Lisa Baumgartner

Wandering Leaf Bindery

In the fall of 2011, as I was closing the door on my massage practice of 11 years, I happened upon a 1-day workshop in bookbinding. The workshop took place on an artist-retreat farm, Hameau, in beautiful central Pennsylvania.  The precise and magical process of turning paper, thread, book board and glue into a lovely and sturdy book enchanted me.  That workshop was a turning point, and over the years I have continued to explore, through much trial and error, the art & craft of book construction.

In the summer of 2012, we moved from Pennsylvania to Cambridge, England.  It was in the UK that I had the opportunity to take classes, and then work (open studio) at a traditional bindery, Brignell Bookbinders. I was immensely fortunate to learn the craft from a true “master bookbinder”, Barry Brignell.  While still in England I took additional classes— some in book binding and others in box making.

Moving back to Pennsylvania in 2013, I set up my own small-scale book bindery.  In my workspace, I have gathered together many of the tools of the book binding trade: beautiful papers from around the globe, book cloth from Italy and Japan, waxed Irish linen threads in a rainbow of colors… and other bookbinding tools & treasures.

The binding methods I use combine traditional construction techniques, with modern adaptations.  It is a rewarding fusion of the old and new— but always with an eye to a well crafted, and visually pleasing book.

In more recent years I have enjoyed creating many of my own papers to use in my books. Eco-printing is a natural, and magical way of capturing on paper the beautiful poetry of a leaf. Collagraph prints and lino-cuts make for captivating on-lays on book covers. While the colorful gelli-plate prints and watercolors radiate bright exhuberance and playfulness.

For me, the joy of book binding is that there is a historical and traditional past to learn and draw from, and also an ever-evolving and exciting wealth of new bindings & designs to discover and explore. 

I welcome you to these pages, and thank you for taking the time for a short visit!


"This turning toward what you deeply love saves you."

-- Jalaluddin Rumi