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Haein Song

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Haein is an artist working primarily with books as her medium. She uses traditional bookbinding techniques to create unique or limited edition books, while employing a variety of printmaking methods (including linocut, drypoint, photopolymer etching, cyanotype and monoprint) for the endpapers of the books and for artist’s books.

Haein was born in Seoul and studied BA Graphic Design at Seoul National University, South Korea. She moved to London in 2005 and graduated in MA Communication Design at Central Saint Martins. She began studying bookbinding at Studio 5 during her MA and continued since then. She worked for various binderies in London including Book Works, and now mainly focuses on fine binding commissions and her own artist’s books.

Her fine bindings and artist’s books are held in many private collections in the UK and USA, and in public collections including The British Library (UK), Wellcome Collection (UK), Library of Congress (USA), Stanford University (USA), Yale University (USA), Harvard University (USA), Amherst College (USA) and Morgan Library (USA).

The Fragments of Parmenides
Editions Koch, Berkeley 2003
Letterpress printed by Peter Koch
Illustrated with five wood engravings by Richard Wagener
Translated by Robert Bringhurst
Unique copy of an edition of 146
418 x 255 x 19 mm
Bound in 2022

Contemporary bradel binding in black goatskin with hand-cut onlays in white alum tawed goatskin. Black leather joints and doublures. Hand sewn orange silk endbands with highlight colours. The binding is housed in a black and orange cloth-covered Solander box with the title in matt silver on the spine.

The book contains twenty Greek fragments of a poem composed by Parmenides. The text is accompanied by five hand-printed abstract wood engravings by Richard Wagener. The design directly derives from the two of the wood engravings. The shift in perspective by zooming into Wagener’s images reveals details which we might not normally perceive. This changing perspective looks to reflect certain themes—macro & micro / absolute & relative / what is & what isn’t—within Parmenides’ writing.

The Botanical City by Hélèna Dove & Harry Adès
Hoxton Mini Press, London 2020
75 colour botanical illustrations by various artists (originally for Flora Londinensis)
295 x 194 x 21 mm
Bound in 2021

Full leather binding in yellow goatskin with 62 back-pared onlays in 26 colours. Leather joints and doublures in yellow goatskin. The endpaper sections are printed using linoleum blocks in 8 different colours on a FAG Swiss Proof 40. Hand sewn silk endbands. The design comes from an abstract composition featuring the silhouetted forms of 43 plants from the book.

Ornamental Digressions by Russell Maret
Russell Maret, New York 2016
Letterpress printed by Russell Maret
Unique copy of an edition of 100
368 x 264 x 16 mm
Bound in 2021

Ornamental Digressions

Full leather binding in grey goatskin with back pared onlays in 7 colours. Grey leather joints and doublures. Endpapers have been screen printed. Hand sewn silk headbands with highlight colours. The binding is housed in a grey cloth-covered Solander box with the title in light grey with 7 coloured letters to reflect the colours of the onlays.

The book contains various compositions of pinwheel ornaments exploring what the ornaments were not supposed to do as opposed to what they could do. Each page comes with quotes from various sources including Ruskin, Dickens, Cobden-Sanderson, Shakespeare, Morris and Goethe. The ornaments are made up of three unique shapes – circle, tilted parenthesis and dagger variation. When moving from the cover to the endpaper and from the endpaper to the pages, I wanted to create a sense of perspective with changes in scale. The cover design is a composition of three unique shapes separated and scaled 7 to 50 times larger. The endpaper is screen printed using the shapes scaled 8 times larger.

Hungry Bibliophiles by Russell Maret
Russell Maret, New York 2015
Letterpress printed by Russell Maret
Unique copy of an edition of 75
314 x 225 x 18 mm
Bound in 2021

Full leather binding in rust goatskin with various coloured back pared onlays. Same colour leather joints and doublures with onlays. Hand sewn silk headbands with highlight colours. The binding is housed in a rust coloured cloth-covered Solander box with the title in dark red on the spine.

Initially started as a project on utilitarian papermaking, attempting to emulate the durable, aesthetically-pleasing paper of the pre-industrial era, the idea of a cookbook was conceived and the recipes were gathered from various book artists, scholars, and collectors. This original version of the book has pristine pages inside but the facsimile edition of the book – after being used by contributors while cooking the recipes – has various stains and marks from daily use. The binding reflects the idea from the facsimile edition by working with common shapes of stains from tomato sauces, liquid marks, wine, mustard and soy sauce as leather onlays.

