Book conservator thinks big with micro creations BY ERIN MCCRACKEN email@example.com
Kyla Ubbink is putting ‘a little literature in the world.’ That has, in fact, become the tagline of her newfound hobby, crafting some of the smallest books in Ottawa. The Ottawa resident, who has worked in book and paper conservation and restoration for 17 years, recently started applying her expertise to create books no bigger than a thumb tip, with legible text and images, even a folding map in one tome. “That’s what’s driving this is definitely the challenge; it’s the challenge of being able to do it, of doing it like you make a big book, but in miniature,” said Ubbink, owner FOR SALE
made.” She began with a tiny Bible, bound in black leather, and moved on to Grimm’s Fairy Tales and The Night Before Christmas. There are also titles by her “three favourite Roberts”: Robert Service, Robert Burns and Robert Frost, as well as Treasure Island and Black Beauty. Her creations range in size from half an inch to an inch. Over the course of developing her new hobby, Ubbink has learned her tiny books are unique in the region. “To my knowledge I’m the only one in Ottawa doing miniature books,” she said. Ubbink has also fielded a few requests for James Joyce’s Ulysses. Someone suggested
of Ubbink Book & Paper Conservation. Her pint-sized passion was inspired when she was invited in recent months to give a talk to the Miniature Enthusiasts of Ottawa at the Heron Road Community Centre in Herongate. Members craft everything from miniature tools to pottery items to doll houses. “I thought maybe if I’m going into this group, I’d try and make a miniature,” said Ubbink, who subsequently learned that a lot of commercially available miniature books either aren’t legible or don’t open all the way because they are glued rather than sewn at the spine. “They inspired me to see if I could make a miniature book the same way a big book was
Kyla Ubbink holds up a copy of a miniature book she created to scale that is both leatherbound and legible. By day she restores books and paper, but by night she transforms tomes into tiny treasures as part of her newfound hobby. pictures and another with just the text. “I was thinking of maybe doing War and Peace and leaving out all the war,” Ub-
Anne of Green Gables and a friend has asked for A Christmas Carol. Ubbink wants to create two volumes of Audubon’s Elephant, one in FOR SALE
bink said with a laugh. “I’ll certainly leave out all of Tolstoy’s treatise on war.” See KEEPSAKES, page 23
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Published on Dec 28, 2017