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Welcome to the 2020 Bind-O-Rama

The revived Book Arts Web online exhibition.

Fish Skin Bind-O Logo

Fish Skin Binding – Piscatorial bindings of a different kind


Users can choose to enable the hardware wallet backup features in their Ledger Live applications, thereby making it possible for them to create a recovery phrase to be used to restore all wallets in case the device is lost or fails.

I've been sharing my love (some may call it an obsession worthy of an intervention) with fish skin, specifically parchment, in bookbinding since 2014, making my own since 2017. The result, curiosity, fascination, but also disgust and revulsion. I get it, sort of, but bookbinders and students of the same, including conservators love to learn about new materials, including making their own.

Back in early April I was challenged by two colleagues, one asking will I ever host another Bind-O-Rama. Sure, why not. Fish skin it is and the call for entries was posted. I had been sharing the historical literature, and my experiments and uses ad nauseam for years using the "fish leather" tag, also publishing an article on the process in Book Arts arts du livre Canada (Vol 10., Nr. 2, 2019). The other colleague challenged me to host a webinar on the process of making parchment. Due to COVID we were all working from home, looking to keep our skills sharp, and also for things we could do at home. So, 2 weeks later there was the webinar. The rest is history.

I'm deeply impressed by the number of people who rose to my bait of trying to make their own parchment or tanned leather from fish, and then make something using the material. The 21 original participants (including one avatar in this Bind-O-Rama come from Australia, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Their backgrounds vary and include bookbinders, artists, and conservators with lots of overlap between them. Not content to leave it with one skin, many dove in to make more and from a variety of species, and/or tried other methods of processing their skins. These experiments were widely shared by most on social media, even encouraging others to jump in. The entry form remains online, so if you cleaned and processed your own fish skins AND made a book, box, or other object, consider submitting it here. Details are here.


"Fips" and his eels.

Fish skin as a material for utilitarian and/or artistic items has a long and rich tradition in many, primarily northern cultures throughout the world. This was not something I thought about when I first saw and used fish leather. My own interests in making it began during my Ernst Collin project when I discovered several articles in the German bookbinding trade literature. These articles included scientific tests of parchment made from fish, patriotic appeals to develop home-grown industries to eliminate reliance on [unavailable due to WW I and depression] "foreign imports," and similar. There were also references in manuals going back to the 18th century. However, for me the "hero" in one these articles was an apprentice by the name of "Fips." "Fips" gave me the final kick to try it myself.

The final mention I found in the literature regarding processing fish and using it in binding was "Fischleder" in Das Falzbein (1960), successor to Der Buchbinderlehrling. That article concluded by saying that "[Fish skin] may have usefulness for making objets d'art, and bookbinders might try their hand at making it once or twice before returning to their favorite leathers."

I think we've proved the writer of that sentiment wrong, and it is my hope that this will not be a one and done for the participants whose work you see via the link below.

I hope that the participants continue to explore the material, learn additional methods of skin preparation, and share your skills with others. The making of parchment from, or tanning the skins of fish would also be a wonderful and manageable topic in a history of the book class, or similar. It could even work in an online environment as recent webinars, workshops, and this exhibit demonstrate.

Enjoy the exhibit, be like "'Fips," and join the Fish Skin Binders.

Selected Resources:

Webinar on the process of making parchment from fish skin. (4/28/20)

Historical Overview:

Tanning workshops and a book:

  • Janey Chang in Vancouver has also been offering terrific online tanning workshops.
  • Fish Leather: Tanning + Sewing by Lotta Rahme and Dag Hartman. Available in North American from Janey Change and elsewhere.


Click on images to view images at full size.


Abigail, Edmund, and Elsie Bainbridge, London, UK

"I'm putting these things in the water and then when they do, the shinies (scales) get off."

Tea tanned trout with paste paper sides.

Endpapers by Edmund and Elsie

Fish species: Rainbow trout.

Technique to prepare skin: Tea tanned.

Description: Notebook with fish leather spine and paste paper sides (cornstarch paste with acrylic). My 3-year-old twins Edmund and Elsie made the endpapers for me, and Edmund sewed the textblock (with my help to hold it & tension the thread) -- his first book! 16 x 18 x 1.3 cm.

Impressions of working with fish: Super easy to edge pare, good overall thickness for covering. It would make a really nice beginner skin to work with in some ways.

I learned to work with fish from: Lena Krämer.

My favorite meal from fish: Tristram makes a pretty good salmon teriyaki.

