Volume 28 - Autumn 2009


The Wyvern Bindery - An Apprentice's View

by George Butler

Despite its appearance the Wyvern Bindery is not a bicycle shop. It is in fact a traditional hand-binders. Given enough time and money (but don't ask how much - of either) the 'Wyvern' will bind, make, build, block, deboss, take apart, re-bind, repair or restore pretty much anything.

A year ago I started working part time at the Wyvern with no experience in bookbinding. Twelve months later I still know very little but I can tell you a bit about what it is like on the inside.

Advice for first time customers -
The standard service is 48 hours, in that time you can expect -

On phoning
To be told to come in for a quote...

On ordering
To be asked to 'wait a minute'
To be subjected to Bob Dylan
To be charmed within an inch of your life.
To be harassed about 'grain direction.'
To decide exactly how you want your book.
To be told it's £40 an hour for folding and creasing
Then to be given a desk to do it yourself.
To be told that theoretically it's possible but practically probably not.
To be asked to trust us,
Then be told.
All printers don't know what they are talking about
And under no circumstances should you let them tell you they do.

After ordering
To be rung several times to check which work is being done,
To be told 'it is at you own risk' when asking for something unreasonable.
To be told to trust us.
To be rung by someone else to confirm the right work is being done.
To be informed your book is ready a day early.

On collection
To wait for someone to come out of the 'office' which is in fact a loo.
Be subjected to Grateful Dead.
To wait for a few minutes whilst we find your book - it could be anywhere.
To be asked to go and get a coffee whilst we finish the lettering off.
To wait whilst the card machine disconnects every time the phone rings.
To be relieved that your book has turned out so well.

PS If you do need a bicycle we can probably find you one.

George Butler - Since graduating from Kingston University in 2007, George has worked as a freelance illustrator in London. His work is predominately reportage drawing and this has led him to document some more different subjects including; Plastic Surgery, Afghanistan and the Azerbaijan oil fields to name a few. He also works part time in the Wyvern Bindery on Clerkenwell Road. If you would like to see more of his work please go to www.georgebutler.org


Skin Deep - Volume 28 - Autumn 2009

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