I learned about Leather Bookbinding from a creative and inspiring college professor during my Art Major studies in Iowa. I was hooked from the first book I bound.
Initially, my book compositions included recycled diesel truck engine parts as design elements. As an influence from my father, a parts manager at a repair shop for semi tractors and heavy hauling equipment, I enjoyed repurposing metal components into book art.
I continue to incorporate mechanical parts, expanding my interest to include motorcycle, airplane, camera components, found objects, plus stained glass.
However, custom requests for unique carved and embossed designs, logos, or themes remains my specialty.
I am the sole creator of each Custom Leather Book. Let me create that unique keepsake binding especially for your life event or daily enjoyment. Contact me any time to chat.
In my Minnesota studio, I aim to create a synthesis of traditional bookbinding with contemporary compositions. For instance, fabricated metal designs intertwine with stained glass, carved and embossed forms, metal engine parts, and handmade papers.
Firstly, the bookbinding process includes folding acid-free papers in half and stacking them into ‘signatures’. Secondly, I hand sew each signature around leather cords with a needle and thread. Thirdly, a clamp secures the book while brushed with archival permanently flexible glue. Meanwhile, before the glue dries, hand hammering rounds and tightens the spine.
After that, the binding cords affix to the cover boards. In conjunction, two layers of 55 pound tensile-strength fabric reinforce the cover hinges for extra structural integrity to ensure heirloom quality.
Importantly, I hand stitch my own headbands onto the spine ends. They consist of colorful threads wrapped around leather cords and sewn directly onto the spine edges. As a result, they offer protection, strength, and decor.
Lastly, handripping individual page edges creates a sculpted or curved deckled edge. Or in contrast, the book can be squeezed askew, placed in a clamp, and then trimmed one page at a time with a razor blade. Therefore, a controlled straight or angled edge is formed.
Book Cover Art
I specialize in carving and embossing Book Cover Art to personalize your Custom Leather Bookbinding request.
Three-Dimensional designs are sculpted from binders board, 1 to 15 layers thick. Therefore, deep forms in relief become possible. I hand carve designs with a razor blade and subsequently emboss them under the leather.
A press is not used to achieve the wrapped three-dimensional shapes. Rather, brushed glue covers half inch segments while the leather is handworked into each crevice of the sculpture with small hand tools until dry.
This covering process requires selecting a precise starting point. Likewise, a directional course must be followed or the leather will not smoothly cover. It can take many hours to emboss a small 3-D sculpture.
I fabricate copper, silver, and other metals designs with fine jewelry tools and wire them through the cover for secure attachment. Some copper elements receive a natural patina by applying lemon juice, salt, and/or vinegar.
Stained glass windows become book cover art as well, individually cut and soldered to your design request.
I enjoy hand making paper. A variety of handmade papers line the inner covers as endsheets.
You may view more about Leather Bookbinding here, to see step-by-step binding process examples.
Custom Requests Are Encouraged
A special one-of-a-kind book can be bound specifically for you as a:
Engagement or Anniversary Book
Personalized Leather Bible
Custom Binding of Printed Materials
Refillable Binding in a Multi-Ring, Screwpost or Slipcover Format
Lidded or Clamshell Leather Box
Awards and Accolades
"Best of the Best" (Best in Show and Best in Category) - Uptown Art Fair
Best of Show - Wausau Festival of the Arts - 4 Year Winner
Award of Excellence - Laumeier Sculpture Park Art Fair – 3 Year Winner
Best of Show - Midwest Salute to the Arts - 2 Year Winner
Best of Show - Uptown Art Fair - 2 Year Winner
Award of Excellence - Excelsior Arts Festival
Best of Category - Midwest Salute to the Masters - 4 Year Winner
Best of Category – Madison Art Fair
Merit Award - Wausau Festival of Arts – 4 Year Winner
Best in Category - Oconomowoc Festival of Arts - 2 Year Winner
Best of Show 3-D - Brookside Art Annual
Honorable Mention - Laumeier Contemporary Art Fair - 2 Year Winner
Award of Merit - Laumeier Contemporary Art Fair - 4 Year Winner
Honorable Mention - Shaw Art Fair
Honorable Mention - Wausau Festival of Arts
Juror's Award - Ann Arbor Street Art Fair
Award Winner – Wausau Festival of Arts
Honorable Mention – Ann Arbor Street Art Fair
Invitational Award - Madison Art Fair on the Square - 2 Year Winner
Finalist Award – Uptown Art Fair – 6 Year Winner
- ‘Best of the Best’ (Best of Show & Best in Category) – Uptown Art Fair
- Best of Show – Wausau Festival of the Arts – 4 year winner
- Award of Excellence – Laumeier Sculpture Park Art Fair – 3 year winner
- Best of Show – Midwest Salute to the Arts – 2 year winner
- Best of Show – Uptown Art Fair – 2 year winner
- Award of Excellence – Excelsior Arts Festival
- Best of Category – Midwest Salute to the Masters – 4 year winner
- Best of Category – Madison Art Fair
- Merit Award – Wausau Festival of Arts – 4 year winner
- Best in Category – Oconomowoc Festival of Arts – 2 year winner
- Best of Show 3-D – Brookside Art Annual
- Honorable Mention – Laumeier Contemporary Art Fair – 2 year winner
- Award of Merit – Laumeier Contemporary Art Fair – 4 year winner
- Honorable Mention – Shaw Art Fair
- Honorable Mention – Wausau Festival of Arts
- Juror’s Award – Ann Arbor Street Art Fair
- Award Winner – Wausau Festival of Arts
- Honorable Mention – Ann Arbor Street Art Fair
- Invitational Award – Madison Art Fair on the Square – 2 year winner
- Finalist Award – Uptown Art Fair – 6 year winner
- Best of Show – Madison Art Fair on the Square
- Best of Show – Honorable Mention – Ann Arbor State Street Art Fair
- Invitational Award – Ann Arbor State Street Art Fair – 7 year winner
- Best of Category – Belleville Art on the Square
- Best of Show / Honorable Mention – Fiber / Metal Arts – 2 year winner
- Invitational Award – Krasl Art Fair
- Invitational Award – Ann Arbor Street Art Fair – 5 year winner
- Artist Patron Award – Smokey Hill River Festival
- Purchase Award – Minnesota Historical Society
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