December Stuff at Rockpile

Hello my dears. The holidays are always an overwhelming time of year for me, but December has gotten off to a wonderful start with lots to feel thankful for. I’ve been teaching Beginning Bookbinding at the shop and I have another class of star pupils. It’s neat to learn from my students; not only do I learn more about how to be a better and more effective teacher, I also get to learn more about bookbinding. I can get so stuck in my ways that I don’t see alternative methods and avenues in binding, and new students often have really unexpected insights into the creative processes of making books. So far in this class series, we have made coptic books with linocut printed covers, Japanese stab bindings, and concertina dos a dos books, some with a few creative variations.

In this class I’ve put a lot of emphasis on processes that can be replicated at home, without big, heavy, or expensive equipment. My artistic path took an unexpected turn when I graduated from college with a true love for printmedia, but had very little in the way of space or resources for artmaking. I turned to bookbinding because I felt a kindling of creative love in the art and processes, and didn’t have any printmaking equipment of my own. Learning so many structures by trial and error at home in my studio after having minimal bookbinding instruction has been a wonderfully empowering process, and I love how portable and compact the art of making books can be. If it weren’t, I don’t know if I could have ever begun binding in my sunny little studio on Cumberland Avenue.

Now, five years later, I have a life of creativity that I couldn’t quite have imagined in its entirety. Having the opportunity to teach has given me a push to do something that scares and inspires me in equal proportions. On good days, the encouraging words that I hear from the people I love mirror the pride that I have in my work. And these days, one of the greatest gifts of my life as a maker of things is that I always have more ideas for things I’d like to make. It’s so lovely to feel wealth and abundance in that area, wouldn’t you say?