Mary Carol Koester | Southern Highland Craft Guild Skip to content

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PaperAzalea Bindery, LLC
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"The pieces help tell a story, weave a life..."

Bookbinder Mary Carol Koester's handmade book binding pieces bring beauty and dignity to events such as the birth of a child, unabashed love at the altar, or acceptance of the loss of a family member or friend.


The Artisan: Mary Carol Koester
I opened my book binding studio in 2003 after a career in forestry. I trained with professional bookbinders and book conservators, mastering the skills of professional book binding. I’m delighted to be a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, an organization with roots in the beginnings of the Southern Arts and Crafts movement. I’m passionate about my handmade book binding and look forward to the years ahead. I live in Asheville, NC with painter, William Henry Price.

The Book Binding Process:
I like to compare my craft to couture. The handmade book binding pieces I make are used to preserve memories. My wish to help families keep their history alive is expressed through meticulous design and construction, sumptuous fabrics, delicately marbled papers, harmonious hues, and distinctive patterns. They are meant to be filled with pictures and thoughts and then shared with others.

Each fine handmade book binding piece begins with a book board and is covered in fine silk, linen, or leather and accessorized with decorative paper. My design ideas come from architectural, floral, and geometric elements.

I continue to refine the beauty and utility of my book binding structures to incorporate advancing technologies. Working with wedding and family photographers, I make traditional hand-mounted photobooks as well as unique digitally-designed printed albums. Whether it is handmade books, personalized presentation folders, unique journals, or custom made boxes, I’m always in the process of developing new products and transforming existing concepts.

The work takes place in my home studio in beautiful Asheville, NC. Only a handful of bookbinding tools compliment the personal craftsmanship. All pieces are one of a kind, handmade using traditional book binding techniques, environmentally friendly, and guaranteed for life.

I also mentor new bookbinders and occasionally teach workshops on binding a book and presentation box making.

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