Friday, 28 May 2010

Blog Interview: Pauline Paulette

Welcome back to a new interview this week! Today you are going to learn more about a relatively new member: Paola from
Pauline Paulette. She joined our team less than half a year ago.

Hi Paola, nice to meet you! Where do you work and live?
I live in Torino, (Turin in English) in Piedmont in Northern-West Italy. It's the city that hosted XX Olympic Winter Games in 2006. There’s more than FIAT, Cinquecento and Juventus FC here; some people say it’s a gray city, but I can assure you there’s a lot more than that…

How and when did crafting and bookmaking come into your life?
I grew up with bookbinding, I remember starting to play with marbling at 6, and using cardboard, glue and decorated paper to make a doll’s house at 7. I started hanging around in my father’s bookbindery as soon as I learned how to walk, and I enjoyed creating with paper from the beginning.
At the age of 15 I said to my father: “Dad, I want be a bookbinder like you” and he answered: “well, if you’ll be of the same opinion in 5 years we will be able to talk about it”.

So, after high school, I started my training in bookbinding and book conservation in a very personal way. I am bench trained by my father, working in the bookbindery with him, and doing anything that was necessary. We work also as book conservators. In our bookbindery we are 12, and it’s like family for us. I also am a part-time Student at University studying biblioteconomy, library science and conservation.
Moreover I took classes of bookbinding and book conservation at the Centro del Bel Libro in Ascona, Switzerland. I’m honored to say I was Edwin Heim’s student, I learnt so much from him and from all the guest teachers of the Centro (one of them was Alain Taral, “the book ebanist”).

Sounds like you are a really lucky person, learning from your own father, and knowing your way so early!
You’re right, I’m lucky, but that isn’t a bed of roses: I’ve chosen to grab this chance and I worked hard to achieve results. I’m still working hard every day to maintain high quality work and results, learning every time something new to be able, someday, to take my father’s place and “lead” the bookbindery. It means that my job will be a continuous positive challenge, but that’s another part that I enjoy about a creative and hand-crafted job.

Tell us a little more about your shop: What exactly do you make and sell? My shop is quite new (I joined Etsy on august 2009, but I set up the shop only on February 2010) and for the moment there are journals in different sizes and styles, and some leporello photo album.
I’m planning to list some other notebook and exercise books and new types of photo albums and Leporello books, always according to Pauline Paulette philosophy, which is to create with unusual bookbinding material (such as felt, that I used for many journals) or usual material in a unusual way, without sacrificing functionality nor quality. That is also my main challenge, cause unusual material sometimes involves technical variations as well as new tricks to find.

What do you think is the best book you ever made? Is there such a thing?
In 2007 I went to France with my father, who was invited at the VIII biennale mondiale de la reliure d’art to receive one of the prices. When I heard that next edition theme was Mother Goose tales written by Charles Perrault, I decided to enter the competition. My personal challenge was to finish the book, to prove myself that I was able to make a “dignified” fine binding. The project took 3 months, and the binding process was 5 full days long, starting from the sewing (only the on-lay work took 8 hours to prepare the material and cut the pieces and 3 hours to settle). I was very satisfied with the work, it was the best I could do and I was feeling it was quite good. I’ve had won the challenge with myself, three months later I discovered that it wasn’t the only thing I won with that binding…
It was amazing to receive the “gourmand de la reliure” prize for 2009 competition, at 21, it’s still one of my best memories

Do you have special plans for your crafting and your shop for the future?
I want to improve my skills and learn a little bit how to use different materials, maybe combining other craft techniques with bookbinding. I’m quite attracted by printing techniques, polymer clay, wood and metal wire… Who knows? Maybe I will find a way to use all this in my personal bookbinding style…

All the best to you and your new shop then!

And if you want to learn more about Paola, check out her blog at, where you can find a lot of links to other sites on Facebook, DeviantArt profile, Tumblr, Indiepublic… and so on. You might also want to take a look at her portfolio at or go directly to her shop on Etsy.
Edit: Here are a few more photos of the workshop that came in late:


Lizzie said...

Paula has a lovely job! I am a little envious and also full of admiration for her obvious skill and talent. The bindery is a beautiful place - I would love to work somewhere like that!
I'm not surprised that the Mother Goose binding project won a prize - it is amazing!

roobee said...

I have to agree with Lizzie, what a wonderful place and environment to work in, it's just what I would love to do!

Good luck to you!

Mairi said...

I know her creations on Etsy, so beautiful. Yep, a wonderful place to work :D

ValeriAtelier said...

I know Paola..she is a great artist!

Rhonda Miller said...

Gorgeous work. Paola, you are living the dream life, in my opinion. To have started with bookbinding so young and to work with your father as you do - so wonderful!

creativitity channel said...

Paola is very talented !!

celestefrittata said...

Paola, I love your work and your story is so inspiring! :-)

Rita alias alatvian said...

Great interview!
Many thanks to both of you for sharing!