Handcrafted on the Isle of Iona


Just so we’re on the same page…

Some people have a passion for travel, while others fitness, cars or cookery. Then there are those who’d rather spend a day in the hills than a day spending a fortune in town.

I, on the other hand, love books. I’m a self-proclaimed book nerd. And proud of it. But since you’re here, I’m guessing you’d rather I tell you everything I’ve learnt about binding books – bookbinding is my pastime, but it’s also my passion and profession.

Who am I?

My background is in graphic design, mainly in books and longer publications. I was self-taught in bookbinding and found I was actually enjoying it a bit too much when I won a QEST scholarship – this coveted accolade gave me the opportunity to study alongside master bookbinders and conservation experts in the UK, US, and beyond.

So my profession began in the publishing world as a book designer. Then I stumbled upon a tutorial on how to bind a basic book. I loved it – I’d found something I was pretty good at. After heaps of practice I realised this is what I wanted to do professionally, forever. I’ve never looked back.

I’m fascinated by the engineering of books and have an almost obsessive desire to learn and understand new structures.

I work out of a small studio on the idyllic Scottish island of Iona, (if you’ve never been, I highly recommend it; it is, amongst other things, the birthplace of the Book of Kells) where I’ve lived for over 10 years now. Iona’s landscape – its natural colours of sand sea and rocks – are a huge inspiration to me.

How we bind the whole story together.

There’s more to binding a book than you might think. The type and style of binding depends on the needs of the customer – contact me for full details. It can be as simple as saddle-stitching (basically stitching the pages together), or as complex as you wish it to be. It may be a sentimental yet worn and beloved book; a book on your family history; a favourite novel that’s seen better days… anything is possible.


2023 Elizabeth Soutar Competition, National Library of Scotland, Best Creative Binding

2022 Society of Bookbinders, Paul DelRue Award for Emerging Talent

2022 Elizabeth Soutar Competition, National Library of Scotland, Best Creative Binding

2022 Heritage Crafts, Further development training bursary

2021 Creative Scotland, Visual Artist & Craft Maker Awards

2021 Robert Gordon University, Look Again Creative Entrepreneurship placement

2019 Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, Scholar

A simplified process that would encompass most binding projects:

  • Consider project and plan the appropriate binding style.
  • Have necessary materials at hand such as decorative papers, linen or aerocotton, kozo, paste, leather, buckram or other book cloth.

  • Collate and gather pages into sections (quires), fold, if not folded already, trim if needed/desired.

  • Make endpapers with decorative paper to suit the binding.

  • Sew quires and endpapers by hand into book block.

  • Cut and shape boards for covers.

  • Securely attach covers to book the block — this can happen before or after the cover decoration is complete.

  • Cover boards in decorative papers, book cloths, and/or leather.

  • Attach endpapers to covers.

  • Apply labels, titles or other decoration to cover.

  • If the book is of particular value (financial, historical, or emotional) construct a protective enclosure for it.

The Bibliopegist’s Blog

Handmade by
Baile Mòr Books

Handmade by
Baile Mòr Books

Books ready bound for
you to enjoy.

Troubled tome to
beautiful book

Troubled tome to beautiful book

Older and well-used books sometimes need a bit of TLC to last another few generations.


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