"Inspiring Workspaces" feature of linenlaid&felt on The Etsy Blog

I am excited, honored, and humbled for linenlaid&felt to be featured on the Etsy blog as part of a new series that shows artists in their inspiring workspaces. My bookbinding studio has been part of the Etsy marketplace for five years now (my Etsyversary was earlier this month) and to be selected from among some 1.2 million active shops just amazes me.

The response from this feature has been incredible, and I've enjoyed reading all of the blog comments, receiving e-mails from college classmates and Cortona, Italy study abroad alumni, and shipping out orders to new customers. Plus, having my leather journals featured by Etsy on Instagram was an exciting and unexpected surprise as well. 

linenlaidfelt book arts studio in East Nashville

It was also fun to host visitors to my Nashville bookbinding studio. I got to talk deeply about my work with Etsy blog writer Julie Schneider, of Your Secret Admiral, and to watch Dylan Reyes photograph what he observed in my studio.

I’ve been a devoted reader of the Etsy blog for years, and it has undoubtedly contributed to the evolution of my book business. I’d also had my eye on the inspiring workspaces blog features, which have also included food illustrator Lucile’s Kitchen, cut paper artist Swallowfieldand creature designer Hine.

As for the feature itself, it shines a light on how I work in what is now my fourth home studio. That’s being a little generous — my “first” workspace was barely a studio. I had a corner carved out of an attic/bedroom and ended up doing most of my work at the kitchen table.

I shared on my blog a few months ago just how far I’ve come. My studio is much improved, with better lighting and equipment, including my beloved flat file and heavy-duty paper cutter, plus standing West Elm work table and daylight lamp. Out the window, I watch my flower bed bloom (although not in January).

I hope you’ll check out the Etsy blog feature and follow up with more writing by Julie and photography by Dylan, including on Instagram.

linenlaid&felt bookbinding studio in East Nashville

Live TV bookbinding demo in Nashville

Katie Gonzalez linenlaid&felt bookbinding demonstration on Talk of the Town.

Four minutes to explain bookbinding — that was my exciting challenge today during a live TV taping of "Talk of the Town" on Nashville's News Channel 5.

You can see the full segment — my first experience like this — on the Talk of the Town website.

I got this opportunity because of my upcoming book arts workshop at Watkins College, through their Community Education department. The show's host, Meryll Rose, invited me on to demonstrate one of three miniature book ornaments that I'll be teaching on Nov. 15 (details here). It's a class I love to teach, and this season I've created a more in-depth workshop that should be better than ever.

Of course, for the show, I was doing a dramatically abbreviated explanation. I got ready in a way quite different from a normal class. Similar to a cooking show, I had to prepare my bookbinding "ingredients" to show each step. This means I had a lot of partially completed books on hand — some folded pages, other pieces of book board partially covered with decorative paper, and a few loose ribbons.

I was calm before going on the air, but I'll admit the last minute before we went live passed quickly, as did the four minutes on air. After the whirlwind experience, I had to wait a few hours to see the clip online, catching up to what everyone else in the city had seen earlier in the day.  It was cool to see my little handmade books featured under the bright lights, with multiple cameras zooming in and out.

My morning at the TV studio gave me a neat behind-the-scenes view. And while I liked getting a taste of local showbiz, I'll probably stick with talking to students about bookbinding instead of into the camera.

Mini movie about my bookbinding

linenlaid&felt: A Story about Bookbinding by Brent Nelson.

I'm excited to share this profile video shot last year in my bookbinding studio. Local film student Brent Nelson, who is now at the Art Institute of Seattle, sought me out as part of a series featuring local artists and musicians.

Although I'm now in my new studio, this provides a window into my work space and captures some of my thoughts about bookbinding. The soundtrack is "Easy Lemon," by Kevin MacLeod.

Nashville magazines feature linenlaid&felt and Porter Flea Holiday Market

Porter Flea Holiday Market has finally arrived — 11 to 6 on Saturday — capping off a great wave of positive publicity in recent weeks, including a handful of features that included photos and write-ups of my handmade books.

Nashville's newest magazine, Native, got things started with a photoshoot of Porter Flea artisan items. For the photos, I brought my books to Moonbase, which is a quirky collaborative work space inside one of Nashville's coolest renovated buildings, Marathon Village, which once was an auto manufacturing plant (pre-1920s). That's also where Porter Flea will take place.

Native magazine Porter Flea

As you can see, three of my little red suede books, with vintage map pages, made it into the magazine.

It wasn't long before my books appeared in three other magazines, starting with Nashville Lifestyles, which kindly described each of my custom books as "an honest-to-goodness work of art." So kind of them.

Nashville Lifestyles book feature

Amid all of my busy preparations for Porter Flea, I have also been teaching, which caught the attention of another of Nashville's magazines, The East Nashvillian, which featured my handmade book ornament class in its December issue.

East Nashvillian photo calendar Nashville

In mid-November, The City Paper published a feature story, "A better brand of Flea," in which I helped to explain what has made Porter Flea such a unique and successful show: 

"Unlike most other craft fairs," I told the paper, "Porter Flea includes a strong showing from male artists, bringing diversity to the show with handmade wood furniture, letterpress posters, screen-printed T-shirts, and leather goods."

My husband and I have spoken often about the particular flair of the Flea, and diversity of talents is really one of its strongest attributes. I'll be excited to see some of the new participants on Saturday.

It was also a welcome surprise to see Porter Flea noticed beyond Nashville. Southern Living was "buzzing" about the event on their website and posted a link to my shop, among others.

The popularity of the show has given its organizers a chance to put the spotlight on local artists. It's been great to be a part of the positive energy. We've got great momentum, at just the right time.