I'm Barbara Simler, and  I create leather journals and other handmade books in my studio in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.

Hand bookbinding is an ancient craft. For centuries, all books were bound by hand--the leather cut, the paper hand-torn, then everything sewn together by hand. This art was nearly lost in the 20th century, as book-making machines replaced bookbinders, but lately there has been a renewed interest in books that are hand-made, that have a spirit and character that machine-made books don’t have.  Through my books, I’m working to preserve and carry on the art and craft of traditional hand bookbinding.

I make soft cover leather journals, sketchbooks, journals with quotes, and more. The designs of these books, which have decorative stitching on the spines, date back to the Middle Ages. I also make other, more "sculptural" books, miniature books, and book jewelry.

In creating my books, I'm inspired by the Japanese aesthetic principles of Wabi-Sabi and Shibui. I make books that are simple, natural, and often slightly rustic -- for instance using the natural edge of the leather hides, or letting the chisel marks show in wooden book covers.

The Art You Are. Medium leather journal necklace

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