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The Fix – Housing Artist’s Books

The Book Conservation Lab periodically receives artist’s books from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Library with special housing needs.

The books are often very small, very large, made from unusual materials or irregularly shaped.  The latter was the case with Scott McCarney’s “Yellow Hanging Accordion Book Structure.”  This unique piece is rectangular in the middle and triangular at both ends.

In order to ensure the safety of the object on the shelf, a sturdy double-tray box was made with special inserts to protect the unique structure of the book. The inserts were created using pieces if Ethafoam covered in bookcloth. The pieces of foam were hand carved to exactly fit the dimensions of the book.

Housed in the box, the vulnerable tips of the triangular portion of the book are protected from blunting. The box will enable library users to enjoy the book for many years.


  1. Hopefully this solid double-tray box will provide ample protection from over zealous page turners 🙂

  2. Lorraine Ramsdell

    Please tell us more about bookcloth – what it’s made of, where it’s available, etc. Could one make a sort of envelope out of it to protect a book?


    • wagnerkc

      The bookcloth we used for the box is called Cialinen. It is a paper backed, archival quality, Itlaian bookcloth with a tweedy look to it. The cloth is a covering material, i.e. meant to be glued to board. I think a better choice to protect a book cover is an archival quality Mylar.

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