Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Featured Exhibitor: Black Gecko Books


Black Gecko Books are the work of young artist, Molly Friesen, who discovered book arts for a school project and has been creating her own books ever since. She mindfully crafts each book by hand, from the decorative paper to the intricate stitches used for binding. Bookbinding is a rare artform in this digital age, and Molly is working to create handmade books that can be treasured for years to come.  



Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Molly Friesen, I am currently 19 years old, and have been binding books for the past four years. Though I do dabble in other leather crafts and painting, I mostly work on books. They are my most satisfying project to do. Some of the other art I do includes alcohol ink painting and drawing Celtic Knots. My Great Grandmother, a wonderful woman who's a professional artist herself and has won many awards, taught me how to pain with alcohol inks, which is an alcohol based ink that, when used on different papers and mediums, reacts in very beautiful ways. A friend of mine in high school taught me how to draw Celtic knots, and I probably spent too much of my time in class drawing instead of paying attention.


Why did you start working in this particular craft?

The first time I bound a book was for a class project. The assignment was to write a journal in the perspective of someone suffering from the black plague. I, of course, decided to do way too much for a basic project, and bound a small book to write the journal entries in. It was a difficult process for my first books, but I was very pleased with the end result. It looked pretty good, for my first time trying to bind a book. After that project, I continued to practice book making and different binding techniques. I discovered that my favorite method was Coptic stitch, which is what I mostly use today.


How did you get started in your business?

In 2013, my art teacher suggested I try out the Uptown Art Fair Youth Show. It was my first experience selling any of my art, and it was amazing. Seeing so many people, strangers, excited about my products and happy to buy them was a great feeling. People loved my books and I nearly sold out. I loved seeing how excited people were to see the handbound books. People were amazed that I drew all the Celtic knots by hand. And people couldn't figure out how I had made the alcohol ink paintings, which is a medium that isn't very widely used. Since then, I've done one or two art shows a year, but my first show has definitely been my biggest and most profitable one.


Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it?

My original business name was Inks, Books, and Knots, because that was what I mostly made. I've recently changed it to Black Gecko Books, which I personally like a lot more. I make more books than anything else currently, and that's what I enjoy making the most. I also have a wonderful pet Leopard Gecko who is currently four years old. I've had her since she was just a hatchling, and she is a wonderful pet. She crawls around my desk while I'm working, and I have her pose with my books like a tiny lizard model. Though she is not black, she does have black spots. The name Black Gecko Books has a lot more meaning to me than Inks, Books, and Knots.


What motivates you to create?

My motivation for creation is the satisfaction of completing a project. Not every book I bind is perfect, or exactly how I wanted it to turn out. But each one is a joy to make, and when I finish, I'm always happy with the end result. The time and effort I put in to each books is totally worth it in the end. Even if my stitches are slightly off, or my pages shifted during binding, I love every one, and their differences just make them unique. Of course, I'm not happy with every book I make, but I'm just able to learn from my mistakes and make an even better book the next time around.



Check out more of Molly's work online, and be sure to stop by her booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 2-4, 2018 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

Posted by Admin at 1:19 PM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS

CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors
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