Hélène Francoeur took her first bookbinding lessons from Léon Gamache, at his bindery in Chicoutimi (1985). She moved to Québec City in 1992, where she opened her own bindery. Mostly selftaught for the first years, she then went on to a more formal education with masters from Montréal, Toronto, Europe and the United States.

Her bindings were seen at many exhibitions, in Québec, Canada and Europe, and most of all in the “Une passion à quatre mains” exhibition held in Montréal (1998) and Québec (1999). The National Library of Canada commissioned its “Livre d’Or” from her. She won the William Cowley Award for Fine Binding in 1998 (Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists’ Guild).

She is known for the way she respects the book’s mechanism and specially for her capacity to reflect the book’s subject in a very simple but highly representative décor, most of the time with a playfull or joyfull hint to it.

She is interested in decorated papers and does her own paste papers and suminagashi. Bookbinding brought her into fine press printing which she learned in 1998. She owns a small platen press.

An active member of many bookbinders associations, she also loves teaching bookbinding and the book arts, all of this hoping to promote a craft and an art she believes in.

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Bookbinding can lead to many different things, for instance playing the part of an Ursuline nun, during Les Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France, in Québec City.

Techniques did not change a lot,
clothing did !

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Miroirs et reflets, a bookbinding exhibition at the 2002 Québec’s International Bookfair

Teaching bookbinding techniques is important to me

The hands of a bookbinder never lay idle

My bindery on Cartier street, the third one since I started in the trade in February 1992. These days, it’s in a different bindery, filled with light, that you can find me, at 3064 St.Samuel Avenue, Québec.

© copyright Denis Larocque, photographer & webmaster