button hole books
artist

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). buttonhole books 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.

artist book

90 Days in a Box, accordion book, 6 x 5 x 5" closed digital prints, book box. 2014
artist book

Fish or Cut Bait, fishbone accordion, 4 x 6" closed, digital prints and monoprint, edition of 20. 2017
artist book

Summer Haiku Japanese stab binding, 5 x 4" closed, linoleum prints and text, edition of 20. 2013
artist book

The Pup's Way tipped page accordion, 5" square closed, linoleum prints and printed text, edition of 25. 2015
artist book

Invisible Cities, hexaflexagons, 6.5", digital prints of original art. 2016
artist book

Needles sew and tie binding, 2 x 5" closed, linoleum, prints typed text, edition of 25. 2015
artist book

Archival & Ephemeral dos a dos, 5" square closed, gel transfer prints, edition of 10. 2015
artist book

The Flora of Your Colon star accordion fold, 3 x 3 x 2" closed, printed text, edition of 50. 2014
artist book
The Way of the Pup tipped accordion fold, 5" square closed, linoleim prints and text, edition of 25. 2015

Book Fans
book fan using a book
I used my blank book to record my vacation in Maine. The pockets are filled with mementos of my trip with little daily notes about my Maine exploits" Rachel -Chicago, Illinois
book fan using a book
I met Charles several years ago when a friend bought him a haiku book. Both have come back to visit at art fairs many times, to share Charle's poems and purchase another book. With each visit, Charles shows me his previous book, often filled with with a specific theme (like recording his trip to France in haiku) and illustrationed around the margins. Charles -Portland, Maine
book fan using a book
"My collection of "bitty books" has provided me with much satisfaction over the past several years. I have NEVER been able to keep a journal before in my lengthy life until presented with my first lovely book from Anna. Those non-intimidating little pages with just enough room to enter a few thoughts, recollections, reminders to myself are perfect for a "non-journaler". And the lovely colorful papers interspersed among the plain ones are always a delight. Not only that, the book holds up beautifully through 365 days of penning in my entries with a few extra pages to reflect on the year. And don't you love that binding?!" Joanne -Brunswick, Maine