This morning, while looking for something else entirely, I stumbled upon the stunning work of US-based bookbinder Monique Lallier.  I thought I’d use this post to share a flavour of her works with others.

Monique Lallier is, according to the Library of Syracuse University, an ‘internationally recognised’ bookbinder and book artist who trained in her native Canada and then in Paris and Switzerland with Hugo Peller.  She is now works and teaches out of studios in Summerfield, North Carolina which she shares with her husband, the renown English-born bookbinder Don Etherton.

Lallier’s work can be found in the collections of McGill University, Montreal; Louisiana State University, the University of North Carolina as well as in many private collections in the US, Europe, Canada and Japan (although, sadly, not in mine!).  She has exhibited extensively, including with the Guild of Bookworkers and is a Director of the American Academy of Bookbinding.  My interest in designer bookbinder is relatively new which may explain why I have not come across her work before – but given the beauty of her work, newness can’t excuse it.

This is one of my favourites from those I’ve seen so far.

La Petite Poule d’Eau bu Gabrille Roy, bound by Monique Lallier

In this example, Lallier has used a french binding technique and a process called lacunose, which involves sanding different pieces of leather as well as lots of time and muscle-power, to cover a copy of La Petite Poule d’Eau by Gabrielle Roy. La Petite Poule d’Eau tells the story of a village in Canada and Lallier has said of this binding that she was seeking to convey a sense of the village’s physical structure and its colourful characters.  I think it works.

This lovely kangeroo blue leather binding covers Emile Zola’s La Fete a Coqueville.

Emile Zola’s La Fete a Coqueville, bound by Monique Lalllier

 The circular onlays have once again been created using lacunose.  It has french embroidered endbands and edge to edge doublure (decorative lining on the inside) of red leather.  The raised circular onlays remind me of raindrops landing.


This beautiful binding of Lost and Found – a work about the illustrator Rachel Rackett – has a special and wholly appropriate feature, a section which is hidden, or lost, just waiting to be found.

Lost and Found, bound by Monique Lallier

The black leather binding, with its elegant, decorative, crumbled stripes appears simple enough.  But explore a little further and the binding reveals a secret compartment which can be folded out to reveal a tumbling, crazy-made urban panel.

Lost and Found, with the secret panel revealed

The secret panel technique is, according to the Herringbone Bindery, unique to Lallier, who first developed it in 1985 for a binding of L’Ecorce et le Vent, where a panel opens out to reveal a layered forest of trees in a striking contrast colour.

L’Ecorce et Le Vent, bound by Monqiue Lallier


I would love to be able to add one of two of Lallier’s works to my collection.  But for the moment I shall have to content myself with virtual images.  And for that purpose, I’ve created a wee Monique Lallier Pininterest board, where you can see more of her works.  Lallier has a website with not one but two lovely image galleries.