Natalie Naor BB ’17
What led you to become a student at NBSS?
I became a student at NBSS because I am passionate about pursuing a career in book conservation and believe that in order to repair books, you need to know how to craft them. I knew that the specialized curriculum at NBSS would equip me with a deep understanding of the book and its history, as well as a robust set of hand skills to help me be successful in my chosen field.
What was the best part of your education?
For me, the best part was how heavily hands-on and communal my education was. I learned bookbinding and book conservation techniques by actually binding and repairing books. So much time at the bench allowed me to really work through what we learned from our instructor and the conventions of my craft, make the mistakes I needed to make and learn from, and experiment. Doing so in such close quarters with my classmates, too, meant we were always learning from each other, troubleshooting together, and pushing each other to try different things.
What are you up to now?
After graduating, I worked as a fellow in the conservation lab at the Boston Athenaeum. I had the incredible opportunity to interact with and help maintain an extraordinary collection that belongs to an institution deeply woven into Boston’s history. I’m now the Technical Assistant at Columbia University Libraries in New York City. On the side, I continue to practice bookbinding in my small home studio and participate in bookbinding workshops whenever possible.
Favorite tool or machine?
The bonefolder. You can modify it to suit your every need both in shape and material, and over time it fine-tunes itself from use to fit perfectly in your hand.
Completing my first design binding and closing the Student/Alumni Show exhibit case with it inside.
Best advice you’ve gotten?
Striving to be a master craftsperson isn’t about getting to a point where you never make mistakes. It’s about knowing how to effectively deal with any mistakes or problems that inevitably arise.
Dream project or job?
Conserving a medieval illuminated manuscript.