From Artist Book to Free Traveling Library March 15, 2017 07:09


In 1994 I traveled to Argentina from the USA to speak with my Great Uncle János, the last elder alive who could answer questions about our Hungarian roots. János and I spent two years working together, and from him we not only discovered that we were Jewish, but that we lost over a dozen family members in the Holocaust—most of whom were children and mothers.
In 2006 I created The János Book, and I thought then that the purpose of this limited edition artist’s book was to honor János, our time together, and all that he was courageous enough to share.
Then, in 2012 the book came to life in Argentina as a Spanish trade edition entitled Entonces el libro and I discovered that there was another “reason” for the work János and I did together. Once this purpose exposed itself, it provided an entirely new, very surprising, perspective.
Soon after Entonces el libro began circulating, teachers in Córdoba wrote to me that they were using the book in their classrooms. I had this vision of one teacher with one book, and the usual 30 or so students. That didn’t seem right. So the idea of a free traveling library occurred to me—an itinerant suitcase that traveled by bus and equipped teachers with numerous copies of the book, plus a study guide. Thanks to sponsors, I was able to put together the first “Traveling Library, the Entonces el libro Suitcase” in July 2013. As of March 2017 there are now four Traveling Libraries circulating nonstop throughout Argentina, free of charge. Since the inception of the Traveling Libraries, Entonces el libro has been a learning tool for thousands of people of all ages in Argentina, across socioeconomic strata, visiting schools, museums, and libraries in both sprawling cities and small towns. Because of its nontraditional format, and because of its content, educators see in Entonces el libro a versatile resource fit for teaching about discrimination, identity, immigration, World War II, and the visual arts. Quite regularly, it is tied into teaching about the last military dictatorship here in Argentina. As if this weren’t inspiration enough to me as an author, as a bookbinder I am enthralled to see how many schools decide to make their own books, through which people tell their stories, and explore themselves, their schools, their families or towns.

The Traveling Libraries are made possible by sponsors, individuals who “believe in and create the right to culture, education and art,” as one teacher phrased it. I feel profound gratitude because I walk with many hands as I accompany The János Book and Entonces el libro. The Traveling Libraries provide a context within which I understand much more of what happened to us as a family, and what transpired between János and me along the way. Witnessing Entonces el libro organically turn into a learning tool puts our family’s experience as immigrants and as Holocaust victims and survivors into a perspective I had never imagined. János passed away in 2003, but if he were able to see the transformation that his decision to speak has caused in others, all of his trepidations about having connected us with our heritage would melt away definitively. János had a very endearing Cheshire cat expression, one of content satisfaction, and wonder. Every time that I hear from teachers and students about their experience with the Traveling Libraries, every time I am blessed with one more anecdote of Entonces el libro being an instrument for discovery, I imagine sitting in the den telling János about it, as I would if he were alive, and that expression glows through time. We did not embark on this journey together with the idea of making an educational resource. But now that it exists here in Argentina, there is an all-encompassing point of view that explains away decades of unknowns.


More useful links:
All of the info about The Traveling Libraries, in Spanish.

The János Book is now available as an English Trade Edition. See what all the fuss is about.

Follow the Traveling Library Experience here.

This is the Study Guide that accompanies Entonces el libro.

Sponsor a book today.



The Traveling Libraries, the “Entonces el libro” suitcases in numbers.
· In 2016, two of the four suitcases traveled non stop by bus throughout the Province of Cordoba (19 round trips),and were a free educational resource for over 900 students in 22 different schools.
· Last year we were able to initiate two long distance traveling libraries that made eight round trips by bus to six different provinces throughout Argentina, traveling over 18.700 kms (12000 miles). Over 900 students in 14 different schools had the suitcases available to them in their classrooms.
· The Traveling Libraries function on a budget of less than $900 a year and are made possible by over 100 sponsors from five different countries.
· What I cannot quantify: The power of this planetary network of sponsors, teachers, educational institutions and students coming together to make a free learning resource possible here in Argentina. A resource that not only works with history, art and identity, but relentlessly inspires readers to create their own collages and books.

In Loving Memory March 02, 2017 05:28

We here at Transient Books are very saddened to announce the passing of Judith Havas on February 15, 2017 in Salem, Oregon (USA). If you ordered from us anytime since we began in 2001 up until February 2016 when Judith, my mother, was diagnosed with leukemia, hers were the hands that put your package in the mail from Salem. 

(Mom and me back in 2001, in Icho Cruz, Prov. de Cordoba, Argentina--working out the details.)

Mom loved Transient Books. She loved the packages, the details, the crazy dream come true: custom handmade books created by her daughter and son-in-law in Argentina and then shipped to clients all over the planet, via her home base in Oregon, USA. We had to work a lot of glitches out of the system along the way! Mom, of course, was in the front row every time, cheering the loudest, offering up creative solutions. 

