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Edel Hopkin

Hand made bound books

My Grandmother instilled in both my mother and me a great love of reading and traditional respect for books. With five children and little time for herself, my mother expressed her love of books and all things paper by upgrading school books with the most beautiful and perfectly made covers featuring her own wonderful personalised script.

My first experiments in combining these two great influences involved brown paper scrapbooks, Christmas cards and wallpaper paste but at 15, but somehow in ’60 west of Ireland, I discovered the wonderful papers of Venice. This was the beginning of a consuming interest in decorative papers and I still have my first bound book with words of inspiration and motivation written by my Grandmother!  I later discovered the beautiful papers of Japan and had the exciting experience of living in Asia in the 1990’s where I was able to pursue my papercraft passion.

On arriving in Cambridge in 2000 a career change led to bookbinding classes with Barry at Brignell Bookbinders, now the only traditionally run workshop remaining in the city. After learning the basics of the craft I have developed my own style, bringing together these ancient skills with contemporary crispness - mixing Coptic sewing techniques with chiyogami paper, fusing funky leather spines with traditional marbled papers and so on. Knowledge of the craft has also inspired me to design a range of themed books which meet my personal and family interests. All of these books, in some way, allow for the preservation of happy memories and fond family/friend links.

I am currently working on a commission for MageeIreland using their renowned tweed, handmade where I grew up in Donegal, to create a range of books for their new Home Accessories line.  Some of my work is on display at Cambridge Contemporary Craft and also at Brignell Bookbinders, where I now teach others this engrossing craft.

Please visit Edel's website for more information and pictures.





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