I’d like to introduce you all to Beki Young.  I only met Beki relatively recently (January) at a Wedding Fayre but have found her to be one of the loveliest, funniest and generous people I have met on my journey into the photographic world.  We get on like a house on fire – we chat, discuss, share ideas and generally have a great time while in each other’s company.

Recently I discovered that not only is Beki a talented photographer, but she is also a bookbinder and offers her clients the most wonderful opportunity to have a photograph album made especially for them.  We met a while ago and had a whole heap of fun setting up a mini styled shoot to show the lovely TMK readers what Beki gets up to.  She cuts, folds, sticks, sews, presses and covers every photo album from scratch and this is how and why she does it.  Enjoy … L x

Things to know about book binding and book binders

Hello my name is Beki and I learnt to bind books a few years ago from a very talented lady called Kathryne Rush at the Birmingham Custard Factory. I’m not sure that Kathryne felt I was a natural as she tirelessly unknotted my threads, corrected my wobbly cuts and wiped glue splatters from the ceiling.  However two years later, here I am in a lovely little studio in Stratfield Saye, Hampshire.  That is me, my piles of papers and my equipment. Book binders generally have a magpie instinct and hoarder attitude towards paper, so big draws are useful (as in chest of, not knickers!).  And for the record, book binding is different to book making and book makers – this is something to do with betting on the horses ….


Anyway, my most important asset is Krausse, my 200 year old guillotine that I rely on to do all the hard work. We are situated in an old renovated stable and we bind books together all the live long day (as well as the all-important wild flower picking sessions and online paper buying frenzies). When clients come to visit there is much tea drinking and demonstrating of how to use Krausse. Together we go through the selection of patterned vintage papers and then the clients are able to choose their favourites and customise their books with vintage ribbons, material and other items they may bring along.


Making a book by hand is the same traditional process that’s been used for hundreds of years and the craft is now sadly a dying trade with not many occupational book binders remaining or even courses to train new ones. To make a book you need paper, a scalpel, a metal ruler, thread, a needle, a bodkin for making holes, a bone folder,  the patience of a saint and finger tips made of steel.

Water, coffee, and most other drinks should be kept at a safe distance from the book you are binding (mainly if you suffer from clumsiness, like me).

Nothing is ever done quickly when binding a book and if you attempt to do something in a hurry it inevitably goes wrong and you find yourself starting again (all in all this takes far longer so the conclusion would be to always take your time when making a book).

Most people love handmade and most people love beautiful books – conclusion:  handmade books are double whammy nice.

My handmade books mostly go on to live their lives as photograph albums and memory books. There is something about flicking through pages of thick cotton fibre card, then pages of delicate tissue archive paper that make you want to keep something special and precious inside. Also knowing the book has been made from start to finish by hand and with total love and dedication ensures that it becomes a treasured possession, ideal for holding treasured memories.




[stextbox id=”tmk-box”]    You can learn more about Beki’s bookbinding service  here  [/stextbox]


Words:  Beki Young

Photographs:  BlueCloud Photography