(Mom working on a shipment of books from her den in Salem, with her US granddaughter Olivia. Always, a family affair.)

We were very fortunate that Mom could come visit us each year in Argentina. (Photo: 2012)

We always had our priorities straight on those visits. Swings:


On her last visit in October 2015, she even wanted to sew copies of The Janos Letter--branching out from her usual favorite task which was rolling up thread and organizing ribbons:

She loved the clothes line most of all:

So much so that during her last year, portraits of the clothesline and its view continued to be a favorite for her:

Transient Books, from the very beginning, was made possible because of Mom's unfaltering faith and support. Because she said: of course this is possible. And so we believed it, too. We miss her infinitely.

Mom and Magu, at her favorite coffee shop in Salem, Oregon. January 4, 2017.

In parting, we leave you with a special Transient Books production. Mom was diagnosed in February 2016. One of her requests soon after was that we send a recording of her favorite lullaby from down here. Because Magu's recording studio is part of the binding studio, it was an honor for Transient Books to be able to create this video for her. 

That Perfect, Unique, Thoughtful Gift November 15, 2016 10:06

What our clients have taught us about gift giving over the years.

I really did learn most of life's essentials in kindergarten. All the rest I learned from our clients. Creating custom bound books for humans all over the planet has turned out to be an amazing source of wisdom. Because of them, I know that this holiday season, or on any given day, this is what you can do with gifts:

1. Inspire

Musicians are deeply moved by composer's journals.

Writers can't believe the joy of blank journals with their name or initials on the cover.

Illustrators melt when sketchbooks have their artwork incorporated on the front.


2. Harvest passions. Invent horizons.

Put the name of that manuscript on the cover, bring it to life for them.

Get them out on that road they've always dreamed of.

Encourage them to put that list together.


3. Commemorate

They arrived. They grew. They began. They committed. They moved on.
A custom book can celebrate every stage with joy and possibility.


4. Embrace

Protect their first editions, their drawings, their portfolios, their mementos.


5. Love

In any way possible, at all times, under all circumstances. Love.

Even on the hard, unpredictable days, all of us here at Transient Books can guarantee it's the solution to all of life's challenges.

The Transient Books team wishes you a kind and loving holiday season,

We are Magú Appella, Carolina Herrán, and Alex Appella in Argentina. And Jennifer Gow is our steadfast US distributor in Bend, Oregon, USA.

We make your books, and we love that you were in touch.


The Miracle of Books That Teach Bookbinding May 02, 2016 14:03

aka Where It All Began (For Transient Books)

Bookbinders are curious folk. They are generous with their knowledge, and they are usually quick to share and exchange experiences, successes, and ravenous mishaps. The best illustration of this being the Book Arts List Serv (found at This online forum of bookbinders, book artists, book lurkers, conservationists and regular humans has been a world wide meeting point for over 20 years. I can't imagine where bookbinding would be (or wouldn't be) today without this resource.

It's no surprise, then, that a lot of bookbinders write books on how to make books. And even less surprisingly, the books bookbinders write about how to make books tend to be really good. There are many out there. Today I pay homage to the mainstays in our studio. The books that have made us the binders we are today.

For me and Magu, it all began with:

Volume 1, Non-Adhesive Binding. Books Without Paste or Glue by Keith A. Smith.

I began binding books because my aunt, Eve Slinker, handed this book to me one day in 1997. As a writer and a traveler (and a young person), I found the combination of paper grocery sacks, a typewriter and a stapler to be the most logical way to share my creations. My aunt's gift was a not so subtle way of saying, "Make something better!" (Followed by her trademark: an infectious cackle.) My path began here, and has expanded exponentially ever since. Because I was on the road for so many years, the non-adhesive bindings were an ideal place to start. I appreciate Keith's approach to teaching: clear illustrations and step by step instructions. By the end of a Smith binding experience, you know when to breathe, when to sew, when to fold, when to stretch your legs, and you know a lot of variations on these and many other parts to the process.

So, once my backpack could hold a second binding book, I expanded the Keith Smith experience. Bookbinding for Book Artists was where we learned how to sew and bind hard back books. The key being "Requiring no special tools and equipment". For nomadic humans, this approach was a god send. The first day I finished a tight back binding, I literally carried that pristine rounded spine up and down main street and showed it to everyone in town. By 2001 we more or less settled down in central Argentina, and some of my first sedentary acquisitions were, of course...more Keith Smith Books.

 Eventually, we did branch out, of course:

Books, Boxes & Wraps by Marilyn Webberly and JoAn Forsyth is how we learned to create Clam Shell Boxes and Hard Back Slip Cases. I also appreciate many of the alternative structures, closures and embellishments this book teaches. You can open it on any page and find new ideas to expand into.

The Art & Craft of Handmade Books by Shereen LaPlantz introduced me to playing with structures and movement. This book is FUN, and offers an endless combination of ideas to explore.

