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If you have questions about our products, custom work, or if you have general questions about bookbinding, letterpress, or toolmaking we would love to hear from you!


Nashville, Tennessee 37211

Crowing Hens Bindery is a one-woman bindery and letterpress print shop that specializes in traditional handmade blank books, letterpress printed stationery, limited edition fine art prints, unique book jewelry & letterpress-printed decorative papers. As the owner of a Nashville-based private business, I do my best to honor the heritage of fine craft and art that saturates my community and region. All of my products are designed and made by hand in Nashville, Tennessee from high quality materials available using traditional bookbinding techniques. I aspire to create beautiful, useful work that becomes a part of your everyday life.

Blog

Bookbinding, printmaking, and toolmaking are elements of my business and my profession but they're not necessarily in step with today's fast paced digital culture. 

This blog, "Meet Mary" will be an opportunity for me to demystify my work and allow me to describe my products and their manufacture in greater detail. Whether I'm working on a production run for a new run of springbacks, developing a new line of decorative papers, or experimenting with new techniques or materials for boutique tools, my goal is for you to be able to see my work in progress and get to know me as a person, craftsman, and small business owner.

#ShopSmall and make a BIG difference!

Mary Sullivan

Handmade Books • Letterpress Printed Stationery & Art
• Gifts for Book Lovers •

This time of year you begin to hear a lot about shopping small, shopping local, and supporting small businesses. But what does it mean to "shop small" and why does supporting local small businesses matter?

If you’ve visited Crowing Hens Bindery a show here in Middle Tennessee, you locked eyes and shook hands with the business owner responsible for designing and manufacturing everything in that booth. Every journal, notebook, print, and piece of stationery and jewelry that you saw was made by my head, heart, and my two hands. Meeting and getting to know the maker one-on-one, that dynamic is unique to small businesses!

The truth is, my love of bookbinding is only in part due to my fascination with how books are made. It’s ultimately how my books are used, who uses them that drives my book obsession. It's the curious romance we have all cultivated for this living, breathing artifact that has helped shape who we are and how we communicate with each other. 

When you show interest in my work, ask how it’s made, and how in the world I got into my craft, we are building the sort of relationship that brings meaning to my work. Half of my job is in the design and making of my work. The other half is getting to know the people like you who have chosen to make my work a part of your everyday lives.

You wanted unique, deluxe journals that won’t fight you or break when you write in them, so I developed my Scribe springback journals.

You asked for convenient, pocket-sized notebooks for everyday note taking with a variety of ruled page designs, so I developed my Daybooks and Scratchbooks.

You wanted to continue to stay in touch with family & friends with a personal touch, so I’ve continued to expand my letterpress printed stationery line, including my newest William Morris monogram stationery.

And you wanted to show off your eternal love of the book every day, so I developed my handmade book earrings and pendant necklaces.

Small businesses like mine rely on being able to develop these special relationships with you so that we can make meaningful work that makes your lives richer for living with our work. I want to thank you for all of the support you’ve given me over the past few years. With your patronage, input, and encouragement, Crowing Hens Bindery continues to grow into the symbiotic book and print champion that I dreamed of years ago.
 
To show my appreciation, I’d like to share with you an exclusive promotional code to both my online store as well as my Etsy store (yes, I have one of those too!) It’s good for free ground or priority shipping on any order of $150 or more. Just enter the code “CYBERCHICKEN” at checkout at crowinghensbindery.com or crowinghensbindery.etsy.com between now and December 31st to redeem your coupon. Remember that shipping cutoffs to receive your orders for the holidays is December 15th!

Thank you again, from the bottom of my inky, paper heart. I couldn’t do this without you!

Yours in book love, chicken scratch, and gratitude, 

Mary L. Sullivan

*Please add crowinghensbindery@gmail.com to your email contact list and follow me on Instagram (@crowinghensbindery) Twitter (@crowinghensbind) and on Facebook!

((P.S. Please remember that many of the local small businesses in your area—just like Crowing Hens Bindery—may not have brick and mortar stores but you can support them too by shopping online! Indie Nash (The Nashville Independent Business Alliance) is a great resource for Nashville-based small businesses!))

 

Come visit me at my last two shows of 2016!


My final two shows of the year in December are the Studio Be Holiday Market December 2-3 in West Nashville and once again I'll be in the Victorian Trades Demonstration Village in costume in historic Franklin for Dickens of a Christmas December 10-11. Both of these events are free, family friendly, and open to the public!

Come enjoy the food, festivities, music, costumes and demonstrations! I'm so glad to be a featured demonstrator again this year! The Victorian style journals that I sewed last year at the festival will be available for sale exclusively at this year's Dickens of a Christmas. This year's sewn books will be available next year!

