The art of making books

Experimental artists' books inspired by nature

Bookbinding; bookmaking' the art of making books
Faculty: Éilís Murphy
Dates: 19th – 23rd August 2024

The aim of this course is to explore the potential of artists’ books: experimenting with sculptural book structures that use printed matter from nature as a starting point to create vibrant and textural printed artworks.

We will start by creating an array of 2D surface prints using monoprinting and simple relief printing techniques. Participants will explore composition, layering and colour using both low-tech and professional equipment to enable you to continue printing at home.

Using these prints, we will create 3D artists’ books developing a repertoire of book structures. We will consider elements such as sequencing, tactility, visual narratives, scale, negative space and interplay between form and content.

For the rest of the week, participants will focus on developing their own projects – as well as some collaborative pieces. The morning sessions will focus on developing bookbinding skills and techniques with a series of demonstrations and discussions. Afternoons will be more self-directed with one-to-one tutorials with Éilís.

This course will help to demystify the bookmaking process enabling you to create one-of-a-kind artists’ books.


Tutor bio
Éilís Murphy is a visual artists and bookbinder living in Corofin, Co Clare. She loves to combine materials and processes in an unconventional way, so when she studied at the National College of Art and Design she was drawn to printmaking as it was the perfect union of creativity and mechanics.

In 2003 an American bookbinder came to the college and gave a module in bookbinding. She was hooked and applied for an internship that summer at the prestigious Center for Book Arts in New York and spent three months as an apprentice to Roni Gross. She has been binding books ever since and has trained with the Society of Bookbinders (UK), Frauke Schroeder (Berlin), West Dean College (UK).

The beauty of bookbinding for Éilís is that she can use traditional techniques that remain unchanged for centuries, while combining them with a contemporary design and her own artistic innovation. She is a member of the Society of Bookbinders (UK), the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, the Graphic Studio Dublin and Visual Artists’ Ireland.