Traditional books

Coptic books

Medieval books

Laura West, book architect and maker

I have a friend. Any time I return from my wanderings across the breadth and length of Scotland he expresses interest in what beauty I may have found. Whilst he is deeply appreciative of the environment I cocoon myself in he is not one to spend money on objets d'art for himself. Oddly, this brings me to make a point about Laura West's beautiful handmade, far-and-way-beyond-commonplace books. Her hand-stitched, hard leather bound or vellum covered books would be immediately recognisable to St. Columba himself. The fact is that very few people in the world would bother to learn such an ancient skill or attain a level of excellence in hand craftsmanship that honours thousands of years of human discovery is a testament to her commitment. I had bought one of her Coptic-styled travel journals as an endorsement of her work and it was on lying on the kitchen counter following my last trip. My friend paused, picked it up, touched it, so completely noticing every detail of the construction that his review bordered on reverence and then, (shockingly), he actually expressed that he'd like to own one; I assure you that he's never done that with anything else offered through Thistle & Broom no matter how beautiful it might be.

While still at university, Laura's first bookbinding commission, was to make facsimile medieval bindings for a permanent exhibit at The British Library. Working to archival standards, Laura's specialises in creating unique artefact books accurately based on genuine Medieval and ancient bindings of Europe and the East. She graduated with a first class BA Honours Degree in Bookbinding from Roehampton Institute in London. A 2005 Blavenie Artisan of the Year Category One Winner, and QEST (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) recipient, Laura, with her husband Chris, makes her home on the beautiful Isle of Skye.

Laura's books are quite simply the elusive gift you've sought for a man or woman of letters, of private thoughts both deep and philosophic, for writing with a fountain pen and capturing poetry of life which surrounds us. We are humbled and honoured to have her creative energies offered through Thistle & Broom.

Laura West
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