Gerritt VanDerwerker, Waldoboro, Maine

The Book of Origins


I imagined that Le Livre des Origines was published in Québec 300 years ago as a contemporary account of a Huron youth's vision quest. A priest who was about to travel to the Great Lakes purchased a copy and commissioned a local bookbinder to create a lightweight yet protective binding so he could safely carry the book on his journey. This might be the result. The text block is sewn on five deerskin thongs, rounded and backed, and laced into an unsupported deerskin cover that has integral flaps to enclose the text. The marbled endpapers by Karli Frigge are in the 18th-century style; the endbands are of patterned cotton cloth; and the front cover has a brown goatskin onlay in the form of a turtle. The book is housed in a sewn linen carrying bag that has brown goatskin onlays in a tortoiseshell pattern on the flap. 9 x 5-3/4 x 1-1/8 inches. Bound 2005.

The Boothbay Peninsula Environment Presented in White-Line Color Woodblock Prints: Volume One, Tide Pools

book 2

This is the first volume in a ten-volume series (three already realized) celebrating the flora and fauna of a coastal Maine peninsula. The book contains ten white-line color woodblock prints by Kim and Philippe Villard on Stonehenge paper and a preface by Alana VanDerwerker, the typography and printing in Regulus on Stonehenge paper by Golgonooza Letter Foundry & Press. Sewn on five goatskin thongs, which pierce the goatskin spine, laced through cloth-covered boards with goatskin tips. The spine leather and thongs remain exposed inside the boards. Marbled endpapers by Iris Nevins reflect the book's theme; a goatskin spine label has the volume number in gold foil; and the linocut cover title by Philippe Villard is printed on the same marbled paper as the endpapers. Housed in a paper-covered slipcase, the book is one of an edition of 26 copies, plus one artists' proof. 10-3/8 x 11-1/2 x 11/16 inches. Bound 2004.

At various times in his life, Gerritt VanDerwerker has worked as a forestry technician, research entomologist, fine art lithographer, proofreader, studio potter, copyeditor, and artist. Whether any of these experiences inform his current work is anybody's guess. Largely self-taught (with a little help from his friends), he has pursued bookbinding as a serious amateur since 1994 because a spinal injury prevents him from sitting comfortably and relaxing in a meaningful way.