Handmade Books for a Healthy Planet by Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord is a true masterpiece. With clarity, it celebrates (1.) historical bindings from around the globe, (2.) recycling and (3.) personal expression. All in one book. I day dream about it coming out in Spanish, as it is my bible when I teach bookbinding as a resource in the classroom here in Argentina.

Ok, when it comes to FUN, The Pocket Paper Engineer Books (3 volumes!) by Carol Barton are hard to beat. Carol came up with this great format, where each concept presented has practice cards you slip out of a pocket and work on right then and there. The illustrations invite you into more ideas, and she has great quotes throughout the books that just make you want to...make more books.

Thanks to the Book Arts List Serv, I continually add to our collection of books on bookbinding here in the studio. (These being my most recent acquisitions: Biblio Tech and Paper Cases and Wrappers by Karen Hanmer and Secret Compartments & Hidden Messages by Shereen LaPlantz.) Plus a couple more that are still on my night stand and didn't make it down for today's photo shoot. Not to mention the rest of the books on how to make books to be found here in the studio. There's a lot! This very moment, those volumes are looking at me with weepy dog eyes. Sorry guys, I couldn't do a full card catalog here. But I love you, and am so glad you've made Transient Books and what it is today.


The Best Side of Humans January 17, 2016 13:10

A PAY IT FORWARD blog post.

Here at Transient Books, we have been making custom books for humans all over the planet via the internet since 2001. I'm always grateful that my work involves interacting with the best part of humans: their generous, sensitive, thoughtful side.

I open emails each morning, and I'm greeted by individuals who have other individuals in mind for whom they would like to make a special gift. Almost always the email begins with, "I don't know if this is possible but..."

It is very satisfying to get to respond regularly, "Of course this is possible!"

In 2011 when we celebrated 10 years online, I had hoped to somehow create a book ABOUT all the books we make (or ABOUT all the great ideas our clients have) but, unfortunately, the year slipped away from me. We're always so busy making books for other folks, we don't always get around to creating our own. All the same, the idea has never left me.

I find it difficult to begin because I simply do not know how to summarize the hundreds of inspiring books we've had the privilege to make, but here I'd love to #payitforward with a sampling of what a typical day for us is like. So now, to celebrate 15 years online, here's a start...

We are often touched by the beautiful quotes (so many!) people choose for their journal and sketchbook covers:

"Kiss your life, accept it, just as it is. Today. Now. So that those moments of happiness you're waiting for don't pass you by."

"The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless." --Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." -- Robin Williams

As a writer, another favorite of mine are the blank journal covers or notebook covers people design for aspiring writers or journalers:

A classic here in the studio is people creating blank books that have a book or manuscript title the receiver hasn't yet written, but has obviously dreamed about bringing to life. Nothing as inspiring as seeing your dream book title already in print:

Along the same lines, the composer's journals, or the musician's notebooks full of blank sheet music are the brightest star here in the studio. So many people have musicians and composers nearby by they want to support and inspire! That is good for the planet!

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars."

"Music speaks what cannot be expressed
Soothes the mind and gives it rest
Heals the heart and makes it whole
Flows from heaven to the soul."

We do a number of projects for weddings and/or for fiancées. (As a matter of fact, so many that this topic deserves it's own blog post.) This custom hard back slip case was designed by the groom, and has been a favorite of mine for years:

Or how about this young gal who gave her husband-to-be this custom scrapbook, based on the Pixar movie UP!?

Another treasured design we can identify with very much are the diaries parents create for their new children:

Or grandmothers for their daughters and granddaughters...

"I carry your heart with me,
I carry it in my heart.
I am never without it.
Anywhere I go you go, My Dear."
--EE Cummings

Another lovely habit our clients have is making travel journals for loved ones. Sometimes the journey is physical, and sometimes spiritual. No matter what, a personalized diary is a dependable travel companion.

"And above all,
watch with glittering eyes
the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets
are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don't believe in magic
will never find it."
--Roald Dahl

"What  we are -- Leap of Faith -- What we want to be

What I love, deeply, is the human characteristic that ceaselessly seeks to inspire and support loved ones. (What if we did it for total strangers, too?) The instinct to capture--explore--thought processes on paper brings about transformation and self knowledge. In my tiny corner of the planet, out here on the end of this dirt road, no matter what the news tells me about the world, every day at work I am immersed in this positive energy. When we started making #customboundbooks, we never could have imagined that the activity would be so positive, so generous, so worth paying forward.

We are grateful, and optimistic.


Bookbinding Tools: The Good, the Great, and the Beautiful. October 13, 2015 07:50

It's true, we make everything by hand here at Transient Books.

Our tools reflect our work, our personalities, and our 14+ years here in the studio. Ever wondered what we use to bring it all together? Take a walk through our day...

