Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Jessica Thalmann – Pamphlet Stitch Binding

Artist Jessica Thalmann presents a workshop that demonstrates how to create a simple pamphlet stitch binding. From this excellent resource, viewers will learn the specific tools, tips, and techniques to produce their own unique, dynamic handmade books from home. Thalmann also provides two of her own books, Losing Site and No Wind On The Moon, that were bound using the Pamphlet Stitch Binding as examples. 

For easy bookmaking at home and at the studio with paper you have on hand.

Materials Needed:
– A stack of letter sized bond paper to make the text block (4-6 sheets should be enough)
– Card stock or thicker paper for the covers (I’m using an old risograph print
– An awl
– Bookbinding needles
– A bone folder
– An exacto blade with number 11 tip
– Metal ruler with cork backing
– Sharpened pencil with eraser
– Thread, I am using embroidery floss but waxed linen or dental floss works too, just be creative!
– Tiny bulldog clips



Losing Site – Artist Book

Jessica Thalmann
24 pages, Edition of 50
8.5 x 5.5 inches
Inkjet Printed in full color with various handmade cuts, folds and tears throughout
Pamphlet stitch binding with Duralar cover and slipcase

Losing Site is an experimental handmade artist book by Jessica Thalmann examining the tricky link between photography and architecture. This bookwork brings together photographs taken throughout the United States focusing on Brutalist and Modernist architecture including Freeway Park in Seattle, Hollyhock House in Los Angeles and Keller Fountain in Portland. Various images focus on the contrast of textures and illustrate the lived experience of these geometric concrete structures being overwhelmed or subsumed by natural flora over time.

This bookwork is a limited edition hand sewn pamphlet stitch artwork that engages a haptic sensibility by making hand-made interventions such as various cuts, tears, and folds in the pages, often confusing real and photographic interventions within the same spread.

No Wind On The Moon – Artist Book

Jessica Thalmann & Ryan Van Der Hout
48 pages, Edition of 50
8 x 10 inches
Printed in full colour various handmade laser cuts, folds and interventions throughout
Pamphlet stitch binding with laser-cut and silver leafed softcover

No Wind on the Moon is a quirky contemplative re-examination of the iconic images from the Apollo mission to the Moon by two Canadian artists Jessica Thalmann and Ryan Van Der Hout. Both artists use archival documents to rethink the photography’s ability to deceive and reveal truths by simultaneously disfiguring and lauding filmic and photographic objects.

While elements of exploration, cold-war politics and expansive landscapes have been the subject of many photographers previously, this book emphasizes the mistakes, anomalies, reflections and double exposures that are riddled throughout the archive. Both artists cull the archive and intervene with the image and mistakes are mimicked and enhanced within the book as each artist folds, cuts, burns and tricks the viewer. Between pages, topographical depictions of cratered surfaces flows into the marks or holes made by the artists.

These images reveal the artifice and ultimate fallibility of the indexical nature of the photographic image. If these are meant as scientific and historic documents, in what way do they hide or reveal the truth? And while we understand that the moon has no atmosphere (and thus no wind or breeze) we still cling to the photograph’s magic and rest in its comfort and catharsis.


Jessica Thalmann is an artist and educator currently based in Toronto and New York City. She received an MFA in Advanced Photographic Studies from ICP-Bard College and a BFA in Visual Arts from York University. Thalmann has taught at the International Centre for Photography, Akin Collective, MacLaren Art Centre, Toronto School of Art, Gallery 44 and City College of New York. Her work has been shown in group exhibitions at Aperture Foundation, International Centre for Photography, Camera Club of New York Baxter St, and Humble Arts Foundation (New York), VIVO Media Arts Centre (Vancouver), Museum of Contemporary Art, Harbourfront Centre, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Angell Gallery, Gallery TPW, Art Spin, and Gales Gallery at York University (Toronto). Her first solo museum exhibition at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham is forthcoming.