Short biography: I'm the director of Bainbridge Conservation with my furniture conservator husband Tristram Bainbridge, and I teach/have taught at West Dean College, Camberwell, London Centre for Book Arts, Morley College, City Lit, Richmond Art School, London College of Communication, & Women's Studio Workshop.


Added to Bind-O-Rama: 11/17/2020.

Fritz Otto Buchbinder, Noris and Rotthausen, DE

Fritz Otto Box 1 

 Fritz Otto Box 2
Turning in the parchment on the lid || The finished box

Fish species: Atlantic salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Box with lid; ends of bottom part covered in shark leather; 9.2 x 5 x 3.5 cm.

Impressions of working with fish: Having done the dirty work for the Meister (that egg tanning was the most disgusting work he made me do), and having seen the pergament dry, it was wonderful to be able to actually make something with the material. It was really just like working with any other pergament and has the most interesting finish. More on the box here.

I learned to work with fish from: Doing grunt work for the Meister's Pressbengel Project.

My favorite meal from fish: Currywurst! Mir reichts mit dem Fisch... 🙄

Short biography: Traditional (old school) German apprenticeship, steeped in comprehensively pedantic texts, some charming. Left the old country for the new to learn new things...


Kyle Clark, Ann Arbor, MI

Clark fish skin 

 Clark finished binding
Parchment and finished binding

Fish species: Atlantic salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Measuring 25.7 x 18 x 1.8 cm, this binding of Forwarded and Finished, published by Incline Press in 1995, has been bound in a tight-joint case binding. The covering materials used consist of a salmon parchment for the spine, black goat skin for the sides, and onlays of parchment, leather, and salmon parchment. The endsheet sections are composed of light green Ingres. Incorporated within the design are subtle hints at the craft of bookbinding. For example the blind tooled herringbone pattern is similar to the pattern of a herringbone double flexible sewing, the placement of the fish parchment onlays hint at laced boards, and the gold tooled dots are reminiscent of the backs of un-sewn signatures. More images at Binding this copy of Forwarded and Finished gave me the chance to celebrate the craft of bookbinding through design, material experimentation, and collegiality with others participating in this Bind-O-Rama. Thanks must be given to Peter Verheyen for continually bringing the book arts community together.

Impressions of working with fish: Having never worked with fish parchment, I was pleased to discover what a durable and workable material it is. My favorite aspects of fish parchment are the organic textures of the scale side of the skin and its sometimes iridescent qualities. I'm not sure if I'll use fish parchment structurally very often but I might very well find continued uses for the material in decorative applications.

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen [Article | Webinar].

My favorite meal from fish: Fish tacos.

Short biography: Kyle Clark is a bookbinder and book artist working in the conservation laboratory of the University of Michigan Library where he performs conservation treatments on bound special collections materials. Kyle's independent work includes the production of fine bindings, historic models, editioned and one-off artists books, and research in the field of book history.


Gloria Conti, Scotland, UK

Saffron-dyed leather drying and finished binding

Fish species: Atlantic salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Oil tanned.

Description: A blank journal A6 size (about 16 x 12 x 4.5 cm) sewn on three hemp cords, laced-in and covered with salmon leather. The leather was dyed with saffron diluted in the tanning solution. The endbands are stuck-on and made with the same skin, rolled on a cord core.

Impressions of working with fish: I enjoyed the process of seeing the material change and become something else. I like to avoid being wasteful especially with animal based foods, so to be able to use the skin and make it durable felt good. As a covering material for bookbinding, I found oil (egg) tanned fish skin very easy to work with, but also very sensitive to both moisture and heat, more than traditional parchment. I will use it again, although not for bindings that would be handled a lot.

I learned to work with fish from: I became interested in fish tanning following Abigail Bainbridge on social media, then I used online resources shared by Janey Chang and Peter Verheyen.

My favorite meal from fish: Fritto misto di paranza (deep fried net caught small fish, fresh and enjoyed by the seaside!).

Short biography: Book & Archive Conservator and bookbinder.


Added to Bind-O-Rama: 2/18/2021.

Leslie Drisdale, Calgary, Canada

Drisdale binding detail  

Drisdale binding full
Detail and finished binding

Fish species: Sockeye salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Blank journal. 22 X 16 X 2cm. Simplified Binding using the skin, with the holes that came on it, as the spine and decorative element on the front cover. Other covering materials are the peeled surface layer from mat board scraps (mesh fabric and simulated basketball texture, which reminds me of salmon roe) and mulberry paper backed nori all wrapped around 4 ply rag mat board. The end bands are rolled basketball paper around thread and flyleaves and doublers are paste paper with graphite powder combed in at the end. Textblock is 74 g Canson from a drawing pad with nideggan endpapers sewn onto flattened hemp cords.

