Nashville's first annual handmade book festival

Handmade & Bound 2011 at Watkins College in Nashville

I have only lived in Nashville for about three months, but I am already loving my new home.  One of the highlights of my time here has certainly been Handmade & Bound.  Earlier this month, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film hosted their first annual book arts and zine festival.  It is so refreshing to live in a city with such a vibrant arts community, not to mention the thriving book arts community as well. 

There were so many incredible vendors at this event, and thankfully my husband Tony was willing to man my booth throughout the day so I had a chance to explore everyone else's tables.  But I think what amazed me the most was how many people attended the festival.  The halls of Watkins College were packed throughout the day with people of all ages who came to learn more about handmade books.  The show also got some great press: check out this article from Nashville Scene and this one from The Tennessean.  

Handmade & Bound 2011 at Watkins College in Nashville

These first three photos are from The Gilded Leaf Bindery booth.  Bob Roberts specializes in restoration and fine bookbinding, and his display was quite impressive.  Even his set of tools was photo-worthy.  You can view more of Bob's work on his blog, facebook page, and etsy shop.  

The books below were made by Lesley Patterson-Marx.  She uses such interesting materials in her work, like vintage wallpaper, locally dyed fabric, old stamps and envelopes, and even harmonicas.  You can view a few more detailed photos of her work, as well as as well as quite a few other photos, in this album on my facebook page.  Lesley will also be exhibiting at Artclectic this weekend, which I am really looking forward to checking out. 

The festival also featured letterpress printing and handmade paper. Festival visitors could print their own shopping bag at the Goldsmith Press booth (left) and purchase paper made by Claudia Lee of Liberty Paper (right).  I've always loved handmade paper, but even since I started making my own paper again I've been a little obsessed.  Claudia's array of gorgeous, colorful papers were breathtaking.  I couldn't help but post even more pictures of her paper on my facebook page.  

Handmade & Bound 2011 at Watkins College in Nashville

Jennifer Knowles-McQuistion of Brown Dog Bindery demonstrated how wooden books are carved, burned, and bound.  Below she's working on a Coptic bound book with wooden covers, and she had some of her gorgeous books for sale at her booth.  Jennifer also taught a miniature pop-up book workshop during the day, which I attended.  

I also took another workshop taught by Kim Jones called Findings & Bindings, where we made a journal using a variety of found papers like maps, paper from a player piano, old encyclopedias, and junk mail envelopes.

Brown Dog Binder Jennifer McQuistion

The photos below are from my own booth.  I was displaying a variety of journals, sketchbooks, photo albums, and artists' books.  My most popular books at this show were my Italian longstitch books made with leather and suede covers.  While some of the leather I use for these books is new, a lot of it is reclaimed.  My little red suede books are made from an upcycled pair of pants, and some of the other bits of leather came from a woman in Chicago who makes handmade shoes.  I'll be binding many more leather books up in the upcoming months to prepare for my holiday art shows and to sell at some local retail shops.  

Nashville bookbinder at Handmade & Bound

I still have a few of these Handmade & Bound buttons hanging around in my studio.  They're a welcome reminder of a fantastic weekend, and I can't wait until next year's festival. 

Handmade and Bound Nashville