Home of the best independent businesses in Cambridgeshire

Helen Handmade Books

If there’s one word that sums up what Helen Perry can do it is ‘alchemy’ – the magic of how to change basic elements into other, more wonderous substances. Taking the humblest objects like paper, cardboard and glue, and using a small number of tools, Helen has the skills to turn these into the most exquisite handmade books and now she is sharing her knowledge with others.


After a career in social work followed by a move in to adult education, Helen looked at ways to combine the elements of skill-sharing and teaching she enjoyed with her life-long passions for books, crafting and sewing. All these aspects came together for Helen when she went along to her first bookbinding course run by friend Edel Hopkin. The ‘magic’ of being able to actually make a book hit Helen and she moved to working alongside Edel and then finally, in March 2019, taking on the business of running the courses herself. Which just goes to show how a hobby has become a true passion.


Helen runs a range of courses and supplies all the necessary materials and tools. The courses take place at The Stable Studio at Stapleford Granary – a beautiful, calm space perfect for learning and inspiring creativity.


The core course – Beginning Bookbinding – offered as both a five-week and full weekend course, in which Helen gives a comprehensive introduction to the basics of bookbinding with her students learning how to make different styles including case bound, quarter bound, concertina and stab stitch books. There are two other five-week and long weekend courses, The Wrap and The Artist’s Collection, as well as a range of one day classes covering other styles of binding from single-page loop binding to the beautiful Japanese-style album binding.