Sewn Book Art

Man, everybody loves Brian Dettmer, including me.  So I won’t talk about him even though I looked at plenty of his work. Like most people have already said, I’m new to this book art world. I was as surprised as Michelle to find out how large of a world it actually is. People are seriously into this. And seriously good at what they do. I also found a lot more female book artists than men. Did anybody else feel that way? Here are two women who are both using thread and needle to create very different works.

Catherine Hicks, who is “formerly a house painter, bounty hunter, and au pair,” has a series of fully hand-sewn books called “Compositions.”

Common Threads Volume 1.cover



The pieces look like the cheap composition notebooks that I had to use for spelling words in elementary school. She sewed all of that. What I really like here is that the content is of equal importance to the craft. She changed the packaging, but this is still a pretty traditional book. Seriously though, look at those sewing skills.

Then there’s Carole P. Kunstadt. She’s a two-dimensional artist who has studied in Munich, Germany and has a strong interest in tapestry design and weaving. This interest in evident in her “Sacred Poems” series, which repurposes a book of Psalms from 1844.

Sacred Poem8


Sacred Poem15


Sacred Poem18


Carole is obviously less concerned with preserving the book’s structure than Catherine is. But I don’t think it would be totally fair to say that means there’s no story here. I don’t think Carole’s work is necessarily the most creative I’ve seen in my small research into the book arts, but she’s certainly challenging the traditional way that books usually speak to me. There’s something about this series that I really like. While it can’t be read, I would still say this is a book. I’m more interested in pursuing the kind of work Catherine Hicks does, but I’m not totally against giving something more sculptural a chance.

To see more of their pieces go here:

Catherine Hicks:,%20Athens,%20TX.php

Carole P. Kunstadt:

Over and out.


1 comment
  1. meredithpurvis said:

    I love these two artists you found! There work is so detailed and beautiful. I think Candace Hicks’ sewn composition notebooks are especially interesting because instead of using old books to make art, she creates new books as art out of unique materials, and they are deeply personal, even confessional. I actually got the chance last weekend to see her exhibit at the Center for Book Arts. I took some photos, so I’ll try to remember to share those in class. It was so amazing to get to look at those books up close and touch them/turn the pages.

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