The Art of Bookbinding. Western Avenue Studio: A314
Our featured artist is gearing up to go back to school. Book binder, Todd Davis, doubles as a receptionist at the North Bennet Street School, his alma mater.
Right Place at the Right Time
Establishing a bindery can be very costly and time consuming. However, fate was hard at work the day Todd came across a mailing list announcement about a binder in Norwich, VT who was looking to sell his entire bindery before he retired. It was an all or nothing acquisition. So, Todd plunged head first into his new mid-life career. After a good deal of searching, he decided to set up shop here at Western Avenue a little over two years ago. Getting the equipment into his studio was a great feat, as some of his equipment fully assembled weighs 1000 lbs or more.
Hands-on and Technically Challenging
A lover of history and old crusty books, Todd became interested in how books work during the many hours he spent among the stacks while pursuing his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Massachusetts Boston. A former software consultant of 30 plus years, he likes that book binding is a technically challenging, hands-on process that doesn’t require a keyboard or computer.
Todd was born in Texas, raised in Ohio, and lived in Florida before moving to New England to work for Wang Laboratories in 1982. After living in Nashua, NH, he moved to Medford, MA, then finally settled in the South End of Boston. Each time he comes to work at Western Avenue Studios, he commutes an hour and a half by commuter rail.
Restoration & Repairs
Besides commissions and workshops, Todd provides book repair services. Each repair project presents various obstacles, but Todd loves the challenge as well as the mystery and history involved in taking a book a part. He usually has an old time radio show playing in the background when he’s dissecting book structures, except in July when he faithfully watches the Tour de France. Some of his past repair projects include: a family bible, a Roman Missal, a 50-year-old wedding photo album, and a private library’s circulating collection.