Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"No one needs a vacation more..."

"...than the person who just had one." ~Anon.

So we've returned from vacation with bump, settling right back into the crazy life we swear to avoid. Maybe it's a little less hectic, but not by much. Sandbridge Beach was lovely, quiet, and everything that Virginia Beach wasn't. We still enjoyed the "boardwalk" but I'm glad we stayed elsewhere. And for how much I complained last week about the icky weather we had (only on a couple of days), I am very thankful that we went last week instead of experiencing Hurricane Earl in all its fury right now.

I won't get into detail about our vacay (who wants to read that?) but one of the places we visited was Colonial Williamsburg, a place I've been dying to go since I was a kid. I'm a history nerd. Especially when you can buy their artisan crafts. :D It was a little disappointing in that some places weren't open the day we were there (like the wigmaker) and some tours could have been beefed up a little (the jail could've gone into more detail about Blackbeard and his pirates being kept there), but overall I loved it.

The building I had to visit was the bindery. The printing press was already closed for the day, but I'd seen those before. OK, not that I needed to see the bindery either, but how could I resist? It's a tiny little building, tucked down a hillside from the printing press and post office and I noticed not many people found the trek to be worthwhile. I tried to convince as many tourists as possible to head down when they asked me what the building was (can't read the sign?).

I never caught the name of the bookbinder that was present, but he had a full group that he spoke to when we entered. I paid attention for some it (mostly nodding in affirmation to Hubby to show that I agreed with what the bookbinder said...not that Hubby would've known better) and mostly looked around at what tools and materials he had. The bookbinder explained a bit about his craft, mostly speaking in negative terms as though it's a dying trade (which I'll acknowledge, but come on. Let's sound psyched!) Some of the tourists asked question, but most just wandered out as they pleased. When the group had a cleared and I knew he would be restarting his talk when the next one came, I intervened to ask him about his training.

He spent 6 years as an apprentice at the bindery in Colonial Williamsburg, training with the "Master" (whom he didn't name). And my favorite moment was when he explained a little bit about the commissioned work he does and said he could show me photographs, "if I had the time." Well, of course I do! He showed me snapshots of books made for royalty and other famous celebrities (usually the only people than can afford the leather and gold stamping) and showed me what he was currently working on until more tour groups wandered in.

While I still think it could have been jazzed up a little, I think he did a great job making analogies to the kids present about their notebooks and textbooks and trying to get them to think about the structure and cost.

Back up in the giftshop, I bought some marbled paper and a handmade deck of old-fashioned playing cards. I was hoping for more leather items, but I suppose they only commission those. All in all, a great visit to Colonial Williamsburg!

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