At our Art Buddy Meeting on Friday, JoAnn invited us downtown to PNCA, http://pnca.edu/ to see her exhibit of Ex Libris Bookplates. There were several hundred on display, but it was only a fraction of her collection of over 8,000 plates! Who knew there was such an amazing collection of art from the 14th century to present, represented in bookplates?
JoAnn said that most of the bookplates come from Europe, but they're produced and collected all over the world. Basically, as she explained it, an artist is commissioned by a client who wants bookplates for their book collection or for gifts. An artist will submit drawings, and then once they're approved, they will use a variety of techniques like Offset, Computer generated, Relief, Etching, Lithography etc. to produce a specified number of plates. The quantity can vary, but usually about 50-150 copies are then produced. The artist will keep a small amount for their collections (like 15 or 20), and the rest are given to the client. The plate is then marked so it can't be used again, or it's destroyed
We were all given magnifying glasses so we could see the detail in the original sketch and etching on the copper plate.