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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).

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

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.

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

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, bound 2020
128 x 173 x 10 mm

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
140 x 200 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
147 x 222 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.

Fleischman on Punchcutting by Johann Michael Fleischman
The Steadfast Tin Soldier of Joh. Enschede en Zonen, Haarlem by Ernst Braches
Spectatorpers by Bram de Does, Aartswoud 1994 & 1992
Designed, hand set and letterpress printed by Bram de Does
189 x 263 x 15 mm / 14.5 mm
Bound in 2018

Bram de Does

Full leather binding in light brown (Fleischman…) and blue grey (The Steadfast…) goatskins with hand tooling in various colours. The colour of the leather was chosen to go with the colour for the initials (drop caps) used in each book. Leather joints and doublures. Hand sewn silk headbands.

Both books are designed and printed by Bram de Does, a well-known Dutch type and book designer, and are set in rare types which cannot be found in digital forms. The design of the binding is inspired by two typefaces used in each book and Bram de Does’ celebrated work ‘Kaba Ornament’ which has his researches on endless combinations of patterns, ornaments and borders. The selected punctuation marks (pilcrow, dagger, section sign, brackets, dash…) and numbers are used to create patterns and playful movement of the shapes.

The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
Folio Society, London 2010
Illustrated by Simon Pemberton
163 x 226 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
139 x 214 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