Handcrafted on the Isle of Iona

About2021-03-18T16:07:29+00:00

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 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 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.

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 end. But the very beginning of a story that will last forever.

The Bibliopegist’s Blog

Handmade by
Baile Mòr Books

Handmade by
Baile Mòr Books

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you to enjoy.

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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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