Who is making the Handmade books at Bindfulness?
I’m Hope Fitzgerald. I’m a creative artist, bookbinder and the creative business owner behind Bindfulness. I make handbound books, commissioned books and run bookbinding workshops in the Market town of Faversham in Kent, one hour outside London.
I began Bookbinding in earnest at the beginning of my 50s. Before this, I had been working for many years as a lone working photographer and videographer, and sustaining my art practice intermittently. I loved the camera work but it was physical and demanding in ways that I knew would not be sustainable as I grow older. It felt like time for a change. I wanted to develop a creative practice that I could be engaged with for the rest of my life. Creativity is not to be retired!
I have every intention of carrying on making books and leading workshops – until I can’t!
So why Bookbinding? My art work had repeatedly featured books in various guises, so it’s unsurprising that I was drawn to it. I love the variety of book forms. I love the simplicity, the complexity, the puzzle of it all. I love the generosity of other binders, always ready to help with tips and ideas. I am largely self taught and used my skills as a creative maker gained over my years of art making to help me learn. I travelled to London for courses. I read books. I made mistakes, over and over, and learned from them. I have loved every second of it.
My formal education stretched over many years – learning was and is always welcome! I was awarded my Bachelor’s Degree at Skidmore College in New York, an MA in Fine Art with Distinction at University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury, and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education from Canterbury Christchurch.
On the PGCE, I learned valuable skills in teaching and learning. These were put to good use in planning and facilitating workshops for clients including the Royal Opera House, Purfleet. In one memorable year, I worked with 17 different schools! I now use this valuable experience when planning and facilitating a bookbinding workshop.
As a binder, I create the best books I can for my customers, reflecting a commitment to excellence that I have held throughout my creative career. There is immense satisfaction in working with customers to find just the right bookish solution for their needs.
As a workshop leader, I celebrate the importance of creative activities for well-being by sharing what I know with new binders. It is a true joy to provide an opportunity for learning about the wonderful, accessible, and frankly addictive craft that is bookbinding. I always learn something, too. My customers are the best. They are wonderful sources of learning. It’s a win all round!
I have lived in the wonderful Market town of Faversham on the North Kent coast for more than 25 years with my husband, Mr F.
Finally, for those of you with an interest in Book Art Projects, The Tiny Book Collaboration is a collaborative project to fill a Briefcase Library. I’d love to have you join me in filling it up! You can read more about it HERE