Nothing quite like 'em. Always glad to have a pair in working condition.
(Your books are made by me, Alex, my husband Magu and our faithful helper, Carolina Herrán.)


The binder's essential item. You can never have too many. They fold, they crease, they lift, they press, they smooth out, they feel lovely in your hand. They really are made out of bones.
Except the last 3 on the right, which are made out of teflon and have the wonderful trait of NOT burnishing the paper or canvas.

We really do poke holes in the pages by hand before sewing them. You can fake a lot of things in a bookbinding studio, but you can't fake a bad or missing awl...
The second one from the right even has interchangeable tips, and was made by R. Wieking, an outstanding artisan from the Pacific Northwest.

CRADLES, DIGITAL CALIBRATORS and SAND PAPER (Strange Bedfellows, part one)
Cradles for punching holes can be invented from very thick phone books, they can be made by hand out of binder's board and binding canvas...or you can use a lovely handmade, wooden one*. One our favorite tools, it never has a permanent resting place in the studio. It migrates from task to task, light weight and good humored.
Sand paper sponge, terribly versatile!
Digital calibrator: yes, you can get by without it. But goodness, they're fun.
*Made by R. Wieking as well.

Mini clamps, sharpening stone, brass corner, leather finger protector, dental tools and scalpels (I'll leave those up to your imagination, but we use them non stop on a regular production day), pliers, letter openers, and a wheat paste brush...


Truly, you can never have too many. Our collection is three times as large as what you see here, and we use them all, everyday.
Folks ask me regularly why I live in Argentina. If you really, really want to know, it's because they use the metric system here. Who invented 17/32 parts of an inch? 1.3 centimeters is so much kinder to the eye and brain...

Brass spacers (the most multi purpose tool in the studio*), mechanical pencils (the only tool the gnomes who live in the shadows steal relentlessly), a great collection of erasers for lifting stains, X-acto knives and white pencils for marking dark papers and canvases.
*Brass spacers: the standardized sizes means you can use them for instant measurements. Plus they're heavy, and make great weights. And, you can use them to scratch your back.

The interesting thing about working with your hands are the relics folks give you with the introduction, "Maybe you can use this for something?" Back in 2000, our neighbor Mercedes gave us a piece of train track with Eva Peron's name engraved on it (yes, we are physically located in Argentina). It's our favorite solution for piecing together clam shell boxes, which need to dry under heavy weight. Can't imagine our studio without it.

It took us years to work up to the big tools. In part because of the cost, and in part because they're not so easy to come by in rural Argentina. Bessie trims book blocks, cuts reams of paper, effortlessly works her way through every stack of dry pulp we throw at her, and gives us occasional nightmares when we think about her, and our children's little fingers.

She's been a part of the family for a little over a year now. She showed up on a truck from Buenos Aires, and it was exactly then we realized somehow we had to get her down to the binding studio. Let's hear it for a lazy Thursday afternoon, and great neighbors!

(Notice the truck slinking away in the background...)

Through the woods and down the slope...

And into the studio she goes.

HOSS also scares us half to death when we think about his big arm, that counter weight, and our children's fingers. (Yes, we have lots of safety measures in place, but all the same...) He was built in Buenos Aires, and actually is sold to folks who need to cut sheets of tin. Turns out, it's a great solution for cutting binder's board. The trimmings on the floor are our dog's favorite nap spot, and also are what we use to start the wood stove in the wintertime.

Perfect for the amount of PVA glue we go through on a normal day.

All shapes, all sizes. Always smooth. Ribbed with metal for the french grooves. We use them as binding frames. We use them as weights. We use them as presses. Can't have enough of them.

Another lovely creation by R. Wieking. We love it for sewing the larger book blocks. We love it because it's beautiful, it's useful and it makes us feel good.

On any given day, I tend to be on the computer more hours than I would like: designing covers and content, answering client emails and attending to the website. Anymore, running a binding studio means we have to be pretty technologically savvy, more than I ever would have imagined. My bit of rebellion on this front is my office from my childhood, and it still works, 3 decades later.

Missing are photos of the hand saws, cutting mats, book presses, needles, hammers, and a myriad of other implements of construction.
Present is our love for making books, and our joy that you have stumbled across us. You can see what all of this turns into HERE. Enjoy!

Herramientas de Encuadernación: Lo bueno, lo bello y lo maravilloso. October 13, 2015 00:30

Es verdad, hacemos todos los libros a mano aquí en Transient Books.

Nuestras herramientas reflejan nuestro trabajo, nuestras personalidades y nuestros 14+ años aquí en el taller. ¿Alguna vez te preguntaste como es que fabricamos todo? Aquí, un vistazo...

No hay nada como ellas. Siempre feliz de tener un par funcionando.
(Tus libros están hechos por mi, Alex, mi marido Magú y nuestro ayudante fiel, Carolina Herrán.)


