Bookmaking with Rachael Gootnick of Just Terrific

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(photography by Jacalyn Meyvis of Jacalyn Meyvis Photography)

My name is Rachael Gootnick and I am the lady behind Just Terrific, a small bookmaking and design studio. Born and raised in Rochester, I’ve been inclined to stick around for a variety of reasons. Family being the first and foremost reason, but also because of the amazingly supportive artist community.

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A book lover and crafter my entire life, my true love for bookmaking started at RIT where I studied Printing and Publishing. After working in publishing for several years after graduation, it wasn’t until I saw a distinct turn (some may say a decline, but I prefer to call it a shift) in the publishing industry, that I decided to leave my full-time job as a book designer to start my own book making business.

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Working with my hands to create one-of-a kind books brings me great satisfaction. I love selecting my materials, all which start flat, and transforming them, fold by fold, into functional objects. I use sewing techniques created centuries ago, and work with timeless materials guaranteed to last hundreds of years in the future. My book repairs and restorations use a constructional approach to bring life back to old and broken books. My miniature books are created from scraps I’ve cut from my larger books. I find it very important to reuse and recycle materials. As an example, some of my favorite leather pieces started out as a motorcycle jacket.

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I’m grateful that people see my vision for Just Terrific, and can appreciate the handmade books I craft. My hope is that every book I create ends up filled with memories and stories, making them a true keepsake. We use temporary technology so much, like text messages and snapchats, that archiving our thoughts and feelings inside of a book allows us to remember what’s truly important. I feel strongly in the lasting power that a book can hold. Some people say books are dead, but I think they are more alive and treasured than ever.

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