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PEOPLE Quality and Classic Audio BOOK ARTIST

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TONY WARING finds that an empty nest was the stimulus for Liz Constable of Waima to take the plunge and turn her garage into a studio, and her bookmaking hobby into a business. That’s not bookmaking as in ‘a

fiver each way on number 3 in the 2.30 at Haydock Park’, although she does come from that part of the world (Manchester). No, this is an artist who creates beautiful one-off books for all sorts of occasions and uses. Journals mainly, but also wedding albums, travel diaries, remembrance books, and recently special journals for the top brass of two of the largest companies around, Coca Cola and Fonterra. “I’ve been creative from

a young age, and sold my first bead curtain at age 12. I discovered bookmaking in 1999, and enjoyed it initially as a hobby, thereby giving myself time to serve my apprenticeship while keeping the day job. In 2007 my daughter left home, and I decided it was time to make my hobby into a full-time business. I converted my garage into a studio and Book Art Studios was born.” In the studio Liz not only creates her own books that she sells at

Liz with two of the journals she has made for corporate clients

art fairs and on Trade Me, and commissioned books, but also teaches the art to a growing number of students. She doesn’t have classes, but you can join one of her ‘creative adventures’. You can sign up for her Journal Making course, comprising two three-hour creative adventures. Or you could hold a ‘journal evening’ at your home, (“my version of a Tupperware party”), where Liz arrives with all the materials and helps the guests to make a journal each in three hours. Liz also teaches in Warkworth, and when her sister in Wellington

told her friends at the local art society about Liz, it resulted in regular invitations to go down and take weekend workshops. Liz’s style of bookmaking involves taking inspiration from virtually anything, and materials from virtually anywhere. “Materials just seem to find me, as friends and family drop in with unusual stuff they have come across. My daughter works for Trelise Cooper, and recently brought me a bag of their exotic fabric, and somebody else just dropped in with some bizarre wallpaper off-cuts.” The books all have a lived-in look about them, or a “warm vibe” as a

person at Fonterra said, and Liz uses a range of techniques to achieve this unique finish, and many forms of binding. “I have had to be creative in finding channels to sell and publicise my

books. I made a TV book for Mark Sainsbury of TVNZ Close Up, which he showed on the programme. And I made a remembrance book for a friend of mine, and now the State of Grace funeral company sell them to their clients.” “The introductions to Coke and Fonterra came via Glenn Browne who organised the Great Kiwi Bake-Off, for which I made a book, and I’ve made 30 - 40 journals for each of their executives. For mass-production companies like that, something hand-made really has an impact.”


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