El coso mas esencial del encuadernador. Nunca podés tener demás. Doblan, marcan, levantan, aplastan, alisan, y se sienten hermoso en tu mano. Realmente están hechos de huesos. Excepto por los últimos tres sobre la derecha en la foto, que son de teflón y tienen la característica hermosa de no hacer brillar el papel ni la tela.

Perforamos todas la hojas a mano antes de coserlas. Podés zafar con muchas cosas en el taller, pero casi imposible zafar con un pincho roto o mal hecho...

Para perforar los folios (las hojas del libro) se puede inventar cunas utilizando guías de teléfono, o se puede fabricar cunas con cartón y tela de encuadernar, o--a veces--se consiguen cunas hechas de madera por artesanos muy especializados*. Esta cuna de madera es una de nuestras herramientas favoritas y nunca tiene un lugar fijo en el taller. Flota entre tarea y tarea, liviana y siempre de buen humor.
Una esponja forrada en papel para lijar, tremendamente útil!
Regla digital. No son imprescindibles, pero son muy divertidos.
*Hecho por R. Wieking de los EEUU.

Mini prensas, una piedra para afilar, una escuadra de bronce, un dedal de cuero, herramientas de dentista (lo usamos para todo...), pinzas, una abre-cartas, y un pincel para engrudo...


Nunca podés tener demasiadas. Nuestra colección es aún mas grande de lo que se ve aquí, y usamos todos, todos los días.
Muchas veces me preguntan porque vivo en Argentina. La verdad verdad es que vivo aquí porque usan centímetros. ¿Quien inventó 17/32 partes de una pulgada? 1,3 centímetros es tanto mas simpático a los ojos y a la mente...

AMIGOS EXTRAÑOS, parte tres.
Tiras de bronce (las herramientas mas versátiles en el taller), lápices, una buena colección de gomas para levantar manchas, trinchetas, y lápices blancos para marcar telas y papeles oscuros.
*Las tiras de bronce son de medidas fijas así que los podemos usar para medir al toque, para guardar espacios entre los cartones de las tapas, y además, sirven mucho para rascarse la espalda.

Una aspecto interesante de trabajar con las manos es la cantidad de cosas que la gente nos acerca con la frase "A lo mejor les sirva para algo?" En 2000, nuestra vecina Mercedes nos regaló un pedazo de riel de tren, con el nombre de Eva y todo. Es nuestra solución favorita para armar las cajas almejas. Mejor peso, imposible. No podemos imaginar el taller sin esto.

Tardamos años en conseguir las herramientas grandes. En parte por el costo, y en parte porque no son fáciles de conseguir desde las sierras de Córdoba. Bessie refila libros, y sin esfuerzo corta cualquier pila de papel que se nos ocurre meter ahí adentro. De todos modos, nos causa pesadillas cada tanto cuando imaginamos a ella, y los dedos de nuestros hijos...

Bessie llegó hace mas que un año. Apareció en un camión desde Buenos Aires, y en este momento nos dimos cuenta que había que llevarla hasta el taller de alguna manera. Por suerte, tenemos vecinos muy especiales.

(Ves como el camión se escapa...)

Por el bosque y bajando el cerro...

Hasta llegar al taller.

HOSS también nos causa pesadillas cuando pensamos en su brazo, el contra peso, y nuestros niños. (Aunque tenemos varias medidas de seguridad implementadas, pero aun así...) Hoss es de Buenos Aires y fue fabricado para cortar chapa. Resulta ser muy bueno cortando cartón también. Los recortes en el piso es la cama preferida de nuestro perro, y es lo que usamos para prender la salamandra en invierno (los recortes, no el perro).

Hoss, y los rodillos fueron otros datos más recibidos del encuadernador Martín Alejandro Montironi, de Salsipuedes. Rodillo para la cola vinílica, para forrar libros y cajas. Rápido, y prolijo.

Todos los tamaños y formas. Lisos. Con orillas de metal para marcar las bisagras en las tapas duras. Las usamos para coser libros, para peso, como prensas, para trabajar los lomos. Para todo.

Otra creación hermosa por el artesano R. Wieking. Lo usamos para coser los libros mas gordos. Lo amamos porque es bello, porque es útil, y porque nos hace sentir bien.

En un día común, estoy en la compu mas horas de lo que me gustaría: diseñando tapas y compaginando libros, contestando clientes y atendiendo el sitio web. Hoy en día, tener un taller de encuadernación implica que tenemos que ser bastante listos tecnológicamente hablando...mucho mas de lo que jamás hubiera imaginado. Mi pedazo de rebelión es tener este teléfono para contestar a clientes...directo de mi niñez, y todavía anda.

