There’s more than meets the eye in every Paper-Oh notebook. Get insider details on our design decisions and inspirations here.
How did you get into the paper arts and, more specifically, book design/ bookbinding?
At the age of six I started folding Origami. I don’t even remember when my passion for scissors began. In my family we always did a lot of handicrafts and DIY. When I was in seventh grade, one of my teachers started a bookbinding workshop, so I spent many spare hours and afternoons in that little workshop until I graduated from high school.
When, or how, did you know you wanted to make this your full-time profession?
After two internships with bookbinders in Hamburg and Philadelphia, I was about to decide against turning my hobby into a profession, and instead to take Photo Design at art school. However, I ended up learning a trade, and today I am so happy that every day I can do what I like most: working with paper.
Has anyone, or anything, in particular inspired your creativity and artistic passion?
After finishing my apprenticeship, I started taking courses at the Centro del bel libro in Ascona, Switzerland. In 2010, I started working there as a teacher myself. The collaboration with other bookbinders has always enriched my work.
Are there any other paper artists you especially admire?
I find glue-free bindings especially captivating. It was great to take courses with Hedi Kyle and Cristina Balbiano d’Aramengo, and to get to know them personally at their workshops. Also, it was very inspiring to work with Matt Shlian at the Summer Academy in Penland, North Carolina.
How do you keep up with emerging trends in bookbinding and design?
I believe that my inspiration comes from the contrast between nature, a peaceful home environment and my travels.
Besides taking courses, I like to gather ideas from visiting shops, exhibitions and fairs, reading craft-related journals and books, and last but not least on the internet.
When I find interesting artists or craftspeople, I want to call them straight away and ask whether I could go and see them. However, it’s not always that easy. Luckily, part of my job at Hartley & Marks™ is to travel and get to know other cultures. For example, I was able to visit Yuko Nishimura at her workshop in Tokyo. Her folding art is a big inspiration for me.
How would you say these influences have impacted your work on Paper-Oh?
All those impressions have either a direct or an indirect influence on my work.
For instance, meeting Yuko Nishimura led to the Yuko-Ori series.
Do you have a particular style or medium you prefer to work with?
What sort of formal training have you received?
After learning the trade of bookbinding from 1997 to 2000 in Hamburg, I further developed my craft for another two years at the Academy for Design in Kassel, Germany. There I was the only bookbinder in a group of several craftspeople. We explored product design through experimentation with different types of materials. After that, I worked in New Zealand with other bookbinders and learned new techniques.
For someone looking to get into bookbinding, what tools would you say are absolute necessities?
Cutter, ruler, folder, awl and brush; a press and a board cutter also come in handy.
Any advice you would like to share with aspiring artists?