Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Earth Day series - MyHandboundBooks

Rhonda, of MyHandBoundbooks, is an artist and bookbinder living in Nova Scotia. She says that she has studied book binding with the best binders in the area and is constantly looking for new ways to bind books. She is obviously very passionate about her art and likes to share her experience with others.

What makes your shop, art or craft eco-conscious and how do you inco
rporate this awareness into your shop and studio?
I try to buy recycled paper although it is hard to get much variety suitable for bookbinding. I also try to use up every scrap of everything. I make books with pages from old notebooks and I make notebooks with covers made from old posters, maps or sketch book covers. I give away my leather scraps to others who can use the small pieces. I also reclaim some other materials like buttons. I never buy new buttons and I use some clothing, leather and pleather garments. I'm always trying to think of things that I can do to be more eco-conscious.

Do you use recycled packaging and/or materials?
As much as possible, yes. I have to buy my boxes new but for packing I mostly use shredded papers and newspaper. My friends and family save bubble wrap and styrofoam chips for me!

How do you save on energy consumption in your workspace?
Well, I have all cf (compact fluorescent) bulbs in the lamps and light fixtures and I don't have any electronic tools.

Do you practice a traditional craft on the verge of extinction? Please explain where this craft comes from and how old it is etc. a little
Bookbinding has been around in some form since about 3500 BC when people started writing on clay tablets and making containers to store and protect them. Now written texts are usually printed on cheap paper, globbed with glue, then spat from a machine. But in the middle of that timeline somewhere, evolved the art of bookbinding. Master bookbinders and their apprentices would create individual works of art with every volume. I think bookbinding, like of the fine arts, has found a new place in society. No longer a trade, but an art form. I don't think it's on the verge of extinction at all. There seems to be a vital and passionate vein through our culture that protects the book arts.
Thank-you very much Rhonda for sharing with us a bit about your art and for your passion for using recycled and reclaimed materials in your studio.
If you would like to learn more about Rhonda's bookbinding art please go to her blog here:
This feature has been prepared for you by Morgen of Inkyspider Designs and Kootsac re-usable food bags.


Ele said...

Beautiful books! Giving away materials that are too small for you is another great idea.


Rhonda said...

thank you minouette! yes, and even most of the new leather I buy is somebody else's scrap - often the leftovers from large upholstery hides so it's working in both directions!