Faltan fotos de las cierras, los cosos para cortar con trincheta, las prensas, las agujas, los martillos y una colección varidada de otros implementos de construcción.
De todos modos, aquí ves nuestro amor por hacer libros, y nuestra alegría porque nos encontraste. Podés ver en qué se convierte todo AQUI. Salúd!

How to Give Bookbinding Workshops September 11, 2015 14:00

and other joyous undertakings.


It doesn't matter if they're four or eighty...the first time a person makes a book they always exclaim the same thing:


“Look! I made a book!”


The glee is contagious.


For me, a natural side effect of being a writer and a bookbinder is sharing with others what brings me such happiness:


the freedom to turn my ideas into handbound books


(Festival de la Palabra, "Books on the Fly" Workshop. Alta Gracia, Córdoba, Argentina, 2014.)



After more than a decade of giving bookbinding workshops to people of all ages and abilities in both North and South America, here are some things that I've learned:


1. Location. Binding can be taught anywhere, anytime.


Our most exotic classroom was at over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) at a mining camp in Southern Bolivia. However, we've found that our own studio, libraries, schools, cultural centers, museums, retirement centers, writers' workshops, art galleries, book fairs and book stores work just as well.




2. Class size is key. Keep the numbers to the amount of people you can attend to without losing anyone in the current.

It's great for you, it's great for them.

(Our Binding Studio in Central Argentina, 2015.)




3. Combining the binding technique you are presenting with creative expression makes for powerful workshops.

It empowers and enables people to express themselves in new and diverse ways.

Júan learned Japanese Stabbinding and created his own guide to insects found in the high sierras of central Argentina. 2005.

Josefina also learned Japanese Stabbinding and used it to tell about mining practices and traditions in Southern Bolivia. 2003.


Binding + Sense of Place + Personal Knowledge.



4. Always cite your sources. Where did you learn what you are teaching?

Even if the concepts are universal, it is good karma (and the right thing to do) to give credit to those who taught you.
Some of my favorite resources:

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord · Keith Smith · Carol Barton




5. Whenever possible, give workshops to school teachers. I enjoy teaching all age groups and I feel very passionate about bookbinding in the classroom. Teaching students how to make their own books empowers them with tools for self expression, self confidence, and it gives them versatile solutions for showing their teachers and classmates what they have learned. In an effort to reach even more students, I found that proposing to the schools that I teach directly to the teachers allowed me to be a virus, and get to many more students.

(Bookbinding Workshop for high school teachers in Rio Tercero, Prov. de Cordoba, Argentina. 2015.)




6. Stress recycling and re-using materials. Not only is it good for the planet, it challenges us to see the possibility for transformation in everything that surrounds us.

Susan K. Gaylord's books and PDF files are a great resource.

(Bookbinding Workshop during the International Poetry Festival. Goethe German Cultural Institute. Cordoba, Argentina 2013)




7. No matter where you are, use tools and materials that are easily available to the students so that afterwards they can keep making books without getting frustrated or feeling inadequate.

(Bookbinding Workshop for Teachers at CEDILIJ*. 2013. Cordoba, Argentina
*Center for Promotion of Libraries and Reading in Schools. Non-profit.)



8. Encourage students to practice what they've learned soon after they finish the workshop. And/or encourage them to teach someone else. This way they take possession of what they've learned outside of the workshop environment AND they don't forget as easily what was presented.

(Pop Up Workshop at En Un Lugar de la Mancha Book Store. Cordoba, Argentina. 2015.)



9. At all times during the workshop, have people put their names on their projects! For example, a very civilized group of people such as this can turn rabid (very quickly) if there is confusion over whose book is whose at the end of the workshop!


(Non adhesive binding workshop 2012. Our studio.)



10. When they've made their first book, celebrate! Do a little dance and exclaim "Circus Boots!"


Stabbinding with pre-schoolers. 2011. Sierras of Cordoba, Argentina.


I simply love how much happiness a handbound book can cause. You know, sometimes, folks even break out into song.

(Book Arts Seminar at Retirement Center in Cordoba, Argentina. 2014.)




That little blurb that goes at the end:


Alex Appella has been teaching bookbinding workshops regularly since 2003. Subject matter for her workshops varies greatly and can range from book repair, to pop up books with movable parts, to non-adhesive bindings oriented towards writers, to her particular passion: bookbinding projects for the classroom. Alex has taught binding to people of all ages and abilities in both North and South America. Her most regular hang out, however is Córdoba, in central Argentina, where her binding studio is located.



Como Dar Talleres de Encuadernación September 09, 2015 09:36

y otras iniciativas alegres. 


No importa si tienen cuatro u ochenta años ... la primera vez que una persona hace su propio libro siempre exclama lo mismo:

"¡Mira! Hice un libro!"
La alegría es contagiosa.

Para mí, una consecuencia natural de ser escritora y encuadernadora es compartir con otros lo que me trae tanta felicidad:

la libertad de convertir mis ideas en libros hechos a mano. 


