And the dream shows no sign of diminishing

Always a source of inspiration, books are the cornerstone of my artistic practice.

As an art bookbinder, I embrace the book as a visual and tactile object where the container and the content can connect to generate other visions. Considering binding as a visual art, I aim to generate a sensitive and formal link between cover and text, to unite the body of the book with its interior.

Since the 1980’s, I’ve experimented with a wide range of techniques and materials, working to bring new flexibility to the conventions of binding – a set of traditions too long confined to a rigid shells and leathers tanned in France and England. My discovery of fish leathers, tanned in Gaspésie, Quebec, emerged as a lever to unlock change. Suddenly I had new medium to work with – a flexible and durable material offering rich natural colors, inviting textures and varied shades. These new elements enabled me to begin creating original bindings in arrangements comparable to pictorial works without sacrificing the 3D structural contribution of the classic binding.

The concept of the third millennium was a turning point in my drive for innovation and revitalization of the art form, compelling me to imagine a new place of the book. I began by exploring:

The public square (The Bonsecours Market and The Book of the Year 3000)
The facilities (chairs, tables, walls, stairs, etc.)
The use of new materials (high technologies fibers and LED light)
Today, these new places of the book have emerged, giving me the freedom to experiment with novel techniques and to engage in binding as a visual art. My work is concerned with the inseparable connection between the text, the image — the binding and its interior. This drive for connection makes my art a highly contemporary practice.

My work in art bookbinding has always aimed to create bindings whose aesthetic is not sacrificed to the practical nature of the book. Yet the book must remain true to its nature – easy to use and inviting to read.

Odette Drapeau RCA
Book Artist