|One of the first books I ever made, back in 2002 - a case bound notebook with collaged covers|
1. I've always made things by hand.
I've been making things by hand for longer than I can remember. There was at least one unlucky incident that featured scissors and a woollen jumpsuit, and I'm sure there were other times when my creative endeavours were less than successful. Cutting things you shouldn't runs in the family, so I guess I should be very grateful for my parents letting the very-young-me handle scissors regardless of it.
In school I was very good at everything, apart from sports and music. But having been good at school doesn't mean I'd do well in academia. Tried out university, before and after bookbinding, did not particularly enjoy. Though I did fall more permanently in love with linguistics there. Still, using my hands in co-operation with my brain works much better than just using my brain.
2. It allows me to use my creativity, as well as the engineer part of my brain
To me, the most important thing about bookbinding is: to make things by hand, from scratch, with great attention to detail. I'm a creative person, but I have a problem with creating two dimensional art. It actually terrifies me - I've dropped classes after realising I'd have to draw. Bookbinding provides me with the perfect frame to work within.
Bookbinding is a lot like building, and when I build, I like to build pretty (and well). I enjoy problem solving (as long as the problems are more like puzzles than actual problems in actual life). Bookbinding requires an understanding of cause and effect; with new techniques, materials or structures, there's always a lot to work out. There are endless variations to try and experiment. Bookbinding never ends. You never learn it all.
People often say to me about bookbinding that it must be very meticulous, that I must measure everything by the millimetre. Usually I respond by saying I measure things by the tenth of a millimetre, which is a slight hyperbole, but if I measured things by the millimetre, they'd be absolutely screwed. Precision, also something I love.
|unelmia maailmasta - dreams of a world|
3. Books are functional items, there is a purpose for their being other than just beauty
For the longest time I struggled with the thought of creating Art. You know the thing, Art, with no other particular purpose than to be and to affect people while being. Nowadays it's not that terrifying anymore, but I do like how books are items you use, items that have a purpose. And also, that purpose is to be on the receiving end of somebody's creative process or brain dump or some other intimate act of mark making or memorising. Always happy to help out a friend trying to get an idea on paper!
4. For a writer, it's pretty nice to be able to make your own notebooks designed to fit your specific needs.
I'm really picky about notebooks. There's so much to be picky about! I also have a picky poet husband, and I provide him perfect notebooks and journals without complaints from either side.
5. I like sewing...
...but I really don't like talking with strangers, and I most certainly don't like touching strangers. So, becoming a seamstress wasn't a sensible option, and any assembly line type of work is just too uncreative for me. Bookbinding features a nice amount of work with a needle and thread. I also like paper, more than any other material. It's easier to sew books than to make garments out of paper. I've done that, too, obviously.
6. I really, really don't like talking business with strangers
Bookbinding is a lonesome job in most cases (and that's good!). I don't have colleagues, I have a quiet husband, and I'm in the privileged position of a bookbinder on a disability pension where I can say no to custom orders due to health reasons. I don't say no just because I find all sorts of negotiation difficult - it's a complex combination of Aspergers, the worst stress management skills, and my wrists trying to bail on me every time I work too much.
I adore my customers and I thoroughly enjoy the correspondence I get to have with my readers here, but I'd never manage all this social interaction face to face for more than a few months. Selling my work online and blogging to the nicest audience on earth is just perfect. No talk, lots of love. While I don't currently make a living as a bookbinder, in many ways bookbinding makes a life for me.