Bitter Melon Bindery

Hand-bound Journals

Chanel Ly 李佩燕, artist and owner of Bitter Melon Bindery, is the creator of hand bound books that inspire creative habits. The intention bound into each book is to elicit delight and inspire creativity. Just like us, no two books are the same. Bitter melon is an unattractive, bitter vegetable that tastes surprisingly delicious when stir-fried with black bean sauce. It has an unforgettable taste that Chanel would complain about as a child because it stays bitter no matter how it’s cooked. She grew to appreciate her cultural roots and its bitterness over time.

Bookbinding is one of many processes to help heal and reconnect to Chanel’s inner self and inner child. Crafting has always been a way to retreat, as a tactile person who learns to be creative by doing. She loves losing herself in a book project. To her, making books is a selfish act after having been taught to prioritize everything else over mental and emotional wellbeing. Building Bitter Melon Bindery has been healing for Chanel in ways that she didn’t anticipate. See more at Bitter Melon Bindery and @bittermelonbindery.

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