Sunday, August 5, 2012

The hobby that got out of control . .

Very Smart Gal Elizabeth Ann Gates told me about Very Smart Gal Julie Sullivan and her "Dancing Cat Bindery." What a lovely skill, and I saw some wonderful gift ideas on her Dancing Cat Bindery website
In the early 90s Dallas-based bookbinder Julie Sullivan (pictured below) began taking evening classes from local calligrapher and bookbinder Catherine Burkhard. Julie was simply looking for a relaxing hobby to reduce the stress of a full-time, fast-paced job in the hi-tech industry.
"I should have known something was up when I started using vacation days from my job to take bookbinding workshops!"

In 1997 Julie left her corporate job and began working in earnest to develop her bookbinding and book repair skills. She joined the Guild of Book Workers and began attending annual educational conferences offered by the Guild. She has attended conferences and workshops on specialized topics and book repair techniques. In 2001 Julie traveled to Cambridge University in England for her first international educational conference.

"Bookbinding is a craft in which one learns something every day, either from your own experiences or by learning from experts." 

"From recovering a favorite Bible in beautiful leather to repairing valuable classics of literature to making that favorite cookbook usable again, I enjoy working on each and every project. The books seem to have stories to tell beyond their words on paper."

Julie also produces new, custom books for clients ranging from binding love letters for a new bride to creating the layout, leather covering and gold stamping for a church memorial book and other specialized gift and memory books. “And lots and lots of custom slipcases and clamshells for book dealers and collectors.”

"Sometimes my clients know exactly what they want, sometimes I design something for them and sometimes it becomes a collaborative effort."

Julie has successfully married some of the skills honed in nearly 20 years as a marketing communication specialist with newly developed graphic layout and bookbinding skills. One example is adding new family record pages to old Bibles. Julie scans an existing record page, "cleans it up" in the digital realm and then prints pages and adds them to the existing Bible.

Bookbinding is a rewarding-yet demanding-profession. "It sounds like a cliche, but I don't know if a lifetime is long enough to learn everything there is to learn in this field."

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