Monday, 27 August 2012

Ethical Paper & Binding

I had an email today from my madeit website.  A lovely lady had seen that I had used reflex paper on one of my books and decided to let me know that even though she loved my books, she would not be purchasing any for the simple reason I had used reflex paper.

Now initially I was little peeved at her email, but once I thought about it she is right.

Reflex is BAD !!!!!! 

Now I knew this and a few years back had made a conscious effort to change all the paper over at my workplace and had even convinced other departments to change over.  So why did I use it?????  well, I forgot!

  • I forgot that Reflex (manufactured by Australian Paper) is the largest domestic purchaser of pulplogs from Victoria's native forests and that the production of woodchips for pulp and paper is the largest driver of forest destruction in Australia.
  • I forgot about the destruction to habit and wildlife this causes.
  • I forgot about the destructive affect on our water catchment areas.
  • and  I forgot about the huge amounts of carbon being released  into the atmosphere as a result of this.

Australian Paper is still one of the largest buyers of native forests in the Central Highlands of Victoria. These forests are the most carbon dense on Earth, they are important water catchments and they are home to endangered species such as the Leadbeater Possums who's numbers are now down to less than 1000.

Whilst this wood chipping continues, we cannot, should not, support any of their paper products.

Reflex is BAD !!!

You can find lots of information at the Ethical Paper website and even which alternative products you can purchase locally.

Suffice to say, I wont continue to use Reflex or any paper product that is not ethically and environmental safely sourced in the future.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Slump Time

Been in a wee bit of a slump of late and finding it very difficult to find motivation.  Whilst I'm confident its temporary it does get a little annoying and even depressing. 

Strangely enough I've still managed to produce a rather 'cool' book.  Its only taken me 3 weeks (ahhh) and its still not finished but I really like how it looks so far.

What do you think??

Ive used an old book cover that I found at an Op Shop and placed a piece of Green leather across the front.  The covers are attached by the green strips across the spine with stitching in Cream Linen Thread.  The Coptic headband stitching at the top is my first attempt and is still a little loose. As you can see i still  have to complete the bottom headband.
Even though it looks great there are still bits and pieces that I should have done differently (such as not gluing the inside covers until I had completed the stitching Hmmmm), so this one will probably be delegated to my use only.

One thing this 'slump time' has done for me is readjust my perspective on my work and given me more of an appreciation of what I'm capable of.  So instead of mass producing for a wuick sale on madeit, Im going to follow my heart and creative whims and build books from the imagination. After all, thats why I started bookbinding and thats why I will keep going.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Books Never Die

Monash University:  A Rare Books exhibition on the history of the book.
For book lovers everywhere.  This is an exhibition not to be missed. 

The Rare Books Collection was founded in 1961 when the University Librarian purchased a collection of early edition works by Jonathan Swift and some of his contemporaries. There are now over 150,000 items in the collectio, which contains materials that are considered rare and in need of special care because of their age, uniqueness or physical beauty.

This exhibition is a celebration of the book over six centuries. Rare Books collects books about books and representative items to show the historical development of book production through the ages.   Included us a selection of Binding examples as well as Illustration and Typography.

14 June to 7 September 2012

Level 1, ISB Wing,
Sir Louis Matheson Library,
Clayton campus, Monash University,
Wellington Road, Clayton


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

An Interview: Creating My Way To Success

What do you create?

Well, basically I create books. Books with lots and lots of empty pages, screaming out to be Illustrated or written upon.  Journals, sketchbooks and notepads all built for a little prose, a lot of doodling or whatever takes the book lovers fancy.

The Little Bird Bindery books come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Hardcover and soft leather journals. I’m even happy to make custom orders.

Why do you create?

I create because I must!

I’m one of those people that’s always making something.  From a kid that knitted, a teen who designed and sewed her own clothes, a Mum that made kids hats, to middle aged lady who makes books.  Knitting, sewing, cross stitch, illustrations, painting, letterpress……..and the list goes on.  As for book binding, well, I first learnt how to make books about 3 years ago and love every single itty bitty moment of it.

