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Featured Shop: Jackdaw Bindery

May 30, 2014

by Louise Knight-Richardson

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Hi! I’m Louise Knight-Richardson, a twenty-something creative and bookbinder from a little city called Chichester on the south coast of England. I’m passionate about many different art forms – especially dressmaking and photography – but so far, nothing has captured my heart and attention more than bookbinding. My shop is called Jackdaw Bindery.

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During my late teens, I suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and became a bit of a recluse. As a consequence, I withdrew my application to study fashion at university and turned to art as therapy. Having the ability to express my feelings of anxiety and frustration through mediums like paint, photography and fabric really helped me pull through and rebuild my life. When I finished college, I was still struggling with the outside world, so I opened my first Etsy shop selling textile goods, prints and jewelry.

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Bookbinding came shortly after – I actually discovered it somewhat by accident while experimenting with different materials. Using reclaimed leather from my grandmother’s old sofa and pages made from an outdated atlas, I stitched one to the other and that was it: I was hooked! I spent months learning about binding and perfecting my techniques until I finally listed a few books in my Etsy shop to see what happened. The books turned out to be so popular that I decided to phase out my other products and focus solely on bookbinding.

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I draw inspiration from anything and everything: exploring woodlands with my camera; finding old ruins; the ocean; antique shops; music; home; and even sleep. Above all, my customers are my biggest inspiration. I love helping them bring a specific idea to life through custom orders. Custom orders keep me on my toes and learning all the time, which is incredibly rewarding.

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I believe there is a book for everyone, and I want to make them all. I’ve made journals with hand-embroidered monograms, tiny text on the inside, rainbow pages, sketchbook pages – even music staff pages. Etsy has played a massive part in my journey to success, providing the fertile land I’ve needed to grow into the person that I am today. The community spirit from sellers and buyers is wonderful, and I’m grateful to be part of the thriving handmade movement. Follow along with my adventures on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Photos by Natalie Miller and Jackdaw Bindery.

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