Sollas Bookbinding is a small artisan book binding studio in the Outer Hebrides.
The first time I saw a bindery from the inside was during my time I Berlin in the early 90s. I kept going past a mall bookbinding workshop and eventually asked whether I could do a summer placement. I ended up spending all my summers there during my years of studying languages in Edinburgh (I am a translator as well) learning some of the basics of the craft. But most of my skills I have learned from Sylvia Juhl, a master book binder from Salzwedel in Germany, with whom I have spent many hours in her workshop since then. I have also been very lucky to receive mentoring from the renowned London-based designer binder Tracey Rowledge. In 2004 I established my own workshop in Sollas, North Uist, in the Outer Hebrides.
The joy of bookbinding is the wide variety of work that fills every day in the studio:
- Books and boxes made to order and for sale
- One-to-one or group workshop tuition in different bookbinding and box making techniques
- Repair and rebinding of old and new books
- Bespoke commissions of books, boxes or presentation portfolios
- Elegant menu folders for restaurants, hotels and cafes
- Book kits with everything in them to make a book yourself
- Bespoke kids doodle books
I love living and working in Sollas and the patterns and colours of my surroundings here find their way into my work. And so does the way of life itself. As one of the islands of the Outer Hebrides, North Uist has many visitors during the summer months and a number of them love to explore their creativity during their stay. This gives me the chance to offer workshops to both adults and children which have become an integral part to the work I do as a bookbinder. Feel free to email me to arrange for group workshops or individual one-to-one tuition.
My books and boxes are made employing traditional bookbinding techniques which I love adhering to closely. I do however also want to give my work its very own style and feel. This I achieve through hand crafting the decorative paper I use to cover the objects I make. It is effectively a paper batik. Many layers of ink, dyes and wax ensure a rich and deep texture which at times is evocative of sea, sand and rock patterns and at other times a mere aesthetic expression. The wax is ironed out at the end of the process leaving the paper with a very tactile quality to it. This makes my books and boxes attractive and sturdy at the same time.
The use of quality cartridge paper for the book blocks makes the books ideal for sketching, taking notes or keeping thoughts.
The boxes make beautiful homes to jewellery, photographs, artist’s tools, letters and all kind of other treasures.
Each item is individually hand-crafted, making it an ideal ‘special’ gift. I am also very happy to make both books and boxes to order.