Impressions of working with fish: This skin was quite thick and fibrous. While chasing after some of the fibres after it dried, I ended up working off the flesh side top layer and sueding the back. I think this made it ideal for the spine of this structure. I did do some edge paring - felt kind of like shaving a soap bar, and sanding. I really like this material already!

I learned to work with fish from: From Verheyen's online tutorial. [Article | Webinar]

My favorite meal from fish: Any fish cooked in a "parchment" bag with asparagus, brined lemons, pre-started mini potatoe halves and whatever useful veg you have.

Short biography: Framer in a commercial gallery by day, bookbinder by night and weekend. I am very interested in materials that are overlooked or discounted as waste or single use.

Anna Embree, Tuscaloosa, AL

Embree indigo skin 

 Embree finished binding

Indigo dyed skin drying || Finished binding

Fish species: Salmon and walleye.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: "Hervey, James. Meditations and Contemplations. London, 1816. Millimeter-style case binding. Indigo dyed salmon parchment caps, corners (parchment tips), and central panel. Leather endbands, dyed handmade paper, and walleye parchment onlay. Dimensions: 3 x 5 x 1.25 inches.

Impressions of working with fish: I found the process of making the parchment enjoyable and the finished skins strong and forgiving. The variety of beautiful textures and colors from the different species of fish is exciting and the possibilities seem endless. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of manipulation and adhesion using wheat paste. Pasting fish skin to fish skin was challenging, however, and I would like to experiment with adhering with gelatin in the future.

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen and Fritz Otto [Article | Webinar].

My favorite meal from fish: Walleye cooked using the recipe Fish Meuniere with Browned Butter and Lemon from Cook's Illustrated

Short biography: Anna Embree is Professor and Coordinator for the MFA Book Arts Program in the School of Library and Information Studies at The University of Alabama. She teaches courses and workshops in bookbinding, box making, and special topics in book preservation and book history. Anna has a strong interest in the physical and material aspects of book structures. She has collaborated with printers and papermakers on limited edition handmade books, and has exhibited widely.

Ann Frellsen, Decatur, GA

Frellsen drying skins 

 Frellsen finished binding
Skins drying || Finished binding

Fish species: Sheepshead.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Lignin-free boards painted with silver acrylic to increase reflectivity of light through the fish parchment; handmade denim paper accordion has the pages tipped on, and is also used in the covering; spine is polyester 'weather-proof' fabric; endpapers are paste decorated; text is Verheyen's CBBAG article "Fish Skin in Bookbinding," reformatted and ink-jet printed; size 22.8 x 14.9 x 1.6 cm.

Impressions of working with fish: I love the visual texture and transparency of the Sheepshead parchment. Skinning the fish without causing damage is a skill that will take much more practice, as will learning patience to allow time for repeated soaking and changes of soapy water for the oils to mostly dissipate.

I learned to work with fish from: Meister Peter D. Verheyen [Article | Webinar].

My favorite meal from fish: Sautéed in EVOO with a little garlic, served with seasonal veggies and a warm loaf of bread.

Short biography: Book and Paper Conservator, retired from Emory University Libraries and now running a part-time private practice, gardening, doing volunteer work within the Dard Hunter collections of the R.C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, and making art.

Kari Furre, Totnes, Devon, UK

Furre virus 1  

Furre virus 2

Fish species: Taipali, sea bream, dab, lemon sole.

Technique to prepare skin: Oil tanned.

Description: A Book in three dimensions about the Corona Virus. More information and images for this work here.

Impressions of working with fish: I am interested in the properties of skin from different species. and my way of working with it is not from an ethnographic point of view, but more to produce objects within the cannon of contemporary craft. As there is so little written about the preparation of fish skin, the exploration and hard won triumphs really inspire the way I work. Tanning is a tacit skill, and gradually as I get more experienced, I am starting to understand how the skin works.

I learned to work with fish from: Lotta Rhame, Sweden, and Lene Zachariassen, Iceland.

My favorite meal from fish: I have to say that fish is not really a treat these days, I use the skin to show the spirit of the animals and really feal that there is too much fishing, and we are in danger of trashing the sea.

Short biography: I am an ex theatre designer, maker of museum exhibitions and a fabricator for the Art world. I now have my own practise, I live in Devon, UK. For more, read "A fin of beauty: the art of making objects out of fish leather" in the Financial Times.

Bertil Gustavsson, Styrsö, Sweden

Gustavsson binding interior  

Gustavsson binding exterior
Interior view || Finished binding

Fish species: Salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Tea tanned.

