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About Paper Dolly

It all began with paper, scissors and glue…

Strings of paper dollies were the first things my little hands learned to make that involved folding and cutting. When I’d successfully made one, I was completely hooked and Bookbinding was a similar story.

I first learned bookbinding while studying illustration, as a means of presenting my children’s stories to potential publishers. I discovered that books were not just guardians of their content but could be beautiful objects in themselves. I quickly fell in love with the craft of bookbinding; its quiet cathartic practice, its alliance with illustration and its long and rich history.

While at University, other Artists, Print-makers, Designers, Photographers and Illustrators sought me out to bind their work into books, editions or portfolios. I was also called upon to teach bookbinding to students and staff, and so, just over ten year ago, Paper Dolly began.

Books will always be with us. Digital storage formats change so rapidly, and while you can no longer access the last decade’s floppy disks, you can still read The Book of Kells. The timelessness of books excites me. I really enjoy mixing up the past and present; combining contemporary design and illustration with this most ancient of crafts.

As an Illustrator & Artist, seductive blanks books have always been part of my creative world. Bookbinding satisfies my eye for perfection, my love of paper and my addiction to beautiful stationary.

Quality Books – Hand Bound With Love…

Everything I sell, begins life as raw ingredients; paper, card, cloth, cord, thread, leather, beeswax and glue. Add to these a craft that is more than a thousand years old, my eye for perfection, a dash of passion and the results are delicious, quality, 100% hand crafted books, boxes and portfolios. Of course, it’s not quite that simple…Take one of my Classic or Traditional Journals, for example.

There are many stages to making each Paper Dolly product and it all begins with selecting the right materials. Where possible I source my materials from within the UK. Everything I use is chosen principally for quality.

Every page is individually folded, creased and pierced. They are stitched together to linen tapes or hemp cords (in the very same way they have been for hundreds of years). The ‘book-block’ is shaped and rounded by hand and hammer. A mull, ribbon bookmark, decorative headbands and a spine lining of kraft paper are all stitched or glued on at this stage – most of this work will be secretly concealed within the cover of the finished book. Next, the end-papers are attached and the pages are ready for their cover.

The cover is made to measure, using durable boards, fine leather or cloth and sidings of decorative printed or hand-marbled paper. The book-block is then ‘cased-in’ as the pages are glued in to their cover. With waxed paper protecting the pages, the (almost) finished book is placed in the press to dry.

Finally, after a few days, any leather is dressed and the cover papers are hand waxed and buffed. Your book is then attractively packaged and authenticated as 100% hand made in England and signed by me, Mandy and sent to you… with a little bit of love.