(Taller de Encuadernación al Paso. Festival de la Palabra. Alta Gracia, Córdoba, Argentina, 2014.)



Después de más de una década de dar talleres de encuadernación a personas de todas las edades y habilidades, tanto en América del Norte y como del Sur, aquí hay algunas cosas que he aprendido:



1. Lugar. Se puede enseñar encuadernación en donde sea, literalmente.


Nuestra aula más exótico fue a más de 4.000 metros en un campamento minero en el sur de Bolivia. Sin embargo, hemos encontrado que nuestro propio estudio, bibliotecas, escuelas, centros culturales, museos, centros para jubilados, talleres de escritura, galerías de arte, ferias de libros y librerías funciona igual de bien.



2. El tamaño de la clase es clave. Hay que mantener los números a la cantidad de personas que podés asistir sin perder a nadie en el camino. Es muy bueno para vos, es muy bueno para ellos.

(Nuestra taller de Encuadernación. Sierras de Córdoba, Argentina, 2015)




3. Combiná las técnicas de encuadernación que estás presentando con la expresión para dar mas poder al contenido. Esto permite a las personas expresarse en formas nuevas y cada vez mas diversas.

Juan aprendió el estilo Japonés y creó su propia guía para insectos que se encuentran en las Altas Cumbres de Córdoba, Argentina. 2005.
Josefina también aprendió el estilo japonés y lo utilizó para contar sobre las prácticas y tradiciones mineras del sur de Bolivia. 2003.
Encuadernación + Pertenencia + Conocimiento Personal.




4. Siempre citan tus fuentes. ¿Dónde aprendiste lo que estás enseñando?
Incluso si los conceptos son universales, es buen karma (y es lo que corresponde) dar crédito a los que te enseñó. Algunos de mis recursos favoritos:

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord · Keith Smith · Carol Barton




5. Cuando puedas, es excelente dar talleres a docentes. Me gusta enseñar a todas las edades y creo mucho en el poder de la encuadernación en el aula. Enseñar a los estudiantes cómo hacer sus propios libros les da herramientas para la expresión propia, les da confianza, y les da soluciones versátiles para mostrar a sus maestros y a sus compañeros que es lo que han aprendido. Con ganas de llegar a aún mas estudiantes en las escuelas, me dio cuenta que proponer a las escuelas que enseñe directamente a los profesores me permitió ser un virus, y así, llegar a muchos más alumnos.

(Taller de Encuadernación Para el Aula. Río Tercero, Prov. De Córdoba, Argentina. 2015)




6. Poné mucha énfasis en la reutilización y reciclaje de materiales. No sólamente es bueno para el planeta, sino que también nos brinda la posibilidad de ver la posible transformación en todo lo que nos rodea.


(Taller de Encuadernación. Festival Internacional de Poesía. Goethe Institut. Córdoba, Argentina 2013)




7. No importa donde estás, hay que usar herramientas y materiales que están fácilmente disponibles a los estudiantes para que después pueden hacer sus propios libros sin frustrarse o sin sentirse inadecuados.

(Encuadernación Para el Aula. CEDILIJ 2013. Córdoba, Argentina.)




8. Insistí que tus alumnos practiquen lo que han aprendido en los días posteriores al taller. Y/o insistí que enseñen a otra persona. De esta manera tomen posesión de lo que han aprendido fuera del entorno del taller y es mas probable que se recuerden lo que has presentado.

(Taller de Libros Pop Up. Librería En Un Lugar de la Mancha. Córdoba, Argentina. 2015)




9. En todo momento durante el taller, es muy necesario que la gente ponga sus nombres en sus proyectos! Por ejemplo, un grupo civilizada como este puede ponerse muy rabiosos al toque si hay confusión sobre de quién es cada libro! ¡Doy fe!


(Taller de Libros Sin Adhesivos. Nuestro estudio en las Sierras de Córdoba. 2012.)




10. Cuando han hecho su primer libro, hay que celebrar! Hay que hacer un bailecito alegre y exclamar pavadas. Es así.


(Libros en la Sala de 4. Sierras de Córdoba, Argentina. 2011.)



Es así. Simplemente me encanta la felicidad que un libro hecho a mano puede causar. Hasta los participantes de talleres se ponen a cantar, a veces. Yo también.


(Taller de Encuadernación, Centro de Jubilados. Córdoba, Argentina. 2014.)


Escribí Alex Appella directamente para enterarte de sus talleres de encuadernación.
O seguí sus talleres AQUÍ.


