I’m just going to come right out and admit that there’s an inherent injustice in trying to explain how beautiful a printed book is through digital images. This is especially true in the case of Haein Song, whose painstakingly bound publications go one step beyond plain old riso-printing and saddle-stitching.
Haein first got involved with the bookbinding process when she began to feel that the making process was missing from her practice. “I was originally trained as a graphic designer in South Korea then came to London to complete my MA in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins,” she explains. “Throughout this period my interest in craft married with language – hence written words and books – leading me to the world of bookbinding and artists’ books.
“I use traditional bookbinding techniques, i.e. paring and covering in leather or vellum, headbanding in silk, onlays and inlays, hand tooling as well as printing techniques for unique endpapers for each book. Sometimes I choose books I love reading (which means I take apart existing books and give them new covers) and other times I create the contents using various craft techniques, i.e. letterpress printing and hole punching.”
Between working on her own projects and creating handmade limited edition books and boxes for artists, designers, galleries and museums with Book Works Studio, Haein has plenty of time to revel in the process of making. When I asked her to tell us about her favourite book she replied: “it was very hard to pick one as I feel like they are like my children!”
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