The beginning…

Italy is where I grew up, my cultural background. I was lucky enough to be born in a town very close to the gorgeous Dolomite mountains—where I spent all my summer vacations—and the unique city of Venice. Both of those places have always been a source of inspiration in my life. In high school, I received a degree in art—Liceo Artistico—and then pursued a degree in physical education in college.
In 1997 I moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where I currently live with my husband and son.  I have always believed that our life’s experiences are all connected even when we don’t see that connection right away.  This is how my bookbinding journey began:

Back in 2006, I got two calls a few weeks apart, from my oldest twin brothers. They both had great news, “We’re going to have a baby.” I thought it was such a beautiful coincidence that they would have children born at the same time and I really wanted to give them something special. I decided to illustrate a children’s story one of them had written a few years earlier. It was something I had always wanted to do and this was the perfect occasion. It took me 8 months to complete all of the drawings.

During this time, I also took a bookbinding course at the Center for Book Arts.   When my nephew, Alessandro, and niece, Viola, were born on the same day—even though the due dates were almost three weeks apart (unbelievable right?!)—the books were ready.  My brothers’ looks of surprise when they got their books were the best reward I could have received.  

I knew then that I wanted to use my passion and skills to share this experience with others.   After that first bookbinding class at CBA, I took many other classes to explore different binding techniques.  Barbara Mauriello introduced me to the world of portfolio boxes.  Her dedication and creativity opened up a new world for me. Since then, I have been following my passion for creating handmade objects and for collecting and preserving art and memories. These boxes and books will treasure what you treasure for years to come.

— Stefania Giabardo