Description: The Angler's Girdle Book is an imagined replica of a centurys old fisherman's notebook. It has five signatures for notes. It also has a folder for baits and a lab for repairing, and designing new fishermen's magic tools. You also find a handy map, covering most of the area where you may like to go catching fishes... As cover for the book, serves a tea-tanned salmon skin, aprox 50 cm long. The cover has a golden thread embroidery, showing the Angler's way through the labyrinth of rivers and seas golden depths. The book is 10 x 6 cm in size.

Impressions of working with fish: Working with fish skin was a wonderful experience. I have tried several different methods. Tea-tanning salmon skin is a quick way to get a good and usable result.

I learned to work with fish from: Amber Sandy : instagram @ambsany.

My favorite meal from fish: Nothing tastes better than fried mackerel with potatoes.

Short biography: Ex graphic designer. Heavily computerized for many years. Now coming back to analog and slow crafts.


Penelope Hall, Kingfield, ME

Hall detail 

 Hall full extension
2-panel spread || Overall

Fish species: Atlantic salmon, Scottish farmed and (supposedly) wild caught.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description:Salmon Run is an accordion book with four framed panels of pieced salmon parchment, plus two panels of brief text describing the runs of the Atlantic salmon back to their spawning grounds. Dimensions:10.7h x 10.7w x 1.7d cm closed. 10.7h x 67w x 0.1 cm open.

Impressions of working with fish: The process of making parchment was surprisingly easy, and the translucent result was magical. Working with the shrinking and warping properties of the parchment was a bit challenging in the structure that I used. That may be due to my inexperience working with leather and parchment. I'm not sure how changes in humidity and temperature will affect it.

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen's "Making Parchment from Fish Skin" [Article | Webinar].

My favorite meal from fish: Ooh, tough one. Probably fresh spring run smelts, fried and served with dandilion greens or fiddleheads.

Short biography: Penelope Hall lives in the western mountains of Maine. She makes artists books and clay sculpture.

Karen Hanmer, Glenview, IL

Hanmer detail 

  Hanmer full binding
View from top || Overall

Fish species: Atlantic salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: A Natural History of the most remarkable Quadrupeds, Birds, Fishes, Serpents, Reptiles and Insects by Mrs. Mary Trimmer. Chiswick: C. and C. Whittingham, 1826. Bound in full Atlantic Salmon parchment. Binding based on Jen Lindsay's "fundamental" or "simplified-simplified" binding structure: boards glued onto the flange of a separate spine piece that the cords (made by the binder) have been laced through. Caps and boards casually gilt with tacking iron and 23kt gold foil scraps. Paper label and additional tooling with pigment foil. Ruscombe Mill endpapers. 13 x 8.5 x 2 cm.


Finished binding || Stamping the spine label

Fish species: Lake Trout.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: The Complete Angler by I. Walton and C. Cotton. London: J. F. Dove, 1825
Binding based on the non-adhesive "clip-on cover" structure developed by UK binder Kathy Abbott. Text block sewn long stitch into calf vellum wrapper, covered in limp lake trout parchment case, tabbed corners. Title stamped in 23 kt gold foil onto lake trout parchment label. Parchment pieces joined with silk thread. Ruscombe Mill endpapers. 13 x 7.5 x 3 cm. See this Instagram post for more images.

Impressions of working with fish: Just like working with other parchments. The thinness is very welcome. The scale pockets keep it interesting.

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen article, video tutorial, and Fish Chat Zoom sessions [Article | Webinar].

My favorite meal from fish: Lox & bagels.

Short biography: Binder in private practice: teaching & instructional materials, artists' books, design binding.


Laurel R Herbeck, Fairbanks, AK

Fish species: Alaska red salmon and Alaska king salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Alcohol and glycerin tanned and egg yolk tanned.

Herbeck secret belgian

Description: One is a book with "Secret Belgian" binding (14cm H x 10cm W) with river stones and birch branch. It is sewn with waxed linen.

Herbeck wall hanging

Description: The second entry is a Handwoven Hanging, cotton warp and fish skin, raw silk (dyed with birch leaves and bark), and a metallic/cotton yarn for weft. (10cm H x 14cm W)

Impressions of working with fish: The results are never totally predictable, especially with frozen skins. I was attempting a soft tanned skin, like the one I made for the book,, from fresh skin, but the frozen fish skins obtained from a friend were much drier and more parchment like. Either I removed more of the fatty material from the inside or the skins may have been freezer burned. They could have been in the alcohol/glycerin too long.

I learned to work with fish from: Fairbanks Folk School and Alaska Museum of Art, Anchorage AK.

