December Greetings!

I love looking at the holiday lights this time of year.  I am so grateful to those folks who take the time and effort to put up lighted displays, whether small or large.  As someone who eagerly anticipates the lengthening of days come the solstice, I greatly appreciate all the extra and colorful light.  What’s your favorite thing at this time of year?  

In the past month I have been working on a number of custom binding projects and repairs.  Folks seem to be finding me in various ways- my website, word-of-mouth, and most recently, advertising signs on my car.  I do enjoy creating or returning functionality to something that gives pleasure for years to come.  And I have some new equipment in the studio to help me work more efficiently.  Read on and learn more of my activities this fall…  


                   Cardinal              Dragonfly

In last month’s newsletter I promised more pictures of the marquetry-cover books that Jane Burke and I have collaborated on.  I am especially pleased with these last two. We will be teaching folks how to make these in December of 2019 at the John Campbell Folk School.  I expect this class to fill rapidly.

Much closer in time, I am offering an evening of “Playing with Paper” on Friday, Dec. 14 from 6 – 8:30 pm at my studio on Trade St.  We will create small books that can serve as tree ornaments or small gifts and other holiday decorative items.  The $35 fee includes all materials for 3 or 4 projects, instructions, light refreshments, and – best of all! – a creative and fun-filled way to spend an evening. Send me an email or call 336-608-8612 to reserve your spot.

I will be displaying my wares at “A Handcrafted Holiday” at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem this weekend, Dec. 8 & 9.  Stop in and say hello!

Please do look at the end of this newsletter to find a list of all my upcoming activities.  I hope you’ll find the right time and place to join me.    

crawford sbb linked


                           crawford sbb spine view                               crawford sbb front

Here are two testimonials I have received recently –

Rebekah F mailed a book needing repair after meeting me at the Mt. Mitchell Craft Fair.  I repaired it and sent it back:  “I received my book and it looks great!  Thank you so much for taking care of this for me.”

Robert commented on his custom-bound journal (shown above), delivered to Massachusetts:  “It’s gorgeous and I couldn’t believe the lack of heft when the UPS driver handed it to me. At 600 pages, it’s 40 fewer than the first journal you’d made me. I can’t get over how light and portable it is, which I guess is attributable to the lighter Japanese kozo paper (which is quite expensive but so worth it if you’re a connoisseur of fine paper.).”


sermons 4


              Sermons 3                           Sermons 2


              Sermons 1                        Process 1

From loose sheets of paper to finished books…  I have created 11 matching volumes of sermons that a beloved grandfather delivered between 1940 and 1974.  My customer seemed quite delighted with the end result!
I am pleased with my new finishing press from Affordable Binding Equipment, handmade by Jim Poelstra (shown above, middle right).  Having it definitely made the project move more efficiently.  I will be using it with several of the repairs I have coming up as well.  Jim was easy to work with and fast on delivery.  If you are in the market for bookbinding equipment, I encourage you to give his website a look.  I may need to get another press – all of mine have been in service consistently through this project!

     iceland books


While I strongly suspect the above meme from Facebook (courtesy of my sister, Barbara) is apocryphal, I do love the idea of it.  So here is my holiday gift to you, my faithful readers:  a list of 10 of my favorite books about books:

  • People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks – Parallel stories are told of the book conservator and the book on which she is working, while also providing commentary on religious tolerance.
  • The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber – A contemporary mystery told along with a historical tale of Shakespeare and his writing.
  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff – a collection of letters between a bibliophile and a bookseller; a genuine classic!
  • The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester – a true (and well-researched) story as described in the subtitle.
  • Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christie – This novel provides a good perspective on many factors influencing the first mass-produced book.
  • Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley – an entertaining romp in the world of books and bookselling in the early 20th century.
  • Howard’s End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill – This popular British author talks about the books she chose to read one year.
  • Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman – a collection of essays about true love of reading and books.
  • Penland Book of Handmade Books: Master Classes in Bookmaking Techniques, published by Lark Books – This is the book that started me on my bookbinding adventure and a new way of defining my life.
  • The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – The author and his mother read and discuss books and lessons for living after she is diagnosed with cancer.

I would be delighted if you would share some of your favorites with me!

Anne Murray
Bookbinder and Papermaker


December 2018