Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Kiley's Handmade Books
"I have always been a crafty kind of girl," says Kiley. "I grew up in my Dad's studio classes as he worked towards his BFA, and I learned to make all kinds of items." A love of all kinds of arts and crafts was instilled in her from a young age -- she was in a 4-H sewing group, had a beading loom on which she made bracelets, made macramé bracelets, "the list could go on forever," she says.
Bookbinding came later, however, when she worked in a library while working on her undergraduate degree. "I knew I loved working in libraries and started to look for the area of specialization that would fit me. After an extensive amount of research I found a specialization that I thought I would love; I wanted to be a conservationist." She began by taking a series of book binding classes to get her feet wet and see if it was something she could do. She started with a basic class on small books and took another class on larger book making as well as a class on making protective boxes. "As long as I have known about handbound books I have loved them. Books have really become my passion."
From there I took off on my own, bought some books, and joined a local book arts group and have learned a lot of really unique and fun book structures. She began to build a a 3-D portfolio for graduate school admission. "I had a blast in the classes and it was something that came very naturally to me. I fell in love with the craft and have never looked back. I now spend most of my free time folding, sewing, cutting, gluing, and whatever else I can think of to do to paper with the end goal of a book in mind," she says.
Right now her two favorite structures are the Celtic Weave and her Origami books. "I just got a great deal on some larger paper and am going to start offering my origami books in a 6" square size. I love the Celtic Weave because it opens flat like a Coptic stitching but I think it is a much more eye-catching sewing," she says.
Kiley gets most of her inspiration from her paper stash. "When I start a new project I almost never start with a color, pattern, or style of book in mind. I start looking for the paper, or fabric, that stands out that day. From there I pick a structure and a size and start working."
She also get great rushes of inspiration from custom orders, trying to create the perfect book for someone she's only communicated with for short time spans. "It's always a challenge, but it's also very rewarding. I love the feedback I get from the custom books I have made that also drives me to create more wonderful books."
If you see a book in her shop that you like but don't love, she invites you to send her a message so she can do a custom order for you. Similarly if you see something in her sold listings you love, but she doesn't have any currently in stock, she'd love to make one for you. "I love doing custom orders and would love to create a book just for you!" You can keep up with Kiley's Etsy activities on her blog.