creating beautiful journals and books

Bespoke boxes and magical housings

The highlight of my recent trip to the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington was meeting up with Conservation Technician Nina Zimowit who has been making bespoke boxes and containers for over 70 of my artist’s books in the library’s New Zealand & Pacific and Rare Books & Fine Printing collections.

Nina and her co-workers in the Conservation Department are all fine artists and craftspeople in their own right and the results of their work are exceptional. Some of the boxes that Nina has made are works of art in themselves – enabling my books (which are all shapes and sizes including circular flower folds, star shaped, folding snake shapes, flag books and hexagonal structures) to magically pop up and lift out of their casing for viewing. In the photographs here, my books are in the centre with the magical ‘housings’ containing them.

Marama Warren and Nina Zimowit

I loved being in the conservation department and felt completely at home there with the people, the book presses, guillotines and rolls of Japanese papers.


With Laura Mirebeau Conservator Books/Paper (left) and Nina Zimowit Conservation Technician (right).


I also met and talked with Team Leader Anoushka McGuire and Maia-Jeanne McAllister from the cataloguing team. It’s their job to describe each book in clear and concise language. Cataloguing unconventional book formats is a specialised skill! See the description of my Pianola Fan Book below*

Finally,  John Sullivan, Head of Curatorial Services, graciously took the time to give me an overall view of all the research functions of the library. The ATL is a mind-boggling resource, accessible to everyone. It even has a piano room where you can go and play or practise the piano or any other instruments.

There are records for all of my works on the library’s online catalogue. They can be located by searching the catalogue for “Marama Warren”. Unfortunately they aren’t digitised (yet) so if you want to see them, you can go in person when you are next in Wellington and order the books in advance.

Alexander Turnbull was the son of a wealthy businessman who, when he died in 1918, left his collection of over 55,000 volumes, manuscripts, paintings, photos and sketches to the Crown.


*Catalogue entry for

Pianola fan book / Marama Warren.

Marama Warren artist, binder, book designer

Milton, NSW : Marama Warren, 2016


Pianola fan book / Marama Warren.

ATL logo

3 comments on “Bespoke boxes and magical housings

  1. Sandy Aureli
    April 11, 2018

    How wonderful that the library is treating your work so reverently dear Marama. You look so very happy in that photo with the team – no wonder you felt so much at home with them!

  2. greengaze
    April 12, 2018

    I want to go and see your work in these amazing boxes! What a wonderful collaboration of creative spirits.

  3. Pearl Button
    April 23, 2018

    I love seeing how your beautiful books are housed. It’s so special!

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This entry was posted on April 11, 2018 by in Art, Bookmaking, Dreams, inspirations, My Portfolio and tagged .

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