My favorite meal from fish: Grilled Alaska Red Salmon with Tamari and Maple syrup marinade, Jasmine rice and asparagus with homemade Hollandaise sauce.

Short biography: I have been an Art Teacher with the Fairbanks North Star Borough S.D.for 22 years and a member of the Northwoods Book Arts Guild in Fairbanks, AK. Most of my teaching experience is in Secondary Art Ed. where I taught a variety of media, including book arts. I currently teach Elementary students as a travelling Art Specialist, teach workshops and classes for the Northwoods Book Guild, and practice book making, weaving and natural dyeing , and many other paper elated arts. I am currently exploring Shifu and Eco-Printing with plant material and natural dyes. My lasted book project is a set book of poetry by Alaska writer Carrie Avagaduk Ojanen "Roughly for The North" poems about her family, the traditional way of life on King Island and their relocation to the Alaska mainland when the island school closed. This book will linclude a fish skin inset on the cover, an ivory carving and beach stone from Nome and a sewn on strap binding with fish skin straps.

Margo Klass, Fairbanks, AK

Klass Gulkana 1 

 Klass Gulkana 2
Finished book || Book with box

Fish species: Salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Tanned in glycerin and alcohol.

Description: Gulkana, artist book, screen structure, with casement and text by Frank Soos, 31 x 51cm.

Impressions of working with fish: I especially like how fish skin used in my artist books relate to the people and landscape where I live.

I learned to work with fish from: Jennifer Lent (Fairbanks, AK) and Audrey Armstrong (Seldovia, AK).

My favorite meal from fish: Grilled Copper River Red salmon, plain and simple.

Short biography: I work and teach at University of Alaska and Northwoods Book Arts Guild, both in Fairbanks, AK.


Margo Klass, Fairbanks, AK

Klass Adipose 1  

Klass Adipose 2
Finished binding || Binding with box

Fish species: Salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Tanned in glycerin and alcohol.

Description: Adipose, Coptic bound, with casement, 9 x 7.5 x 3.25 cm.

Impressions of working with fish: I like the feel of fish skin in the hand - not paper, not fabric - it has its own sensual, tactile quality.

I learned to work with fish from: Jennifer Lent (Fairbanks, AK) and Audrey Armstrong (Seldovia, AK).

My favorite meal from fish: A finely grill red salmon, fresh and wild from the Copper River.

Short biography: I work and teach at the University of Alaska and Northwoods Book Arts Guild in Fairbanks, AK.


Margo Klass, Fairbanks, AK

Klass Migration 1  

Klass Migration 1
Detail || Overall with box

Fish species: Salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Tanned in glycerin and alcohol.

Description: Migration, concertina structure, collage with fish skin and papers with stitching, and casement, 12.5 x 64 cm (open).

Impressions of working with fish: Alaskan Natives sewed their fish skin in specific ways; I'm finding my own way.

I learned to work with fish from: Jennifer Lent (Fairbanks, AK) and Audrey Armstrong (Seldovia, AK).

My favorite meal from fish: Smoked salmon with capers and dill on fresh bread.

Short biography: I work and teach at the University of Alaska and Northwoods Book Arts Guild in Fairbanks, AK.


Lena Krämer, Halesworth, Suffolk, UK

Krämer skins 

 Krämer Playground

Skins staked out to dry || The "Playground"

Fish species: Haddock, turbot, salmon, sole.

Technique to prepare skin: parchment, tea tanned, and oil tanned.

Description: "A Playground for Miniature Books'. The project is a series of experiments in binding different structures with fish skin. Included are:

  • A supervising adult: a millimeter (case) binding with turbot parchment spine and pastepaper sides, sewn on fish parchment strips, endbands sewn with golden metallic thread, watercolour edge decoration, and paste paper endsheets (14.3 x 10.4 x 1.3cm);
  • A teenager: laced case binding sewn on fish parchment strips with boards covered in haddock parchment and ivory laid paper (7.2 x 5.2 x 1.1cm);
  • A pair of twins: box with a cloth joint covered in turbot parchment and paste paper (4 x 3.2 x 1.9cm) and a flexible binding with raised bands, spine covered in oil tanned salmon leather and turbot parchment sides, with sewn endbands and paste paper endsheets (3.4 x 2.6 x 1.5cm);
  • A rebellious school child: book sewn with caterpillar stitch through boards and spine covered in turbot parchment, with white turbot parchment inlays (3.3 x 2.9 x 0.8cm);
  • A toddler: case binding covered in salmon parchment, sewn on recessed cords, with sewn endbands and laced-in salmon parchment endband core (2.8 x 2.3 x 1cm); and
  • An infant: full leather binding covered in tea tanned sole leather, with handmade stuck-on endbands and a goat leather label (2.3 x 1.5 x 0.5cm).