Come enjoy the food, festivities, music, costumes and demonstrations! I'm so glad to be a featured demonstrator again this year! The Victorian style journals that I sewed last year at the festival will be available for sale exclusively at this year's Dickens of a Christmas. This year's sewn books will be available next year!

 

Welcome back, #Booktober

Mary Sullivan

Every year when the leaves begin to turn, the air becomes crisp, and we wait for morning frost on the grass, I know we've come to my favorite month of the year, October! Why October? Well, it's birthday month for me and my two siblings and Mom makes the most incredible chocolate chip cookies ever—that is if she can keep us from eating all of the dough first!

Plus, there's Halloween. Love Halloween. I can also start to at least think about digging out my sweaters and scarves, make a list of the things that I could knit (but never seem to have time to) and then, of course, I bind a lot of books. I mean A LOT of books. I call this time Booktober.

My absolute favorite binding is the Springback binding. This is a demonstration of how a springback operates before the custom laminated card spring and split boards are covered by leather and decorative papers. 

My absolute favorite binding is the Springback binding. This is a demonstration of how a springback operates before the custom laminated card spring and split boards are covered by leather and decorative papers. 

Right around October, for those of you who aren't in the craft/trade show circuit, you may not know is that there's a short lull between the slew of shows during the hottest, miserable months of the year and the gradual pedal-to-the-metal snowballing of shows that begin to fill nearly every weekend until the end of December.

I do a lot of bookbinding demos at trade shows and festivals towards the end of the year. Last year at "Dickens of a Christmas" in historic Franklin, TN I dressed in Victorian garb and sewed books on a frame, a traditional production binding method used at a time when the trade was becoming more mechanized.

I do a lot of bookbinding demos at trade shows and festivals towards the end of the year. Last year at "Dickens of a Christmas" in historic Franklin, TN I dressed in Victorian garb and sewed books on a frame, a traditional production binding method used at a time when the trade was becoming more mechanized.

During this brief lull, as an artist and small business owner, I begin to prepare for this high-selling time by checking inventory, advertising, filling orders, and of course making new work. It's a season that many small businesses like mine depend on, to finish out the year on a high note. It's a time not just to sell work, but also to make connections, meet lots of new people, and connect with the people that use my books. 

The majority of my work is useful and perishable. Not perishable in the sense that it will spoil or that my books will fall apart, but perishable in that I design every book to be thoroughly and lovingly used to the very last page—written in, drawn in, carted around in a satchel, and tossed on counter tops at the coffee shop. The bottom line is that I build my books to last. Nothing makes me happier than being contacted by a former client who's just finished the last page and is back for a second or third journal.

During the month of #Booktober, I step outside of my usual bookbinding comfort zone by using different materials and methods of binding. This watercolor journal uses a walnut-dyed, handmade flax paper as a cover, thick watercolor paper, and decorative stitching on the spine! 

During the month of #Booktober, I step outside of my usual bookbinding comfort zone by using different materials and methods of binding. This watercolor journal uses a walnut-dyed, handmade flax paper as a cover, thick watercolor paper, and decorative stitching on the spine! 

These are the sorts of things that I think about in October, as I'm powering through my last production cycle of the year. Binding new books, working with beautiful materials like leather, linen blend cloths, and gorgeous papers in a range of hues and jewel tones that I haven't had a chance to use all year. Booktober is an opportunity for me to let loose in the bindery and mix all of these wonderful materials to make books that would otherwise never come into being.

CHB papers

To share this manic binding time with the world, I also share photos, quotes, and "did you knows" on social media. This year, I'm also doing something a little different. Every day in the month of Booktober (starting Monday the 3rd), I'll list one unique blank book for sale and share the live link to that one-of-a-kind book on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Every day a new book will be offered up and once it's gone, it's gone. I'm looking forward to #Booktober. Won't you join me?

Be sure to follow me on social media to get your hands on the daily #Booktober offering!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CrowingHensBindery
Instagram: @crowinghensbindery https://instagram.com/crowinghensbindery/
Twitter: @crowinghensbind https://twitter.com/CrowingHensBind
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/crowinghensbind/

Art, Wine & Springbacks!

Mary Sullivan

Join me Tuesday evening, June 28th from 7-11pm at the legendary local wine and entertainment hub City Winery in Nashville, Tennessee for 'TREND' an exclusive arts, fashion, and music event hosted by RAW:Artists Nashville featuring the city's most buzzworthy up-and-coming creative talents! Tickets are only $15 each and tickets purchased on the Crowing Hens Bindery RAW:Artists page will also be entered in a drawing to win a deluxe handmade springback journal—an $85 value!!! 

*One entry per ticket, multiple tickets equal multiple entries. Tickets purchased elsewhere on the site are not eligible for this drawing.

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I am no machine.

Mary Sullivan

Occasionally it occurs to me, especially after craft shows, that most people automatically assume that the paper products that they buy, say postcards or greeting cards, are printed from precut sheets. This is a half truth.

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