How I Became a Conservator: The Books Found Me.


 "How did you get into restoring old books?" This is probably one of the most common questions I receive when meeting people, and one of the hardest questions to answer. To be honest books have always found me; I didn't set out to be a conservator or bookbinder; I answered a call.

As a child I was the kid who stayed in my room reading rather than playing outside with the neighborhood kids. I took a book with me everywhere I went, even up through college, so I could read in any spare moment I had. I took my first bookbinding class 16 years ago while earning my undergraduate at BYU in Provo Utah, I learned how to restore books 12 years ago while working a part-time job at Utah State University Special Collections Library Conservation Lab:  I was earning my MFA in printmaking, a young husband and father, and I needed some cash. After graduating I taught  bookbinding as an art professor. Then I taught bookbinding workshops while running a printmaking studio. Then I restored books while working for an old friend in his garage-turned-studio. Finally, one day I stopped resisting and and answered the call; I realized I am a conservator and book binder. All those years of searching for a career, I'd already been building one. Four years ago, my wife and I started Eidolon House, a rare book restoration business; the search was finally over.

I do this work for my love of being an artist and making beautiful things, for my love of preserving history through books and old documents, for my life long relationship with books. But mostly I got into restoring books because they wouldn't let me do anything else.