All textblocks are made of blank paper, all fish parchment, fish leather, and paste paper is made by the binder. Thumb tacks for scale.

Impressions of working with fish: I was surprised at the speed at which the stretched skin turned into parchment, and at the strength of the resulting material. When dampened, the parchment moulded beautifully around boards, creating a very crisp and clean look around the edges. Because it was slower, making tea tanned leather was even more fascinating, as it was possible to feel throughout the process the transformation from a slippery skin into a material that was thicker and stronger, and yet still soft and flexible. Having worked a number of skins since the Bind-O-Rama was first announced, I have been able to gain a feel for the skins, making it possible to intuitively choose the right processes for them. It amazed me how quickly I could pick this up, and how easy it has become to prepare fish skin. Although I focused more on using the material as a parchment substitute for exploring various book structures, fish skin has a great variety of uses (ie. as covering material, sewing support, endband core, for limp structures), and also has a surprisingly decorative effect with much potential for being incorporated into an large range of designs.

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen's instructions on parchment [Article | Webinar], and a tea tanning class with Janey Chang.

My favorite meal from fish: "Scholle Finkenwerder Art" - a North German dish of fried flatfish (plaice) topped with cubes of bacon and served with panfried potato slices.

Short biography: I am a book conservator in training from Austria, currently studying at West Dean College in the UK. I received some bookbinding training at West Dean when I started the programme there less than two years ago. Before that, I took a few weekend courses in bookbinding and explored binding on my own, using basic household materials.

URL: and

Roberta Lavadour, Pendleton, OR

Lavadour Swim 1  

Lavadour Swim 2
Finished binding || Detail of title

Fish species: Salmon, Steelhead and Halibut.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Tight-back cloth on laced boards with inset panels front and back. 23 cm (h) x 15 cm (w) x 2 cm (d). The skins on the front were laminated over an old typing assignment. The dark rectangles are the halibut skins, and the center front text was scratched into the skin using a stencil and awl.

Impressions of working with fish: My plan A was to create a series of small, non-adhesive panels (think Hedi Kyle's seminal conservation binding) that would be linked with inserted tabs, similar to the spine piece in the aforementioned structure. BUT, the parchment ripped on the folds, which I hadn't expected. So, plan B went into effect late into the evening. A rough finished book but an informative process.

I learned to work with fish from: From watching Peter's videos! [Article | Webinar].

My favorite meal from fish: Fish Tacos!

Short biography: I live and work in Pendleton, Oregon, a small, rural area that is currently one of the country's COVID hot spots. When I'm not sewing cloth masks like a mad woman I work as an arts administrator at a nonprofit that is trying to serve the community any way we safely can.


Andrew R. Mancuso, Cleveland, OH

Mancuso full binding 

 Mancuso headcap
Finished binding || Detail of headcap

Fish species: Idaho ruby red trout

Technique to prepare skin: Egg tanned

Description: Tight back half-Trout parchment (six skins total) binding over six raised cords. All trout parchment lined with handmade blue washi. Handmade, waxed, and burnished paste paper. Aniline-dyed trout parchment rolled over core endbands. Handmade recycled conservation lab waste paper text block, handmade cotton/corn/abaca endpapers. Cold/blind-tooled in-painted with handmade shell gold. 16.5cm x 23cm x 3cm

Impressions of working with fish: What an incredibly fun endeavor. Since attending your class I've found myself seriously entangled in the net of experimentation with this material. So far, I've tried the soap, egg, tea, and alum tanning methods on a variety of skins including walleye, salmon, and trout. Each process and species brings such a different visual result and workability. Through this project, I've rediscovered my love for eating fish, want to invest in a new fishing pole, and have established a healthy relationship with a local fish market to acquire their processed skins any time I want.

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen [Article | Webinar] and others!

My favorite meal from fish: Poached in half a can of Genesee, seasoned, atop a bed of Kale!

Short biography: Andrew R. Mancuso is an artist who mainly works in book arts and photography. He works as the Preservation Officer for the Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.


Emily Martin, Iowa City, IA USA


Front cover showing more detail of fish || Overall finished binding

Fish species: Red snapper.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Flat back case bound blank journals with fish parchment on the front cover, 6.5 inches by 4.75 inches.

Impressions of working with fish: It's easy to make and work with, both sturdy and beautiful..

