Tiny Nativity Story

Tiamat Artisans

This is a mini book bound in full-grain cow leather with 80lb paper for the textblock and marbled endpages. It is bound in a case style, which means the cover and textblock were prepared seperately before coming together. The textblock took about 10 hours to format into a 1/8th size of a typical book. This included finding original engravings from a 19th century Bible to compliment the text adapated from the Gospels in the King James version of the Bible. The marbled endpages are done in a fantasy style to mimic the starry night sky: dark blues and blacks with speckles of white and gold. The case took many days and prototypes over the last four weeks before the design was finalized: hot-tooled in a traditional panel style with brass finishings on the corners and a brass Christmas star on the front cover.

I chose this design for a couple of reasons. One, I am a bookbinder. The challange of binding a miniature book was an exciting prospect, and more troubling than I originally anticipated. I chose pre-dyed cow leather for this project, which was a new medium for me. I typically bind my full size books in vegetable tanned goat or sheepskin that I have dyed myself. The cow was extremely less supple than the other leathers which proved difficult when attatching the leather to the spine of the book, as well as turning in the edges. There was no flexibility to it, and the covers came out stiff. I was able to curb this slightly by skiving the leather extra thin, but turn-ins were still difficult. The rest of the design choices described earlier were made to replicate traditionally bound books through the 17th-19th centuries.

The second reason I chose this design was the meaningful Christian tradition of reading the Nativity Story on Christmas Eve. I adapted the text from the Bible into a concise story that can be read straight through. I imagine my family sitting down the night before Christmas, my son taking the book off the tree, and all of us enjoying the beautiful story of Christ’s birth.