Monday, August 8, 2011

Interpretive Book Bindings: Mia Leijonstedt

Finnish-born Mia Leijonstedt is an award-winning book artist currently residing in the United Kingdorm.  From her Artist's Statement:  "The book as an object is symbolically a very rich and independent format. Its history and cultural significance provide endless scope for artistic discoveries and interpretation, not only being a container for stories but being a story in itself, its whole life and existence in time being read from its tactile details and structural function. "

I will begin with her custom book bindings, which are designed to represent objects that could be pulled from the books themselves.  These bindings are rich, multidimensional, and thematically linked to the stories they hold.  Her interpretations are reflect a deep understanding of the texts.

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
For example, the binding above for Gulliver's Travels:  "The book is illustrated by Arthur Rackham and is bound in black goat skin. Inner covers are lined with dyed reindeer parchment. Five strands of black and dyed tan leather cord are couched onto the covers. The strands extend from the fore-edge and have cast pewter beads on the ends – as though the book itself was Gulliver and the cords used to tie him down as in the story." ~Artist's Description
Sinuhe egyptiläinen by Mika Waltari
And another:  "This classic Finnish novel is inspired by the ancient Pharaohs’ Egypt. Edges are gilt with underlying edge paintings of Egyptian gods and the leather work echoes mummy-wrappings. The inner covers are lined with papyrus." ~ Artist's Description

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M. Barrie
Finally, this lovely binding of a 100-year old edition of Peter Pan is just incredible.  The appearance of the edges is the natural result of aging and was left intact.


Aside from bindings, Leijonstedt also creates book sculptures.  The one that first captured my attention, and led me to research this artist further, is this tribute to the imaginary Spells of Merlin:
Lost Spells of Merlin
 And below is a piece inspired by an ancient Tibeton monastery book:

Mandala Book
I encourage you to visit the artist's website (Mia Leijonstedt) and view these and many more images in greater detail. Leijonstedt's work is beautiful, intricate, and respectful of literary works and their authors.  You can also find links there to her blogs and to her Bookbinding Courses for Beginners (in the UK).

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