The bookbinder’s secret library


Cambras bookbinder

Cambras at his workshop, with one of his bookbindings.

Josep Cambras, one of the most popular bookbinders from Barcelona, always welcomes me with a wide smile and a sarcastic look.
Smiles turn to laughter when we get down to our issues:
-But… you are not pasting the spine of my book with PVA glue, are you?!
-These restorers… over and over with their reversibility and other eccentricities!

Cambras is not only one of our best bookbinders, he’s such a character, and discussing with him about adhesives, about books, or even chatting over life, happens to be anything but boring.
But let’s come to the point: in addition to his personality we have his works, impeccable and beautiful. Mosaics, gildings, artist’s books, large scale ones, on cloth… colours and shapes combine precisely and elegantly in all his bindings.

conservation solution for paperback books

Set of paperback books, with matching cases for each one.

secret library

Fake library, which is in fact a hidden door, at cambras’ workshop.

A set of paperback books caught my attention: he has made a case  for each issue, matching size and colours, keeping its original binding as well as preserving its content. Touché! I find it an unbeatable conservation solution, and by all means, much more beautiful than the grey conservation housings.

But… where’s the secret library? A little bird told me about it and I can’t see it… Yes! There it is: in fact it is a fake library, a door made with discarded bindings. Hahaha… I love it! The real forbidden dream for a books conservator!

Thanks a lot Cambras for the visit and for being yourself.





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3 thoughts on “The bookbinder’s secret library

  1. Dear Rita, thank you for your article! I was 20 years old when, in Italy, I bought the Josep Cambra’s book “La Rilegatura” (Italian of “ENCUADERNACION”), and I discovered my love for books and bookbinding techniques… After 7 years, I still have this book in my library and take a look at that sometimes for inspiration. I love the art of this MASTER !

    • Great to know about that Laura!
      Many thanks for your comment, I’ll let Cambras know, he’ll be delighted.
      I also have some of his books, and once I asked him to dedicate it to me 🙂

      • wooooooow!!!! Fantastic! Yes, you can let him know that he has a fan in Italy 😉 I learned a lot from his books… and I also followed his instructions to realize my own sewing frame 😉 Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of bookbinding works on my website/portfolio… I wish you (and Josep!) a fantastic summer!!!

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