All Creative Crush Style

december creative crush: katie gonzalez of linenlaid&felt

The creative world is full of talent, quirky style, and artists who never cease to amaze us. There are ladies who are spot on with innovative fashion, who write beautiful melodies, and whose paintings transport us to new places. We decided that we can’t keep them all to ourselves. Each month, we’ll feature our creative crush, a lady who inspires us with her work. 
For December, we want to introduce the book binding guru behind linenlaid&felt, Katie Gonzalez!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was first introduced to the world of handmade books when I studied abroad in Cortona, Italy during college.  I took a book arts and papermaking class while I was there, and from that point on I was completely enamored with binding books.  When I left Italy and returned to the University of Georgia to finish my graphic design degree, I was always finding ways to incorporate book arts into my design work, such as designing and binding a series of books for my senior thesis project, and later binding hundreds of little books as the invitations for my wedding. I eventually decided to open an Etsy shop and start selling my handbound books.  My bindery is called linenlaid&felt (named after three different paper textures), and I make one-of-a-kind journals, sketchbooks, photo albums, guest books, baby books, and sculptural books.

2. When did you start linenlaid&felt? 
I started linenlaid&felt in early 2010, and by the summer of 2011 I had turned my passion into my full-time profession — teaching bookbinding, selling my work in local shops and galleries, and traveling to regional art shows.
3. What is your favorite thing about what you do? 
My favorite thing about what I do is that I have the chance to create meaningful, functional, and long-lasting works of art. When a book leaves my studio, its journey has just begun. I’ve folded the pages, glued and pressed the covers and stitched the binding into place. However, the book is not yet complete, because my handmade books are meant to be filled. My books have been used to hold congratulatory notes from wedding guests, to celebrate the birth of twin girls, to display the dramatic images of an international photojournalist, and to enrich the mission of a nonprofit that empowers women to change their lives. I love that my work gets to have a place in each of those stories.
4. Who or what are you most inspired by?  
I am most inspired by the textures of the materials I work with. The tactile quality of my books is very important to me, so I take a lot of care in selecting the papers, leather, and thread I use to create them.  I want my books to feel just as luxurious as they look. 
5. Favorite item from your closet? 
One of my favorite items is a handmade leather bag that I bought on Etsy a few years ago. It was a splurge, but I absolutely love it and I use it most every day. Plus it’s orange, my favorite color. 
6. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I would love to go back to Cortona, Italy at some point and show my husband around the town where I first learned to bind books. Traveling to Sweden is also pretty high on our list of things we’d like to do. And for a closer-to-home trip, I would also love to visit New Orleans. 
7. Best travel memory? 
Many of my favorite travel memories involve soaking in the world around me, with a sketchbook in hand.  When I was studying in Italy, I’d often wake up early on the weekends and hike up to the Basilica di Santa Margherita to enjoy and to sketch the views of the Tuscan countryside. More recently, my husband and I took a trip to Louisville, and our handbound sketchbooks were a crucial part of our adventure. We created a self-imposed scavenger hunt for the city, embracing a bit of eavesdropping on strangers, looking for things “decidedly southern” and “unequivocally northern” in the sort of in-between city, and leaving space for the kinds of scraps that accumulate on the road. 
8. What is your favorite Nashville moment? 
My favorite Nashville moment is when this city began to feel like home.  My husband and I moved here two and half years ago, and in that time I’ve met many wonderful people, I’ve found my place in a vibrant art community, and my business has grown in ways I’d never imagined.  I have found a place where I want to put in roots, and I intend to do just that.  In September, my husband and I purchased our first home in East Nashville, so we’re here to stay.  We love our little bungalow, and Riviera, our brindle bullmastiff, seems to approve as well. 
9. Anything exciting planned for the rest of 2013 or early 2014? 
Yes! I have lots of big plans for the upcoming months. This weekend, I’ll be selling my handmade books at the Porter Flea holiday market. And on Saturday, December 21, I will be selling my work at the West Elm Maker’s Market in Green Hills. Once 2014 rolls around, I will be gearing up to teach several bookbinding classes and workshops.  I have a workshop planned for January that I will be teaching in partnership with The Skillery, and my 9-week Introduction to Book Arts class and a leather binding workshop will take place at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film this spring.  You can find the details about all of these events here
10. Favorite piece in either the Alice Collection or the Nomad Collection?
The Fallon necklace in light blue from the Alice Collection is my favorite. The wintery gray, white, and blue stones complement many pieces in my wardrobe, and I also really love the length of this necklace.  It looks beautiful long, but it can also be worn as a short, double-strand necklace. 
Interested in learning more about Katie? 

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