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen's blog video and advice from Anna Embree. [Article | Webinar].

My favorite meal from fish: Pan-fried salmon or trout with lemon/butter sauce.

Short biography: Maker of prints and artists books, long time instructor at the University of Iowa Center for the Book.


Added to Bind-O-Rama: 7/14/2020.

Melanie Martin, Mount Vernon, NY

Martin skins soaking  

Martin binding and slipcase
The skin soaking in detergent || Finished binding

Fish species: Salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Miniature book in slipcase, 7 x 5.5 x 1.6 cm.

Impressions of working with fish: Really easy.

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen's online demo. [Article | Webinar].

My favorite meal from fish: Salmon en papillote (it seemed appropriate).

Short biography: Book and paper conservator, the Frick Art Reference Library.

Sarah Pringle, Easthampton, MA

Pringle Interior 

 Pringle exterior
Interior of cylinder || Overall of exterior

Fish species: Snapper.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Fish Parchment Cylinder 11-3/4" H x 3-3/4" DIA. Snapper fish skin parchment, maple, traditional gesso, polychrome custom bole, water gilded with Manetti 22K moon gold (alloy of 92% gold, 3.5% silver, 4.5% palladium).

Impressions of working with fish: I found it to be a blast to make and work with. The process of making the parchment was easy which encouraged making many batches of skins. The guys at the fish counter were incredibly helpful and patient. From processing the first few skins into parchment I had a clearer idea what I wanted to ask for in terms of skinning the filets. I'd bring the skins with me and explain how I needed the skins to be intact, it was really helpful that they were fine with my crazy fish parchment project. I don't think I was their typical customer. It became clear to me that the patterns of the skins were important. Also how easy it was to scrape the flesh side of the raw skin. I really liked Mahi-Mahi but it was tough to scrape so opted for snapper for the project. The skins were very thin and translucent. I easily sanded and pared the edges to bevel the pieces for joining. Fish parchment (at least the fish I worked with) has an interesting, in a good way, natural gelatinous quality with the smallest amount of moisture. I used paste to adhere the pieces to the dyed maple. They formed easily and had good adhesion with working them down by hand. Because the skins were so thin and the temperature so warm I was able to do a couple pieces a day. I do have a concern about what's left of the color fading. There was pretty much total color (red/orange in the snapper) loss in the drying and in the days after. Whats left are grey and black, I hope they don't fade out.

I learned to work with fish from: Jesse Meyer workshop, Jiří Vnouĉek workshop, and your video.

My favorite meal from fish: I grew up in Seattle so my absolute favorite meal is a Pacific Northwest tradition. Salmon cooked on cedar planks over an open fire and wild blackberry pie for desert.

Short biography: I'm an applied artist and designer working with parchment, gold leaf, leather and pigments on custom furniture and sculptural objects. My workshop is in Easthampton, MA.


Kristine Rose-Beers, Dublin, Ireland

Exterior view closed || Book opened showing flap and endleaves.

Fish species: Trout.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Miniature stationery binding with printed map pastedowns, ca. 3.5 x 2.5 x .6 cm.

Impressions of working with fish: The skin was very delicate at first but, once dry, became a very robust material. I loved the subtleties of colour and texture.

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen’s excellent YouTube channel.

My favorite meal from fish: Curried mussels or spicy fish cakes.

Short biography: Head of Conservation, Chester Beatty, Dublin.


Added to Bind-O-Rama: 2/4/2021.

Darryn Schneider, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Schneider's skins  

Schneider full binding
Skins staked out to dry || Finished binding

Fish species: Red Emperor and Barramundi.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Cased Bradel binding, 14.5 x 11 x 1.4cm.

Impressions of working with fish: These two fish are large tropical saltwater fish which inhabit waters with extremely aggressive predators. Along with large armour like scales, their skin is also very thick, resulting in a rigid parchment that can be a challenge to work with. I do expect the cover of this book to last a long time.

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen [Article | Webinar].

My favorite meal from fish: Thai style barramundi with lemon, ginger and soy sauce over rice.

Short biography: Craft bookbinder originally taught by June McNicol at the Queensland Bookbinder's Guild. Currently focused on producing instruction material for a YouTube channel aimed at people starting out in bookbinding.


Lili Hall Sharp, Springville, UT

Sharp exterior 

 Sharp interior
Finished binding showing the preserved dorsal fin || Interior view.

Fish species: Trout.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Artists' book, Fish of Utah Lake. Watercolor drawings on Hahnemuehle Copperplate. Bound in trout parchment prepared by the artist. Bradel-style simplified binding sewn on linen tapes. Silk endbands sewn on a single core. Endpapers by Claude Braun. 7 x 14 x 2cm. View binding interior video, more interior photos.

