Daniel E. Kelm and Nicolette Jelen
Kelm: American, 1951–; Jelen: American, 1952–

Goatskin suede and paper colored with acrylic paints mixed with paste, photocopy images transferred onto goatskin suede and paper, cloth, and wire edge binding. Published by Vincent Fitzgerald, New York. Collection of George Hecksher. Photographs by Daniel E. Kelm.

A Dog Story

Kelm’s bindings for A Dog Story and Hannah Duston were commissioned by rare book dealer Priscilla Juvelis. Feeling that certain books demand strong, inventive bindings, Juvelis gave the books to Kelm to see if the contents of either book would resonate, sparking an exterior treatment that would support the imagery and intent of the books’ narratives.

A Dog Story is comprised primarly of etchings by Nicolette Jelen that tell a story through the perspective of the four main characters: the dog, the domed house, the swimming pool, and the palm tree. For the binding, Kelm reproduced each of these figures in a three-dimensional structure contained by the clamshell box or on the body of the book itself. The dog is pictured on the cover; the binding becomes the domed house, a palm tree pops up from the interior of the box, and the inside of the box cover extends out to form the pool. 

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