Esas palabras que hay que poner al final:

Desde 2003 Alex Appella realiza talleres de encuadernación con regularidad. El contenido de sus talleres varia desde como arreglar un libro, hasta como hacer libros con partes móviles, hasta libros sin adhesivos para escritores, hasta su pasión en particular: encuadernaciones para el aula como herramienta de enseñanza y identidad. Alex ha enseñado encuadernación a individuos de todas las edades desde América del Norte hasta América del Sur en campamentos mineros, en cárceles, en galerías de arte, en una gran cantidad de escuelas, ferias del libro, plazas y bibliotecas, y, a veces, hasta en su taller en las sierras de Córdoba.



NOTA DE LA TRADUCTORA: Me perdonarán esa traducción un poco brutal. Va con todo el cariño y el apuro en el mundo. Pero va.



A Sketchbook Chronicle August 11, 2015 12:41

Not long ago, my inbox shone with a memorable gift:
A client who ordered a custom oversized sketchbook from us in 2006 sent photos of how the book had been used.

Not only did she send photos, but she sent this beautiful text:

"Tony Allard and Kristine Diekman are artist collaborators who, in 2006, asked Transient Books to create a beautiful hand-made sketchbook for a media project. Although the artists never used it for that project, many years later, in April 2014, they started a weekly drawing practice. Choosing an object at random, they placed the object in the middle of the page, and drew it from opposite angles while discussing politics, personal life, art theory and other things. The drawing process was a way to honor each other’s unique vision, relaunch a valuable friendship that had run aground and spend time in the important practice of perceptual drawing. The resulting book includes both perspectives which often shift from side to side, with neither artist claiming his or her own side. We are grateful to Transient Books for their incredible custom made large scale sketch book that literally saved our friendship."

Here is what the custom sketchbook looked like when it left our studio back in 2006:

Kristine Diekman and Tony Allard of California, thank you so much for sharing your art. We are tremendously grateful!

More about the artists here:

About the Custom Oversized Sketchbook:
27" tall x 18" wide (69 cm tall x 46 cm tall)
hard back Japanese Stabbinding
Colorspot Nieve 150 grm paper for the pages
Made by Alex & Magú Appella of Transient Books in 2006.
Sierras de Córdoba, Argentina.

How to Work with Your Spouse July 09, 2015 08:45

My husband Magú and I have been married since 1997, and we have working together as Transient Books since 2001. Being self-employed, and working with family members, is fraught with advantages (tremendous freedom)...and terrifying unknowns.

On Wearing Many Hats at Once June 03, 2015 11:47

"If you have work (define work any way you like) that you feel is valuable, you are among the fortunate."
--Bill Stewart of Vamp & Tramp Booksellers (Alabama, USA)

I love my job. My jobs. They're all related to books and bookbinding, even motherhood. Or, perhaps, especially motherhood.

In any given day, I juggle all of the following:

Making Books.

I love that most emails from clients start with "I don't know if this is possible, but..." and I get to say YES, this is possible! And make the book. And send it out into the world.


Teaching Bookbinding.

I get to spread a virus! I get to be a plague...the one that enables people to express themselves. I have taught bookbinding to four year olds and to 80+ year olds, and all ages in between, and everyone does the same happy little dance the first time they make their book. There's nothing like it.


Being a Book Artist.

My existential challenge in life is to leave enough room in my day for my OWN books. It's a challenge I'm grateful to have. Maybe that's why I end up making such large books, to remind myself this is how it all started.


Being an Author.

Here in Argentina, I am the author of Entonces el libro, my first trade edition book. It entails running a free traveling library, giving talks in public in front of real live humans, handling distribution and any number of minor tasks that, in the long run, make a major difference.


Being a Mother.

Above all, first off, and the best. Our studio, and our children, are full of volumes they have made, read, and designed all on their own. Magu and I are here, present, part of their childhood every day, all day. It is the greatest gift.

All of this to say, some days we really are juggling too many things at once:

The best part, though, is truly believing it is possible, and seeing it work year after year, despite the strange winds that whip those hats off our heads every so often...

We Are Now Mobile, and Officially Part of 2015 April 21, 2015 07:48

With a bit of nostalgia, we say good bye to the old TRANSIENT BOOKS web site:

Yes, a vintage design, one that did not take mobile devices into consideration. But, a design that caused nearly all emails to start with "I love your web site!" Now this phrase always brought me a grin. It meant two things:

  • Most of our clients were "vintage" computer-users like myself. We are folks who remember life before the internet, and we're still used to web sites that had pre-mobile structure and logic to them.
  • That even though I'm primarily a bookbinder who manages a web site (as opposed to the opposite: a web site designer who knows how to bind books), I was doing a pretty ok job!
However, mobile-geddon happened on April 21, 2015. And our old site was booted out of the google algorithms. For a site that has kept us in business online since 2001, it was a harsh way to go. So here is a big Cheers to you ol' gal, and muchas gracias!

There is lots left to construct on the new site, and thus this post fades here. Please bear with the holes in the new shiny And enjoy the mobility, the form fields!, the categories, and that new modern look. Feedback is welcome, both positive and constructive. Enjoy!