Morocco binding is a luxurious and highly sought-after bookbinding technique that has been used for centuries to protect and adorn cherished texts. Made from goatskin, morocco bindings are prized for their durability, supple texture, and rich, vibrant colors. However, just like any treasured antique, proper care is essential to maintain the beauty and value of morocco-bound books. In this blog post, we'll discuss the unique characteristics of morocco binding and provide tips on how to properly care for and preserve these exquisite volumes.
The Charm of Morocco Binding
Morocco binding has been a popular choice among bookbinders and collectors since the 16th century, owing to its durability and the beauty of the goatskin leather. Its distinctive grain pattern, obtained by subjecting the goatskin to a unique process of vegetable tanning, dyeing, and polishing, lends a sense of elegance and sophistication to the bound books.
Morocco bindings are often decorated with elaborate designs using a technique called gold tooling, which involves pressing heated metal tools onto the leather to create intricate patterns, often highlighted with gold leaf. These decorative elements, combined with the natural beauty of the leather, make morocco-bound books a coveted addition to any antique book collection.
Caring for Morocco-Bound Books
To preserve the beauty and value of your morocco-bound books, it's essential to follow these care guidelines:
- Store in a stable environment: Maintain a stable temperature and humidity level in your storage space. Ideal conditions are a temperature of 65-70°F (18-21°C) and a relative humidity of 40-50%. Extreme temperature fluctuations or high humidity can cause the leather to dry out, become brittle, or develop mold.
- Keep away from direct sunlight: Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause the rich colors of morocco leather to fade, so store your books away from windows or other sources of bright light.
- Support your books properly: Always shelve your morocco-bound books upright and support them with bookends to prevent warping or damage to the spine.
- Clean gently: To remove dust, use a soft, dry cloth or a soft-bristled brush. Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents, which can damage the leather or the gold tooling.
- Handle with care: When handling your morocco-bound books, be sure your hands are clean and dry. The natural oils and moisture from your skin can cause the leather to deteriorate over time.
- Consider professional conservation: If you notice signs of damage or deterioration in your morocco-bound books, consult a professional conservator for advice on restoration or preservation techniques.
Morocco binding is a testament to the craftsmanship and artistry of bookbinders throughout history, and it's essential to take proper care of these beautiful volumes to preserve their value and charm. By following the guidelines outlined above, you can ensure that your morocco-bound books remain a treasured part of your antique book collection for generations to come. Remember, the key to preserving these beautiful works of art is a combination of proper storage, gentle cleaning, and mindful handling.