Via San Tommaso 11/E
I studied bookbinding at the Salesian Graphic School of Colle Don Bosco, where the training was more inclined toward a semi-industrial or industrial environment. An interesting and formative experience, but I didn't feel inclined to that type of production. My vocation was to try my hand at artistic bindings and more artisanal ones, so once I got out of school as soon as I had the opportunity to test myself with crafts, I jumped at it. Although I had very “basic” equipment and tools at my disposal, I rolled up my sleeves, got involved and accepted the challenge. At the end of the 1960s, I moved to the Rocchietti Bookbindery in Turin.
Each binding is inspired by the content of the book itself; the realization is also influenced by the freedom that the client leaves me to make a project.
The work that particularly gratified me was Qoèlet's binding, starting from a sketch by Ugo Nespolo, inserting at least 6 decorative and structural techniques on the same binding.
I gradually grew up, becoming a partner in 1981, expanding the business. In the 90s I felt the need to grow and evolve, and I tried my hand at the restoration of paper and books with Father Sisto at the Certosa in Florence. Thanks to professor and bibliophile Francesco Malaguzzi, I ventured into the creation of the first artistic bindings, for the Turin exhibition “Preziosi in biblioteca”. On that occasion Francesco Federico Cerruti noticed my bindings and gave me the opportunity to improve my style at the Centro del Bel Libro in Ascona; I then became his trusted binder. Thanks to the esteem and intuition of these two great connoisseurs, I started my work in artistic bookbinding. Since 2002 my workshop is called Bottega Fagnola, and my daughter Paola and I are the owners.
Tens, hundreds… impossible to say! There are many methods for holding paper sheets together, from the most traditional and long-lasting to the most recent and industrial ones, such as polyurethane glues that bind loose sheets. From the Middle Ages on, there are many types of bindings that have been developed, each with its own variations in the construction of the book, or in the stitching, in the attachment of the cover ... Many of these are still all to be studied and understood.
Surely it is an act of courage to insert contemporaneity, which in the future will perhaps be seen as normality. We must not confuse the restoration of an ancient binding with the creation of a new binding on an ancient book that did not have it. I have had the opportunity to learn both professions, but we must not forget that they are two distinct careers, each with its specific and necessary training, they are not interchangeable: a bookbinder cannot automatically replace a restorer as much as it is true in the opposite sense. , that is, a restorer does not have all the knowledge of an art binder. It is necessary to be aware of the fact that every time you act on a book it changes, and this change will become part of the history of the object. But this premise does not exclude that this intervention may reflect the contemporaneity, the moment in which it was made, rather than trying to reproduce the previous eras.
Bibliophile collectors, book lovers and then many eager to give "a nice dress" to their volumes, even without reaching the highest levels: everyone has a book, or a notebook that represents a precious memory that they want to preserve.
It is exciting to see in the people in front of you the interest in things that are now taken for granted for you, but which are completely new to them. My daughter Paola is now carrying out training and teaching, I still and always take care of the collectors who entrust us with their volumes with curiosity.
Laura Inghirami, journalist and advisor specialized in the jewelry sector, and Founder of Donna Jewel, interviewed, for the Cologni Foundation, the Master artisans who have been awarded as “MAM – Master of Arts and Crafts”, in the category: Jewelry - Silversmithing – Goldsmithing.