Purplebean Bindery was born out of necessity. While in college I took a book binding class, became fascinated with the book form and couldn’t stop making books. My shelves sagged with stacks of hand-bound books so it seemed logical to begin selling them to make room for more and fund my book making habit.
There are hundreds of ways to bind a book and I love experimenting with new styles. I also have favorite bindings, including the buttonhole stitch, coptic binding and accordion books. You’ll rarely find me making the same book twice also; there are too many beautiful papers and fabrics out there to be bound together. Every book I make, whither it be blank or an artist book, I think of as a marriage of form and function. I love the intimacy and interaction of the book form too. Leaf through, unfold or unroll one of my artist books and you’re actively discovering and participating in the art.
My formal education is in photography and art education, and I now divide my time more or less equally between the three, with some design work on the side and the rest of life (which includes a wonderful family, a sassy rescue mutt, hiking, cooking, and serious vegetable gardening). My home studio is bright and sunny, in Auburn, Maine. If you'd like ot see my photographic work, please visit www.alowphotography.com.
The buttonhole binding is one of my favorite ways to stitch together a book. The exposed spine sewing uses no glue and is both decorative and functional. The books have rigid cloth covers. I use heavy paper for the pages too, so they will hold up to all types of writing and drawing. These books will lay open flat without breaking the spine, so they are great to work in. At art fairs and in my Etsy shop you'll find a selection of other hand-made books including accordions, accordions with pockets, coptic bound books with recycled covers, and funky notebooks made with stuff that had another life. I love the idea that every blank book I bind is collaborative art project between myself and whomever ends up filling the pages.
Artist books are fine art in your hands. The past few years I have been creating artist books in limited editions, often combining my interests in photography and printmaking with bookbinding. I continue to explore different book forms as well. You can find an ever changing selection of my artist books at fairs or in my Etsy shop.