Thursday, February 21, 2008

This is How It All Began

How did you start making books?  People often ask me and I usually have a short version of how it all began.  The long version goes something like this:  It was senior year in college and I had a library carrel to write my senior thesis.  The topic was deadly boring – something about prostitutes in Scotland.  Anyway, I was often restless and started wandering the surrounding stacks.  I found this book “The Restoration of Leather Bindings” by Bernard Middelton.  It looked interesting but I did not identify with book conservation from reading a book.   So I did not think about it again for a long while.


Fast forward to a few months after graduation.  Needless to say my history degree and knowledge of Scottish prostitutes did not immediately translate into hot job opportunities.  However I was and am fortunate to live in Washington, D.C.  The Smithsonian Institution had a bookbinding class.  I signed up and it was terrific.  The Middelton book made sense – bookbinding was fun!  My teacher recommended conservation classes with Tom Albro, who was then Chief of Conservation at the Library of Congress.


I worked in conservation at Georgetown University for five years while going to library school.  It was great but I wanted to try my hand at being a reference librarian.  Also a great profession but I missed the hands on aspect of conservation.  I also realized I had amassed multiple drawers of handmade and decorative paper.  What to do with it all? So I started making blank books.  Then I found out about Etsy (an online marketplace for buying and selling handmade items) and opened a little bookbinding shop – Moonlight Bindery.  I love it and am having fun!

1 comment:

~Stella said...


Why, hello there, blog, all shiny and new!