I started working as a printer for Kristin in 2012 and began working in the studio as her business grew. While I had some experience bookbinding before, I had never worked in such a focused environment where so much attention is paid to detail and the quality of the finished product. I learned most of my technique from Kristin, and I really appreciated her emphasis on efficiency of both time and materials.
How Did You Get Into Bookbinding?
I began bookbinding in college as a compliment to printmaking, which I was studying. At the time I was being introduced to the medium, I attended a exhibition of Jacob Samuel’s print portfolios. His stunning collaborations with some of my favorite artists gave me a framework for what I wanted to do.
Snapshot: What is an average day at work like for you?
While everyday includes different tasks I am most often at work cutting fabric and board, assembling boxes and glueing portfolios. I also screen print custom designs on book covers.
Favorite tools and materials:
That’s a tie between an Olfa cutter (the best small knife with breakaway blades) and the studio Kutrimmer (Kristin’s big paper and board cutter). Both are extremely sharp and effective!
Favorite type of project to work on at KDBooks?
Since I began bookbinding to expand my printmaking practice, I really enjoy when we get to create custom boxes for print portfolios. We did an amazing project with MOLAA last year that pushed our size boundaries to the limit creating a clamshell box for 22×30″ prints. Sometimes we only get to see these portfolios empty, in the studio before they are shipped off. But since we were working with a local museum and print studio, I got to see the finished project complete with prints.
Most challenging projects?
…are the best ones. I love complicated projects that require a lot of planning and forethought. The time really flies when you have to measure carefully and think every step through.
Favorite thing to listen to in the studio?
Democracy Now!, Ralph Nader Radio Hour, Rising Up with Sonali, the Aware Show with Lisa Garr… KPFK to be concise.
Other work/ jobs you care to talk about?
Outside of KDBooks I run the Collective Print Studio here in Long Beach. We provide fully equipped studio space to printmakers, offer community classes, and host print exhibitions.
I am an avid cook, cyclist, and yogi, though if you were to spend a few hours in the studio with us you would probably only know about the first one. We love to talk about food around here!
Ways your bookmaking skills translate in daily life?
Surprisingly, I am really excellent at building gingerbread houses now. I wouldn’t have guessed it but it requires basically the same skill set: patience and a light hand.
What I love most about this job:
I appreciate most the opportunity to be able to learn and practice this challenging medium. The only way to become truly proficient at this technique is to do it over and over.
Next Up: Kristin Dunn