Cathryn Miller’s Five Essential Tools for a Book Artist

Top to Bottom: a custom scribing tool, well used Olfa Model 5001, Olfa swivel cutter with scalpel blade, ruler, and hemostat

Cathryn Miller

Book Artist. Byopia Press, Blog, Instagram

In my practice I create artist’s books and content-sensitive altered book works. I rarely use the sewn codex as a format, so I did not include an awl —I have three lovely ones in different sizes made for me by my partner David— or a needle. My two most used tools in any project are a home-made scoring/scribing tool and an Olfa snap-off-blade knife. I also use a scalpel when cutting, especially curves. The eighteen inch steel rule is absolutely essential. The surgical forceps would not have made my list under normal circumstances, but I discovered that they were the only tool I own that would enable me to assemble my most recent artist’s book.

The tools I would miss most:

Bone folders (four at this point)
Glue brushes (though I have been known to use my fingers)
Swivel knife and Circle Tool
Set of graduated width steel rules
Kutrimmer 1080