This week we would like to introduce you to bookbinding artist Karen Rudd and her shop Spellbinderie. After taking a huge leap across the pond to France, in search of more creative endeavors, Karen found her way and her art form. We are very glad she did as her work is beyond wonderful. Using vintage books found in France, Karen gives them TLC and breathes inspiration into them, creating incredible journals and guest books for all of us to pour our hearts into. Here’s more on Karen’s story and her tres chic vintage creations:
Tell us how Spellbinderie came to be?
Discovering bookbinding came after a huge change in my life that necessitated a new career. In October 2010, I relocated to Lyon, France with my partner. Before moving, we lived in Brooklyn, NY and I worked as a documentary film editor. But he wanted to return to France, to his hometown, a city I had never even visited. And not only would it be a new city in a new country, I didn’t speak French either. I realized before deciding to move that continuing in my field as a film editor would be challenging and difficult but I was ready for a change and open to trying something new. Part of the reason for the move was to get away from big city life, have more time to create with our hands, more time in general. My first few months here were focused on learning French and getting to know my new city but then one day I randomly stumbled on the art of bookbinding. We live in an area where there is a lot of artisans who still work in traditional ways. At the same time a friend in the US was having a lot of success on Etsy selling vintage. I was drawn to the idea of making journals from vintage books and began to learned bookbinding on my own. I opened my shop, Spellbinderie, on Etsy in October 2011.
What’s your design process like?
I start with vintage books that I find here in France. These are old books that are damaged inside but still have some life to give. I then add in blank pages of new paper but also sew in reclaimed vintage paper and illustrations that I collect from the books I cut up. I also reuse the paper for gift wrapping and making paper labels to announce names and wedding date on the first page of the guestbooks. Then I sell off the rest to paper artists and crafters so nothing goes to waste.
What inspires you?
The beauty and craftsmanship of these old books, the stories inside and the incredible illustrations I find, all inspire me. Holding them in my hands, imagining the other hands that held the book so many years ago, that really gets my imagination running and spinning new stories. And I know the stories will continue by me transforming an old book into something unique and special for another pair of hands to enjoy and create in.
What are your favorite creations so far?
I am really proud of these three guestbooks I made (see above). The green one was the first guest book I ever made and came from an old book I’ve had for many years. I think it will be hard to ever find illustrations that perfect for a guestbook and the cover of that book is not only gorgeous, it’s in incredible condition considering It’s from the mid 1800s! The gold book was one of the most difficult as well as enjoyable guestbooks to make. I worked closely with the bride to create it, each of us inspiring the other with ideas. With this book the lace spine idea was created. And the plum colored book was made by request for Etsy. They ordered a guest book to be used at their wedding fair in NYC on April 28. Pretty exciting to say the least!
For more on Spellbinderie visit these links: