temple. He then concealed the painting with a graphite edge treatment. 

We gave this book the VIP treatment, and we loved every minute of the restoration project.   We thought it would be fun to film a short video of the graphite edge treatment process, and the reveal of the fore-edge painting. Enjoy, fellow book lovers! 

Crossing the Bench: Historical Rebind of a First Edition KJV Bible, 1611.


We recently restored and rebound this amazing first edition King James Bible, 1611, and it was so much fun! 

We also made a custom enclosure with an internal compartment to house the original leather we took off the covers, and any other documents or provenance that may have come with the book.  

The book's boards were quite tattered and not really protecting the text block anymore. The leather was breaking away and not protecting the boards, and well, you get the idea. 

We rebound the book with wooden boards in our hand dyed calf leather, hand tooled in both gold and blind, embroidered chevron end bands, hand forged brass corner bosses and clasps that I engraved with a period appropriate design of the 17th Century.  We finished the project by adding a facsimile title page.


It's always exciting to add life back to these special relics from the past! 


Sheep Days at Eidolon House

The other day the sun was hiding behind the clouds, and the evening light was perfect to shoot photos of our cute sheep as they were out and about on the homestead.  We're also happy that our puppies, Brina and Callum, are learning how to interact with the sheep better. 

We love our sheep days at Eidolon House!

Crossing the Bench: 1617 KJV Bible Historical Rebind.


We had the pleasure of restoring and rebinding this Holy Bible (KJV) from 1617, and it was such a fun project, and somewhat of a milestone as this was the first time I made brass corner bosses.  

I'm not usually a huge fan of books with corner bosses because of the thin brass used. I decided to use a thicker brass stock for my corner bosses, as I feel the hardware on large books should be proportional to the thicker boards and text blocks. I'm happy I made the decision to use a thicker brass stock, because the hardware looks fantastic! 

I treated the leather, dyed it, cosmetically aged it, and tooled the boards in both blind and gold tooling. I hand cut the brass for the claps and corner bosses, and engraved period appropriate designs in the metal. I embroidered a single bead end bands for the text block using lovely linen thread. All of this during huge storms, multiple tornadoes, and a two day blackout. 

Below are a few photos showing the process and finished binding.  


30 Days Without Social Media!


And. . . we're back! Miss us? We've missed you guys! So much has happened these past 30 days, yet it's been life as usual too. The bindery is always hopping with fun restoration projects, and our homestead has grown by leaps and bounds. We kept up with blogging, so if you've followed along with our blog you're pretty much up to date with the happenings of the homestead. We've been saving our restoration and binding projects though, mostly because it's nice to keep special projects to ourselves for a while, even though we enjoy sharing so much of our bindery life with y'all.  

While on our break several people asked us if it was a good idea to take a social media break since it's become such a huge marketing tool for businesses. All the books and blogs say post constantly and often too; so thinking about that question we couldn't help but answer:  Yes, 30 days of not sharing our day-to-day life isn't going to be a big deal, and here's why we came to that conclusion:  So much of our business is creative and personal, and it's all housed and run directly out of our home which makes it even more personal with a huge sense of propriety and protection. Not to mention factoring in how special the rare books are that we are trusted with to care for; they're not only special because of their rarity, they also have great personal value to their owners—our clients—which in of it's self is a huge responsibility we don't take lightly. But here's the thing; we shaped our business this way on purpose.  

Restoration work on books is pretty straightforward, but all of our bindings and enclosures are custom designs and handmade in our home studio, and that feels really personal, and it also feels really special which helps keep the creative juices flowing. The more of ourselves we can put into our custom work, the better the outcome for the end product and for our clients. When working in a creative field one's environment and surroundings are extremely important, and that's where our homestead living and animals come into play.  Being surrounded by nature, sweet farm animals, and the work we've put into building our homestead adds a whole other layer of just how much of us we put into our work. Then we move on to the fiber arts side of our home business.  Spinning yarn using the fiber given to us from our rabbits and sheep is an amazing experience, and another layer of something special we pass on to our work, which all adds up to how we find inspiration, creativity, humility, refine our craft, and become innovative. Maintaining the balance of these layers can be tricky and requires a lot of effort, and social media, while great for sharing, can be very disruptive. Pulling back from the outside world every once in a while is never a bad idea in our opinion, in fact it's required.  

Here is what happened in the 30 days:


Hettie had twins! We're pretty excited to have more bouncing (literally) lambs. She had a boy, Finn, who is a cuddly one, and a sweet little girl, Tilly. They are so fun and never far away from each other. They had a rough beginning as Hettie got sick the day after giving birth, but we were able to take care of Hettie and her lambs, and everyone is healthy and happy.  Read more about Hettie's incident with Milk Fever HERE.  


We decided to get a livestock dog since we now have all these sheep and other animals around the yard. She is just a pup, but will grow up to be a good guardian. Her name is Brina, and she is a mix Anatolian Shepherd /Great Pyrenees.


We got her from a farm near Tyler Texas and when we put her in the car we noticed she had fleas, so she is quite wet in this photo after we scrubbed her with medicated shampoo and other such medicines to help her feel better and clean. Silly us to think we could just pick up an animal and not have additional issues to take care of.  After her bath the color of her fur changed from a beautiful reddish cream color to a lovely soft white.  I think she's happy to be here and we're happy to have her.  She is already so fun with a calm temperament and a member of our family. 

We know it's Spring in Texas as soon as we see the wild flowers bloom.  Every year we take a drive on "Bluebonnet Trail" and soak in all the beautiful scenery.  We take about a million photos too!  See more HERE


Y'all remember last Fall when two kittens appeared on our front porch, they never left our front porch by the way; well their mother had another litter! Mamma cat got in a fight with something and got hurt with a bad cut from her lip to below her chin, we couldn't just leave her hurt like that, so we took her to the vet to get a few stitches.  Later that same night she gave birth to three little cuties. Anyone looking for a kitty? Anyone?! 


We have not let mamma cat outside since having her kittens so we can have her fixed and hopefully stop the kitten making machine! But seriously, anyone want a kitten?  


We've been making beautiful historical bindings, and restoring pretty special books, with a few enclosures and facsimiles thrown in for good measure. A couple of these bindings have become our favorites!


But, we're working on a few more bindings that could end up our favorites.  Who are we kidding, It's impossible to name just one favorite binding we've done in recent years; there have been too many awesome books that have crossed our work bench that we'd call our favorites. 


We built a chicken coop for our chicks, and we can't wait for fresh eggs this summer after our hens grow up and begin laying! 


Over all our social media break was good; disconnecting from our highly connected culture now days felt refreshing some how.  But, like after any good vacation it's good to be back!


Also, anyone else obsessed with Ed Sheeran's new album!