I always treat myself to a Christmas present, and this year I decided to splurge on some bookbinding leather. I started by buying a small vegetable tanned goatskin (morocco) in a lovely rich reddish brown colour, that will do for a number of half-bound books. I have already started using it (see image above). I balked at the prices of the fish skins the leather shop had on offer, having recently checked out what they cost from the local manufacturer. Doubling the factory price is a little over the top, in my opinion, especially since I know they get bulk discount.
It just so happens that my parents live not far from the leather factory and I always spend Christmas with them. As I had some vacation time left over from the summer I took a couple of days before Christmas off from work, which enabled me to visit the leather factory before it closed for the holidays. They don’t make leather specifically for bookbinding, but their fish leathers are eminently suited to it. These leathers come in various colours and finishes like matte, distressed, patterned, metallic, pearly, and one that is so smooth and shiny that it looks lacquered.
When I arrived I was welcomed by the export manager who escorted me into the warehouse and left me to browse by myself among piles of lovely fish skins in all the colours of the rainbow, plus a few that would have surprised Mother Nature.
I came away with 10 spotted wolf-fish skins in various colours, one lovely pink salmon skin and one hot red Nile perch skin with a finish that makes it look more like ruffled velvet than something that came off a fish. I also bought a number of the same types of skins from the huge pile of cheap second-quality skins. This will last me for years of amateur bookbinding, or I may just start binding books for resale...
Spotted wolf-fish skins.
Nile perch (top) and salmon.
Salmon seconds. The narrow ones look kind of like snake-skins.
Nile perch seconds. The white ones have a pearly sheen to them, the red ones are matte.
And here is a link to the company: Sjávarleður.