custom bookbinding and unique papers

Happy New Year!

Whether we make actual resolutions or not, January is definitely a time to consider goals for ourselves and the possibility of changes for the better...  With this month's newsletter I wish to celebrate the third birthday of Anne's Books and Papers and also to consider some of my own goals and resolutions for the upcoming year.  Read on to learn a little of the elevated status of reading and writing, new venues for teaching book arts, old book styles revisited, and a few more tidbits.

Happy Birthday, ABP!!

It was three years ago that I registered Anne's Books and Papers as a business.  I was still working as a college professor then and began building the business while working both jobs.  Now I am a full-time bookbinder and papermaker.

Alyson Stanfield is an art business coach whose works I have followed since the inception of Anne's Books and Papers. (See She recently sent out messages reminding me to 1) take time to organize financial records, 2) take time to assess my business over the past year, and 3) set goals for the upcoming year. This past year I have exhibited my books in a variety of venues, have created and sold about 200 unique books using more than a dozen binding styles and myriad combinations of materials. I have expanded my studio space and the equipment I have available to use. My goals for the upcoming year include adding teaching venues, increasing recognition of my work, increasing professional relationships, and earning more money.

Do you read the Wall Street Journal?  If not you might have missed the news that reading and writing are gaining new favor in the world. In separate articles in December, the WSJ reported that writing with pen and paper is more effective in creating lasting impressions - far superior to text and email - and that reading books continues to be essential for gaining knowledge and broadening perspectives.  For some of us - of a certain age - neither of these tidbits may seem like earth-shattering news.  (After all, we were schooled in the 3 Rs: reading, writing, and 'rithmetic.)  But for the generations raised on computers, smart phones, and instant messaging, these ideas are critical - there is high value in reading more than headlines and in handwriting words into complete sentences.

I encourage people to write within the pages of a blank book with some regularity.  What better gift can you give than your own memories - or stories or recipes or favorite jokes - in your own writing?  Alternatively, in the season of renewal, perhaps you want to take pen to paper in your own blank book for journaling, as a way of clarifying and focusing thoughts.


                       poetry books 1                    poetry books 2

In mid-December I completed my largest commission so far: an order of 25 volumes of a poetry collection. The organizer of a poetry workshop wished to gift the participants with a hand-bound collection of representative samples from the workshop. Each book is covered with a different combination of my own hand-marbled and/or handmade papers.  The interior pages are printed on cotton rag paper. The woman who made the commission reported that she was quite pleased with the books.  I am hopeful that other writing groups will desire such a tangible product.

Also, in mid December the newsletter of Archival Products came across my desk.  What captured my attention was the picture of the antique Ethiopian prayer books - and how similar they are in style to many of my own books, a binding style I first learned from Daniel Essig in Asheville. The coptic stitch has been dated from the 4th century C.E., at a time when the written word was first being stored in codex-style books instead of scrolls.                                   

                       Ethiopian prayer books                     coptic wood spiral 12.14.03

In closing I wish to call your attention to some very special workshops I will be teaching this year.  Please see the schedule below for the complete list of exhibits and classes, while I highlight just two here:

  • At the end of April I will be teaching a workshop in rag paper making.  We will start with cotton or linen fabric (old jeans, table cloths, sheets are excellent sources as long as they contain no synthetic fibers).  We'll learn the entire process from pulping the rag using a Hollander beater, through sheet formation, to drying and maintaining the sheets.  This class will be taught at my studio in Winston-Salem at the end of April.  This is a class that is taught only once a year, so put it on your calendar now!
  • This one is not on the calendar: it is your unique opportunity!  Contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to schedule the workshop that meets your needs in terms of what, when, and where you want to learn.  I want to work with you to create the class that is just right for you and friends.

Ifyou do not receive my monthly newsletter and would like to do so, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Anne Murray
Bookbinder and Papermaker

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