Eric Alstrom, book artist, binder and conservator, of Okemos, Michigan, has been involved in the book arts since 1989.

Eric received his initial training as a conservator and binder in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While in Ann Arbor, he worked at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan as an assistant conservator under James Craven, while learning how to conserve a variety of historical bindings. He also worked at the Bessenberg Bindery, heading their book repair department as well as helping in the production of small editions and one-of-a-kind books.

Eric at the bench

Between 1994 and 2004, Eric lived and worked first in Athens, Ohio at Ohio University and then in Hanover, New Hampshire at Dartmouth College. At both institutions, he headed the conservation lab, working on both the circulating general collections and the special holdings of rare books and manuscripts. Other highlights included designing state-of-the-art conservation labs at both Ohio U and Dartmouth, developing several new binding techniques for pamphlet materials and softcover volumes, and teaching bookbinding for the Book Arts Workshop at Dartmouth College.

In April, 2004, Eric moved back to Michigan to head the conservation lab at Michigan State University Libraries in East Lansing. He is in the process, once again, of designing yet another conservation lab (the fourth of his career, his second at MSU), something he now considers one of his specialties. In fact, he is co-editor of a forthcoming book about planning and designing conservation labs. When not training staff and performing his myriad administrative tasks, Eric performs high level treatments on rare and valuable books from the MSU Libraries’ Special Collections Library.

Eric teaches binding and printing at MSU’s Residential College for the Arts and Humanities Book Arts Program He also teaches weekend workshops at Hollander’s in Ann Arbor as well as at other venues locally and nationally. He continues to create design bindings and artists books. He has exhibited books both across the United States as well as internationally.

Eric appreciates all comments and will answer all questions. Please email him at bookworks@webalstrom.ftml.net.


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