La Prose du Transsibérien Re-creation by Blaise Cendrars & Sonia Delaunay
Two Hands Press by Kitty Maryatt, Playa Vista 2018
Images hand coloured (pochoir) by Kitty Maryatt
Poems letterpress printed by Richard Seibert
No. 15 of an edition of 150
369 x 102 x 22 mm
Bound in 2020

Full leather binding in natural goatskin with 77 back-pared onlays in 23 different colours. The doublures are also covered in natural goatskin so the lively colours are given space to breathe. The walls of the box are covered in 6 different colours and the spine of the box is titled in assorted colours to reflect the colours inside.

Sonia Delaunay was fascinated by colour and she saw it as a truly ‘universal’ expressive language. The design of the binding comes from the playful arrangement of the vibrant colours and abstract shapes of Delaunay’s original images.

In Principio
Doves Press, London 1911
173 x 128 x 10 mm
Bound in 2020

In Principio

Full leather binding in navy blue goatskin with hand tooling in gold and metallic shades with 7 highlight colours. Ultra flatback. Navy blue leather joints and doublures. Leather headbands with silk highlights in gold. The endpaper is printed on Somerset Book Soft White, which matches the colour of the handmade paper. The gradation of colours has been hand-inked and printed using a linoleum block.

It contains the opening of the Genesis creation narrative and the book is letterpress printed in red and black by the notable Doves Press. Design and colour are to represent symbolic beginnings. Three different sized dots (0.8, 1.0, 1.2mm) have been used to create the feeling of opening and bursting on the cover. The colours in the endpapers are inspired by the hues found in the dawn and dusk.

Molloy, Malone Dies and the Unnamable Samuel Beckett
John Calder, London 1959
First edition
200 x 140 x 37 mm
Bound in 2018

Beckett Trilogy

Full leather binding in medium grey goatskin. Grey leather joints and doublures. The endpapers have been printed using drypoint etching technique. Hand sewn silk headbands. Hand tooling in light grey shades.

Beckett’s three novels in non-traditional narrative explore the themes of the existentialist: One is born, one suffers and one dies. We must go on amid the evidence that life is meaningless, hopeless, full of despair and anguish. The design is to represent meaningless scratches one makes in order to carry on living (‘I can’t go on, I will go on.’). Tooling has been used as a method of creating texture (as opposed to a method of decorating accurately).

Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson
Folio Society, London 2016
Wood engravings by Jane Lydbury
222 x 147 x 21 mm
Bound in 2017 – 2019

Emily Dickinson

Full leather binding in white alum tawed goatskin with tooling in various shades of grey. White leather joints and doublures. Pencil drawn endpapers with a layer of Japanese paper. Hand sewn silk headbands.

The design and colour are to represent the stillness and seclusion of Dickinson’s life and to emphasise her idiosyncrasy by directly using the dashes from the poems. Dickinson’s unconventional use of dashes has been a great source of debate for interpretation to understand her poetry and it was heavily edited to conform to the norms of the time in her earlier editions. The manuscripts for all the poems in the book were studied and all the words are erased except dashes. Then all the pages are overlaid on top to create the design.

The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
Folio Society, London 2010
Illustrated by Simon Pemberton
226 x 163 x 37 mm
Bound in 2018

The Songlines

Full leather binding in brown goatskin with over a thousand goatskin inlays in various colours. Brown leather joints and doublures. Leather headbands with various coloured silk highlights. Hand printed endpapers using strings and acrylic paints.

The Songlines is a travelogue combining fiction, nonfiction, history and myth about Aboriginal culture. Chatwin journeys across Central Australia trying to understand the songlines and universalising what he sees in Aboriginal culture to defend his theory that man is essentially a nomadic creature. Design and colour are inspired by Aboriginal dot paintings from Papunya Tula Art Movement.

Mr. Palomar by Italo Calvino
Secker & Warburg, London 1985
First edition
214 x 139 x 10 mm
Bound in 2015

Mr Palomar

Full leather binding in orange goatskin with tooling in various colours. Same colour leather joints and doublures. Ultra flatback. Endpapers printed using cyanotype process. Navy leather headbands with orange silk highlights.

In 27 short chapters, Mr. Palomar makes philosophical observations about the world around him. Calvino describes a man on a quest to quantify complex phenomena in a search for fundamental truths on the nature of being. There is a thematic index at the end of the book and all the letters and punctuation marks from the titles of sections, subsections and chapters (i.e. 1. Mr. Palomar’s Vacation / 1.3.3. The Contemplation of the Stars) have been jumbled to create the cover of the book typographically.


Email: songhaein@gmail.com
Website: https://haeinsong.com
Instagram: @haeinsong_
Accepts Commissions: Yes