Impressions of working with fish: Learning to make fish parchment was too much fun. Once I'd succeeded with making trout parchment, I went straight to salmon..., and then I wanted to try all the fish since each skin is so unique. Of course now I want to try making fish leather, too. I'm sure I'm not finished experimenting with this new skill and medium that Peter has given us.

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen [Article | Webinar].

My favorite meal from fish:Grilled salmon with a chili-lime marinade.

Short biography: Lili Hall Sharp is a book conservator and mom to three little boys by day and a design binder and artist on the occasional late night. Lili Hall Sharp is a book conservator and mom to three little boys by day and a design binder and artist on the occasional late night.


Jay Tanner, Kansas City, MO

Tanner exterior  

Tanner interior
Front cover and spine of finished binding || Doublure and endsheets

Fish species: Salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: Gyotaku (The Art and Technique of the Japanese Fish Print). The text block is sewn on onglets with both fish parchment and vellum tapes. The tapes are strung through decoratively onto the cover, which features blue Harmatan goatskin running along the head and tail. The rich blue leather boarders a translucent fish parchment which runs along the entire middle section of the book, on both covers and the spine. The spine is vellum, and the same blue leather is present in the leather endbands. The top of the book is decorated with a graphite edge, and each of the covers have elements of blind tooling meant to represent waves. The decorated endsheets are of my own design, being a mixture of paste paper and traditional Gyotaku techniques. H: 21cm x W: 22.5cm. More views of the book can be seen here.

Impressions of working with fish: I love it, I think I am addicted! I will certainly be using it in future works.

I learned to work with fish from: Peter Verheyen [Article | Webinar].

My favorite meal from fish: What I usually make with my salmon (the skin I used in this particular binding) is a brown sugar, burbon glazed salmon. Pan seared to perfection in a little olive oil and butter near the end. YUM!

Short biography: Jay Tanner is currently pursuing a career in book conservation, and has been binding books for about ten years. Having a love for the book as an object, he began making them in high school and hasn't stopped since. Jay received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and currently works out of a studio in his home. He has been a part of many conservation internships, most recently of which was at Dartmouth College. Jay currently is taking chemistry classes in pursuit of his dream, binding books, and driving a school bus for his local school district.


Peter D. Verheyen, Syracuse, NY

Verheyen trout skin  

Verheyen full binding
Skin staked out to dry in evening light || Finished binding

Fish species: Rainbow trout.

Technique to prepare skin: Parchment.

Description: A River Runs Through It: 1st edition, 1/4 parchment case binding made with full trout skin; plain hand made paper endsheets; sewn with unsupported link stitch; top edge decorated with acrylics to evoke river with rapids; blue eel leather endband; boards covered with images from 1903 USGS map of Missoula, Montana and east depicting rivers described in text; parchment secured with brass pins in holes used to stake skin for drying; spine contains image of trout from Ladislav Hanka's Opus Salvelinus in lacuna from dorsal fin, boards decorated with trout flies. 22 x 15.5 x 2.8 cm.

Impressions of working with fish: Like any other parchment, more or less.

I learned to work with fish from: "Fips," Franz Martini, and Ernst Collin.

My favorite meal from fish: Broiled or pan fried in light oil with herbs that compliment and don't over-power and in-season greens.

Short biography: Bookbinder, conservator, and librarian. More fish skin bindings here.


Nicholas Yeager, Hayward, CA

Yeager alum tawed skin  

Yeager scabbard
Alum tawed skin drying || Completed scabbard

Fish species: Atlantic salmon.

Technique to prepare skin: Alum tawed.

Description: Knife scabbard: 45cm x 115cm.

Impressions of working with fish: Processing the skins for alum-tawing has been a challenge, but the raw material is so attractive that it is worth going through the learning curve.

I learned to work with fish from: I taught myself in 1984 - 1986 from medieval recipes.

My favorite meal from fish: Grilled steelhead marinated in olive oil, Meyer lemon juice and spices, with steamed rice and steamed artichoke.

Short biography: Making book art based in the history of communication technology.


In the spirit of spawning ever more fish skin binders, I challenge you to prepare your fish skin AND make something from that skin such as using it on a binding or some objet d'art. More details and the entry form from this Bind-O-Rama at Bonefolder Extras.

When I receive the qualifying entry and three images, I'll send you the patch below.
Selected entries will be added to this Bind-O-Rama.

Fips' patch

You too, can be like "Fips."

 link to Bonefolder Extras & link to Bonefolder


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