Showcasing the Arts


April 2014 Featured Artist: Mary Kinney


Mary Kinney in her studio folding 
    handmade paper book.I design and handcraft books in my home studio located in Westport, Ky., right on the Ohio River bank. I like to call my book making studio the old newspaper room because I dream of someday filling all my handmade books with stories, poetry and artwork. Right outside my door, between me and the river, is a wonderful shade tree we have filled with feeders and bird houses. Our upstairs balcony serves as a pretend tree house that we use morning and night to relax with coffee and our bird friends. In my studio, I keep my passion of collecting vintage books and magazines under control by finding uses for their timeworn pages and pictures in making covers for my books.

I have met many wonderful artists and am always amazed and inspired by talking and sharing the stories of triumph and tribulations we all seem to encounter. Always, I am encouraged to continue and carry on what I do. Making art is a lifestyle I choose every day. One of my latest challenges is hand making my own paper to use. It is rewarding, after a day of dipping, pouring and drying, to be able to admire the sheerness of a sheet of overbeaten fiber pulp paper and feel it kindle a fire of ideas for my handmade books. I also use wet handmade paper to sculpt 30 objects.

It is wise for me to follow the sage advice of Tim the Toolman's father to measure twice and cut once when I am preparing folios, signatures, book boards, covers and spines. Although I usually tear purchased recycled papers for signatures, I pour handmade paper with deckled edge the size I am going to use. Most of my books contain hand-sewn signatures, although I occasionally glue cut paper edges for some of the lower priced books that are used as memo books or small note books. Hand sewing the Coptic stitch is my favorite techniques of binding as the rhythm and flow of the needle is relaxing and rather amazing as it comes together.

I have followed the artist's path since I was very young with a few stopovers as shopkeeper, bookkeeper and mother, but I continued to study, practice, and learn techniques to help me become the contented artist that I am today.

Mary Kinney
Kinney Studio

Westport, Ky.

Telephone: 502-758-0893


Page last updated: June 8, 2016
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