I’m Hannah Brown, a bookbinder working from my home studio in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, where I’ve lived since 2017. I am a recently elected Fellow of Designer Bookbinders, specialising in fine bookbinding and other bespoke commissioned works, using a variety of materials and objects to create unique, hand-crafted pieces from scratch.

I studied Three-Dimensional Craft at Brighton University, taking bookbinding evening classes at the same time. When I graduated, I transferred to classes at The Institute in London.

After winning first prize and the Mansfield Medal in the 2008 Designer Bookbinders Competition, I was elected as a Licentiate member in 2009. I have since won the competition twice more (in 2011 and 2013) and have also won two distinguished winner awards in the Designer Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition (in 2013, 2017 and 2022).

I favour materials and techniques traditionally used in bookbinding, such as leather, paper, gold leaf and gold tooling. With my crafts background, I am also keen to incorporate alternative skills into my work, including metalwork, textiles, printmaking and woodwork. I like playing with colours and textures to create depth on my covers and use a lot of embroidery in my binding work.

I want my bindings to be appreciated for their relation to the content of the pages inside, whilst simultaneously creating a tactile object to be handled and used. I am continually stimulated by the environment around me and find myself always thinking ahead to the next binding!

You can hear me talk about some of my work on iBookbinding’s podcast, Bookish Talk, filmed on the 12th May 2021.

In the first part of this talk, we discussed Hannah’s architectural binding. But that wasn’t all. We lingered a bit more to talk about Hannah’s books in public collections, apprenticeships, and new workshop space that will allow Hannah to run more teaching programs at her studio.