Toben Lewis

2019 QEST Howdens Scholar - Bookbinding

Toben originally trained as a graphic designer in Canada. He later relocated to the remote island of Iona, on the western coast of Scotland and found his true passion, bookbinding.   He takes inspiration from his surroundings, drawing from the natural hues and tones of the Scottish landscape to create his books, often trialling different papers and methods making each of his projects distinctive.

Although he still enjoys long format book design and layout, he has discovered both a talent for and deep love of the physical act of binding books. He finds something deeply satisfying about turning loose sheaves of paper into a functional and attractive portable unit of knowledge and creativity.

With his QEST funding Toben will undertake a series of five bespoke training opportunities with some of the world’s best bookbinders. This training will enable him to vastly expand his scope of knowledge and abilities in bookbinding and restoration. When completed he intends to work for heritage and private collections and commissions across the UK.

I have always loved books. It brings me great joy to be able to create my own from raw materials, and to breathe new life into damaged ones.