Book Binding for Artists

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In a consultation aims and ideas are discussed. This will help me to ascertain how much experience the artist has had with making books. Consultation is recommended early in a project as there are considerations regarding materials that are best taken into account if the best quality result is to be achieved. The intention of the consultation is that the artist will have a clearer idea as to how to proceed. Initial consultations are free of charge.


Mock-ups are very useful for visualising the book. Problems that were not apparent in drawings or in the imagination will become unavoidable and can be solved at this stage. Page sequencing for folded sheets can be easily resolved with mock-ups. Mock-ups can be made full size or smaller, whatever is necessary.

Full hand-binding service

The artist need only make the bookblock (the pages/ sections of the book). After discussions about the look and function of the binding and the choice of materials; cloth, paper, board etc. I will bind the book. Handbinding requires only basic equipment. Books are sewn and finished by hand. Handbinding allows a far wider range of binding styles to be used. The binding style is chosen to compliment the work and allow for the best possible end result.

Boxes and slipcases

A box or a slipcase will protect the book and can be designed to add to the narrative of the book. They are an optional extra. Boxes can also be made for other art works; suites of prints, book objects or less formalised book works, such as livre d'artiste.

Editions up to 15 copies

To edition a book can be an obvious step. How the work is reproduced varies hugely from one artist to another, from one book to another. This process is the responsibility of the artist however consultation may be recommended and mock-ups can be made. I will bind multiple copies of a book; 2-15 copies. Depending on the book, editions of more than 15 will be considered.


The one-off is a unique book. The space for experimentation with alternative materials is almost limitless if only one copy is to be produced. Consideration for reproduction methods can be forgotten and the complexity of the page and the interrelationship between pages, text, image and narrative can be explored. The binding can be another aspect of the book which will further the work.

The Concertina and beyond...

The BOOK is an exciting, DYNAMIC and 3-dimensional SPACE for the ARTIST to EXPLORE and WRESTLE with.

Just as the book can carry INFINITE possible IDEAS there are endless POSSIBLE ways of DESIGNING and BINDING a book. Because commercial bookbinding has become highly mechanised the process of binding has become remote and mystified. But bookbinding was and still is a HAND trade. With the right binder the process can be DEMYSITIFIED and almost anything can be bound.

Monica Oppen is a bookartist, printmaker and writer. She has trained and worked as a hand binder and has 20 years of binding experience. She has bound her own work and that of other artists. Her books are in public and private collections in Australia and overseas. She is based in Sydney but she happy to work long distance with artists throughout Australia.


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