blue bluer books:
blue bluer books is the fancy name for handmade books by Josh Hockensmith.
That's me with my wonderful wife Margarite, who made this website possible. I've been making handmade books since 1997. I developed my bookbinding skills working for seven years as a library conservation technician at UNC-Chapel Hill. In 2007 I transferred to UNC's Sloane Art Library.
I earned a BA in English from University of Richmond, Virginia in 1995. A year or two later, a friend gave me a journal from Japan, sewn in a traditional 4-hole stab binding. Seeing the sewing on the outside of the book was a revelation. It was the first time I'd ever thought about how a book was made, rather than just as a vehicle for its content.
Books are sophisticated, efficient, and expressive machines. In blue bluer books, I hope to make the most of the relationship between the book's contents and its structural elements. And to steal a phrase from John Lurie, I hope that they are strange and beautiful.
As well as a book artist, I'm a writer and translator. My poetry, haiku, and flash fiction have appeared in South x Southeast: Haiku and Haiku Arts, Oyster Boy Review, Cafe Irreal, Versal, and is forthcoming in Backwards City Review. I've translated two books of flash fiction by Bolivian author Emilio Martinez, News from Burgundia, and Macabria and other stories. Excerpts have appeared in Cafe Irreal, Narrative from Tropical Bolivia (ed. K. Richards, La Hoguera, 2003), the 2003 & 2004 anthologies of Bolivian literature published by the PEN/Bolivia organization, and Bolivian Studies Journal.