Interview with Book Artist Lee Steiner of Domestic Papers

18 Sep

What made you decide to participate in 2012 Zine Fest Houston?

I’ve visited Zine Fest Houston in previous years and this year, I’m thrilled to add my own twist to the mix.  I’m a Book Artist, meaning I’m a bookbinder, a hand papermaker, collector, teacher, designer, re-purposer, writer, and generally love anything/everything involving paper and the printed word.

What will be on your table at this year’s Zine Fest?

I’m creating interactive book formats for ziners who want a prompt they can grab and run with—bound sketchbooks featuring vintage pages from 1920’s encyclopedias with panels left blank for the artist’s own creations.  Other zine book formats of mine will contain mysterious old black and white photos with space to write your own captions or a short story. I’ve also got some cool graffiti sequences I photographed in Europe that need a narrative to tell their tale.  Kind of like ‘Mad Libs’ for the madly imaginative.

I’ve combined my love of vintage ephemera, ancient bookbinding techniques, and modern non-sensibilities to create unique blank books and zines that are beautiful, touchable, and adaptable to your own creative needs.

Why does self-publishing appeal to you?

I love the idea that we can take our one-of-a-kind ideas to an Epson printer and, behold, we can multiply them for the masses!  I’ll have a few of my very limited edition books on hand, too. I love old library book discards. I get a kick out of rescuing the often lovely illustrations inside and re-interpreting them to fit my own storytelling needs.  Sometimes the book’s cover is just too good to lose so I’ll rebind it into a blank book. And sometimes the whole book inspires a whole new venture.  I’m a big believer in re-inventing oneself and that philosophy is carried out in my handmade books as well.

What is your favorite part of Zine Fests?

Being with other people who “get” what you are doing! We can skip the long explanations and get right to that collaborative spirit that inspires us to share our creations with others.

What other creative ventures do you have besides making zines?

I teach bookbinding at the Museum of Printing History, The Papershell Garden Gallery, and for special events such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Summer Camp.  I enjoy making everyday objects into books and making books into everyday objects! Check out my website to see my recent custom and “rebound” book projects, then please click on a link to visit my Domestic Papers etsy.com shop with my very newest books.

 

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