Showcasing the Arts


Sept. 2013 Featured Artist: Melissa Oesch

Melissa Oesch In college, someone asked if I wanted to learn book-binding. I've always been drawn to books. I read them voraciously growing up — as a way to travel, escape and imagine. I've also kept a journal since I was 6, using it to reflect and process, even at that young age. So, the idea of creating a book to write in was appealing. The invitation was to an evening workshop where we learned Coptic stitch. When I finished, I swore I would never make another book. It took more patience than I anticipated and was the floppiest book ever. Little did I know…

The idea of making a blank book full of potential for writings and sketches stirred something in me. I couldn't shake it, nor did I really want to. Soon after that first book, I began a community organization (Bound 4 Freedom) with some friends that was based on book-binding. I left the organization after several years and went on to other endeavors. I loosely held on to book-binding while delving more into organic gardening and sustainable approaches to living. People continued to ask if they could buy journals from me, which kept me creating books on the side.

I started entertaining the idea of beginning a book-making business while I was working on an organic vegetable farm. I remember thinking, "What if I could DO this?" I knew the only way to find out was to try. The name for the business had already been given to me. One night, I was reflecting on the past few difficult years. A lot had happened that made me fearful of the future. I felt like I had been holding my breath waiting for some relief. It was that night that the word "re-imagine" was given to me. I had the poignant thought that I needed to re-imagine the way my life could be rather than assuming that it would always be the way it had been. It could be more wonderful than I had ever thought. I could not shake this concept. At the time, I was creating journals out of vintage book covers and recycled paper. The word "re-imagine" continued to echo inside me even in regards to beginning a business. It shouted to me that I was capable and quietly reiterated my desire to be eco-friendly.

Today, I continue to work mostly with recycled, remnant, and handmade materials. I am still "re-imagining" my life on all levels, including my business and the materials I create with. My designs respect this Earth by combining discarded materials, creating varying textures and drawing inspiration from spiritual traditions. I work mostly with remnant leather, repurposed coffee bags, and am still using vintage book covers. Each book is hand-crafted with care and is meant to inspire and aid in each person's journey. My desire is that each book beckons you –the writer, the artist, the storyteller, the questioning one, the dreamer— to fill its pages with the significant, as well as the everyday.

Melissa Oesch
Lexington, Ky.

Telephone: 859-420-6536


Page last updated: June 8, 2016
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