Central College – Pella, IA B.A. Art
Chicago Metropolitan Center – Chicago, IL
Trinity College – Carmarthen, Wales
University of Leiden – Leiden, Netherlands
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. This is an influence from my father because he was a parts manager at a repair shop for semi tractors and heavy hauling equipment. Therefore, he would clean up junk parts to offer for book art.
Now, I continue to incorporate mechanical parts. However, I have expanded my interest to include motorcycle, airplane, and camera components, plus stained glass. I enjoy recycling found objects to repurpose them on Leather Books.
What I like best about Leather Bookbinding is making each book a customized piece. For instance, I delight in personalizing a cover design with carved and embossed artwork.
I am the sole creator of each Handbound Leather Book. Quality is certainly my main focus. Let me create that unique keepsake binding especially for your life event or daily enjoyment. Contact me any time to chat about Leather Bookbinding.
The Process Explained
In my Minnesota studio, I utilize cord sewn Leather Bookbinding techniques, dating back to the 6th century. However, I 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, the spine is clamped and brushed with archival permanently flexible glue. Meanwhile, the spine is immediately hammered to round and tighten it while the glue is still wet.
After that, the leather binding cords are affixed to 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. These headbands 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, the outer edges of the bound pages are finished by hand ripping each sheet individually. As a result, this creates a sculpted deckled organic shape. In contrast, however, to achieve angled smooth edges, the book can be squeezed askew and placed in a clamp. I then trim it, one page at a time with a razor blade. Therefore, a controlled crisp lineal edge or angled shape 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 are 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, glue is applied in half inch segments. Meanwhile. the leather is handworked into each crevice of the sculpture with small tools until dry. As a result, deep and sharp edges can be made.
This covering process requires selecting a precise starting point. Likewise, a directional course must be followed. Otherwise, the leather will not smoothly cover. It can take many hours to emboss a 3-D sculpture.
I fabricate copper, silver, and other metals with fine jewelry tools to add luster to cover art. These metal designs are wired through the cover for secure attachment. Some copper elements are given a natural patina by applying lemon juice, salt, & vinegar. As a result, antiqued finishes are achieved.
Stained Glass is certainly fun to include in leather bookbinding. For instance, stained glass windows are individually cut and soldered to your design request.
I enjoy hand making paper. These and other handmade papers are applied to the interior of the covers as endsheets. That is the final step which completes the bookbinding process.
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
I now own four pieces by Marcia, and the quality of workmanship that goes into each one imbues them with both a durability and a unique elegance that elevates them at once to family heirloom status.
Every book Marcia has revived, refurbished & rescued for me are treasures to myself and my family. She is amazingly skilled and creative which is why I always think of her. Besides all that, I think she is a wonderfully interesting and lovely person to work with.
I have ordered Marcia’s books for graduations, weddings, retirements, showers. Each book has been unique, thoughtful and well crafted. I love the process almost as much as I love the product. Each book is in and of itself a story before the first journal entry or picture is added.
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
Awards not pictured:
- 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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