That desire to CRAFT has always been in me. It’s an intrinsic part of me and I can’t remember a day where I haven’t created something, whether it’s a quick sketch of an idea or actually sitting down at my desk and making and creating.

Do you sell your creations? If so, how? Where? And is it profitable?

I do sell my books.   
You can find all my current books for sale at

Initially I was very reluctant to put them out on the market. Not because I didn’t think they were good but simply because I thought nobody would want to pay for them.  It’s very easy to be highly critical of your own work so it took me long time before I recognised that other people loved my books as much as I did.

So there I was with a room full of books that needed to go to good homes and rapidly running out of places to store them.   What to do?   Well, I started giving them away.  Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, gifts for any occasion really.   And then something fantastic happened.  I realised that there were people out there who loved my books as much as I did and after receiving some amazing feedback I decided ‘selling them” might be worth a go.   

My books are now available to everyone on  My little store is called “Little Bird Bindery”. You can find it right HERE.

It’s been a great learning curve and although I haven’t sold an insane number of books, I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far.  It’s great to see them go to good homes and treasured by someone other that myself. 

At this stage my Madeit store finances my binding habit.  One day soon (real soon) I’m hoping it will lead to bigger and better things (like stay at home and madly binding all day long. Sigh!)

What mistakes have you made or lessons you have learned?

Mistakes?   Me??  Never!

Seriously though.

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.  (Albert Einstein)

When you’re a creative even a mistake is something good.  One mistake and what you began with can result in something pretty spectacular in the end.

But, yes, if I think real hard I guess I have made a few mistakes but by far the biggest would have to be not having faith in my skills and talents and knowing that what I produced was brilliant and admired. 

So for any fledgling creatives out there,   just do it!  Give it a go!  Nothing ventured.  Nothing gained!

What, to you is success? Have you achieved it yet, or are you on your way towards success?

Success for me is being able to be creative ALL of the time.  I don’t necessarily measure it in financial terms (although some extra cash wouldn’t go astray), but in my ability to spend time creating and learning.

Currently I’m spending more time designing covers than actual binding so I don’t have a lot for sale at the moment (must fix that) but it means what I have created, is very unique, not the same old stuff you’ve seen before.  And I’m truly, wonderfully enjoying myself.  That to me is success.

So what's next?

Next?   Gee.  I guess it’s to learn more skills and techniques to enhance my binding skills.  Take some chances and design something a little crazy perhaps.  Hit my blog a little more consistently, populate my shop and show some strength in promoting myself.
Feel free to pop into my store for a looky see.
Or Visit my blog for my latest ventures into the creative world of bookbinding.
Better me:

Thursday, 7 June 2012

When I first started creating books I had no idea where it was going to take me.  Did I want to sell my books?  Were they even good enough to sell?  Was I going to keep them for myself and perhaps family/friends?  Is this just a hobby or am I going to take this more seriously and make a real go of it?

Well, basically I got to a point were I had so many books that I needed to do something with them and I did have some pride in my creations and I didn't want to just throw them away.  But, that's exactly what I started to do;  I gave them away.  I gave them as birthday presents, Christmas gifts or just 'thanks for being around' gifts. And amazingly (or to my amazement), people loved them.  I was encouraged to get online and start selling, if for no other reason than to empty my storage boxes of books and feed  my ever increasing expensive habit/hobby.

Ive been selling on for almost 12 months now and while I haven't sold a huge number of books, I have certainly gained a lot of confidence from friends, family and total strangers who tell me how clever I am.

This is the very first leather bound journal I created with my Instructor Phil at Melbourne School of Bookbinding

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be challenging myself to take my book designs a little further and create something with a real uniqueness.  I guess we have to challenge ourselves and push the boundaries a little at times.

So stayed tuned..... Pics coming soon.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Hi there and welcome to Little Bird Bindery

Finally, Ive found time to write a snippet and get my blog moving, although I still haven't decided which photo sharing platform to use so I can display all my books....but I'll get to that.

I started bookbinding about 3 years ago and haven't stopped since. My instructor, Phil Ridgeway from Ortbindery taught me much in so little time.

So I hope you enjoy my books and if you feel the need to own one for yourself, then feel free to browse at my shop - Little Bird Bindery at