Friday, 8 January 2010

Blog Interview: Boom Box Bindery

Hello, on this sunny winter day! I am pleased to introduce you today to Monica. Her nearly year old Etsy shop is called BoomBoxBindery. Online, you can find her at and in the real world you can look her up in Orlando, Florida.

Hi, Monica! Tell us, how did crafting and bookmaking come into your life?
I have memories of pre-school craft projects that made a fond and lasting impression on me, so I think I’ve always enjoyed all things art and working with my hands. However, bookbinding didn’t come into play until college, when a friend was taking a bookmaking course. I couldn’t get over how wonderful it was, and ended up turning all of my graphic design projects into books!

What part of the process of making a book do you like best?
My favorite part of making books is when I get to covering. Whether it be paper, cloth, or leather, it means that I’m nearing the final product but there is still time left to enjoy the process!

What do you do when you don't make books. Do you have a day job different from your job as an Etsy seller?
Bookbinding is my day job! I focus primarily on custom books and boxes, as well as book repair. I got a taste of bookbinding under the instruction of Ana Galindo at SCAD in Savannah, GA, but my training in traditional binding and repair is from North Bennet Street School in Boston, MA. My instructors were Mark Andersson (now of Panther Peak Bindery) and Jeff Altepeter.

While bookbinding is my main focus during the day, I’ve started a fun hobby this past year. I’ve been spending my evenings making quilts! Books & boxes are still my favorite things to make, but I’m having so much fun with all of this fabric, I don’t foresee stopping!

And how does working self employed work out for you? Do you miss aspects of working for a bigger company or in an outside office?
I love working from home, and the process of building my business. Days can tend to be pretty solitary at times, which is why I love being a member of BEST. It’s great to have community to correspond with online. Along the same vein, it’s nice to get out and spend some time with people who are in the same boat. I was lucky to find and join a community here in Central Florida that fits the bill! It’s called “It’s Better Together”, and is a group of young entrepreneurs who are doing all sorts of wonderful and creative things!

Tell us a little more about your shop and your boooks: What do you make and sell?
I work from home where our cat, Ollie, keeps me company. He likes to "help" me, especially when I'm sewing books! My husband helps me think of new ideas, and is great moral support!
I like to make all sorts of books, but I usually make rounded or flat back case-bound books. Lately I’ve also been making quite a few clamshell boxes.
Part of the reason I was drawn to bookbinding is because of all of the wonderful materials we get to use! From Japanese Washi to simple rolls of wrapping paper, sometimes I get caught drooling over paper! I also get giddy about fabric. I mostly use Asahi bookcloth, but I also enjoy making bookcloth from sweet cotton prints.

You mentioned that you are also quilting. Do you have any ideas or even plans for combining it with bookbinding? Can we look forward to quilted books?

I would love to combine the two! Haven’t quite figured out the best way to do it but, one thought that crossed my mind was to make a quilt that had a pouch to hold a book. It could either hold your latest library book, or a blank journal and pen, so you’d be able to snuggle up and read or write! When you’re finished all you have to do is fold up the blanket and it’ll be ready for the next time you’re ready to cozy up with your book! I think I'll have to do some experimenting with quilted books now that you've planted the seed!

Is there a special place where you get your inspiration? My husband works as an Imagineer for Disney, so we get to spend a lot of time in Disney World. I get a lot of inspiration from all of the wonderful set design, costuming, & people watching. I’m also a fan of vintage paper goods, which I collect and use in my work.

Imagineer? I have never heard this word before (please excuse a foreigner). But it sounds like a phantastic and creative job. Have you already made some joint projects with your husband?
I forget that Imagineer is not a typical job title! It is the combination of imagination and engineering coined by Walt Disney for those that would help him create and construct Disney theme parks. My husband, Josh, is an illustrator and graphic designer for the company.

Yes, we have worked on a few projects together. He has designed and screen printed some of my book covers, and we’re thinking of having his designs printed onto fabric that I’ll turn into bookcloth. It is definitely nice to have each other to share creative ideas.

Do you have special plans for your crafting and your shop for the future?
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to develop an official Boom Box product line. I really enjoy the custom work that I’ve been doing, and I’d like to pull from those projects to create something for my Etsy shop that people will really enjoy. I’m aiming for a series of books and boxes for special occasions and everyday. A longer term goal is to open a bindery/stationery shop with two friends who own a custom design and stationery design company called Orange Blossom Ink. For now that’s very much a dream, but a goal, nonetheless!

Thank you, Monica, for taking your time to talk to me. It was a pleasure learning more about you and your business!
Thanks so much for featuring Boom Box Bindery! For the rest of the month, I’d love to offer free shipping to any of our blog readers who mention this interview.


Coco said...

I love your work table!

PrairiePeasant said...

Great interview! Nice to get to know you Monica through this post!

Anonymous said...

I see by your school letter that you are a fellow varsity hockey player...nice work!

meredeth said...

ugh, why don't you stop looking so organized in that first shot. you're putting the rest of us to shame, monica! (^_^)

Monica Holtsclaw said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Yes, Anonymous :) I am a proud table hockey alumnus! For those who don't know, a Stiga table hockey game resides in the NBSS bookbinding department - where it gets much use, including a school wide tournament!

Don't worry Meredeth, there's a reason I didn't show the other side of the room ;) It's an old Hollywood trick.

Randy said...

What a great interview!!!


Samantha LeVan said...

I came across this post when googling Ana Galinda the other day. She really taught me the importance of craftsmanship and trying to achieve near-perfection during Experimental Bookmaking. My fav class at SCAD! Keep up the great work. :)