Tuesday, December 11, 2007

About My Books

I hand-bind all of Moon Bindery’s books in my studio in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.
Hand bookbinding is an ancient craft.
For centuries, all books were bound by hand, the pages folded and sewn together for strength and durability, the book binding materials measured and cut, then the whole thing assembled with paste and patience (it takes me about two hours to bind each book) and a bit of artistry. This art was nearly lost when machine-made book production took over, but in recent years there has been a renewed interest in books that are hand-made, that have a spirit and character that machine-bound books don’t have. Through Moon Bindery’s books, I’m working to preserve and carry on the art and craft of traditional hand bookbinding.

In my choices of materials and colours for binding my books, I am always inspired by the colours and shapes and creatures of the natural world here in beautiful British Columbia, the incredible blending of colours of the sunsets and sunrises, and the spirit of sea, sky and forest.
I grew up in the country, and as a child often went for long walks in the woods. I remember being fascinated by the multitude of textures surrounding me--the rough grooves in the bark of the cedar trees, the crisp edges of the grass blades, and the softness of the needles on fir boughs when I ran my hand along them. I think that's why I'm drawn to paper that has lots of wonderful texture--the handmade paper I use for my book covers often has pieces of bark and leaves and grass in it, and these textures become part of the cover design.

Another inspiration for my designs comes from having curated an exhibition on 19th century books for the Bruce Peel Library at the University of Alberta. 19th-century books often had beautifully decorative bindings, such as the one on this book, Lucile, published in the 1880s. Like those earlier bookbinders, my aim is to make books that are both useful and beautiful.

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