Why do I make books?

Coptic binding - handmade journalsI had the most interesting conversation recently.

I was talking about my focus on making blank books and how I struggle with creating one-of-a-kind pieces with content. As a result, I sometimes feel pessimistic about my work.

The response I received was rather wonderful.

She told me that creativity is, in itself, optimistic. It’s my optimism that creates the book. Creating and selling blank books is counting on the customer’s optimism in filling up the pages.

Filling in a blank page = creativity = optimism.

You’d think that the art therapist in me would have caught on to this sooner.

I am looking at my work in a whole new light today.

8 Responses to “Why do I make books?”

By dinahmow - 18 October 2011 Reply

Yes, sometimes we’re blinded by the blindingly obvious! 😉

By Elissa - 19 October 2011 Reply

Diane –

Yep. It was definitely a “duh” moment.


By Ellen - 19 October 2011 Reply

So true. My personal version is I like to think of new paper–or a new blank sketchbook–as hope and possibility. Perhaps I’m a more optimistic person than I’d care to admit! I like the idea of creating something (the blank books) that allows other people in turn to create.

By Elissa - 19 October 2011 Reply

Ellen –

I hate to think of myself as a pessimist, but I can’t help feeling like a non-optimist. But I can’t argue that one must be hopeful in creating something intended for others to use.

Am I the only one who sees the stigma attached to creating blank books? We need to work on getting rid of it!


By velma - 19 October 2011 Reply

and think you are facilitating another person’s creativity. making fine blank books is a boon for that other person.
i often think the we get in our own way too much, sorta like the forest and the trees.

By Elissa - 19 October 2011 Reply

Velma –

I am sooo in my own way! (working on it)


By Adrienne - 8 November 2011 Reply

I have exactly the same struggles with seeing my blank books as being creative in and of themselves… since I am not filling them up with content! But I recently gave one of my friends a blank journal for his birthday, and he said it couldn’t have come at a better time because his current journal was almost full. I couldn’t stop smiling knowing that he would be filling my book with his amazing creative drawings and thoughts. Thanks for this. 🙂

By Elissa - 10 November 2011 Reply

Adrienne –

I’m currently working on a custom order for a friend of mine and it thrills me to know exactly what she’s using it for – and that it will be used!

I think I might start asking customers to send me photos of their books in use – it would be really motivating!


So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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