Carol Kearns

Norwich, England

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Announcement    A range of exquisite handmade artists' books with beautiful watercolour illustrations and elegant calligraphy that make perfect Christmas gifts. I post orders Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.


Last updated on 08 Nov, 2020

A range of exquisite handmade artists' books with beautiful watercolour illustrations and elegant calligraphy that make perfect Christmas gifts. I post orders Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.



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Carol Kearns

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Carol Kearns


Average item review
5 out of 5 stars


I’m happy to post gifts direct to the recipient with a simple wrapping of tissue paper and a Christmas stamp gift tag. Just select the ‘Gift Message’ option at the checkout and message me with the recipients name and address - I’ll do the rest! giftgiftgift
My original illustrations in a teabag sachet shaped book. Eight exquisite illustrations featuring beautiful vintage teacups. The perfect gift for lovers of tea. Only ONE available.
These little artist’s books make delightful gifts. Choose between ‘British Butterflies’ or ‘Tulips’ at £18 a piece - or select one of each for just £30. They’re also easy to wrap and very postable - I can even send them direct to the recipient. gift
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About TheMuseumShelves

Sales 457
On Etsy since 2011
Video summary: My first interactive pop-up, this allows you to move the wings of the butterflies, so mimicking the movement of actual butterflies while feeding and basking on these flower heads. It also allows you to play with the book in a whole new way!

Exquisite limited edition hand made artist’s books featuring delicate watercolour illustrations, traditional calligraphy and hand marbled paper...

I returned to my love of art after a career in personnel. My epiphany moment occurred when driving between business appointments on a sunny day in Norfolk when my life was (almost literally) turned upside down by a tractor crashing into me. Such moments make you stop and reflect and I realised that art, and not HR, is what I wanted to do with my life. And so began my journey from personnel director to artist.

Scroll on a few years to the final project of my Degree in Illustration at Norwich University of the Arts. I’m a collector by nature so ‘Wunderkammer’ or ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ could have been designed for me. With exceptional access to the Victorian Natural History Collections at the Norwich Castle Museum I was inspired by my research into the collections to start using my watercolour illustrations and calligraphy to produce artist’s books. These books had to feel as exquisite to hold and as special to look at as the individual collections that had inspired them.

Each book takes about a year to produce, often longer. The initial research trips to natural history collections, local archives or specialist collections are followed by substantial reading into and around the subject. Then starts the meticulous process of planning a book. Storyboards are developed into prototypes with many changes and adjustments along the way. The paper engineered pop-ups are not only designed at prototype stage but are made in the actual materials from which the book will be constructed to ensure they work time and again within the books. Specialist paper was sourced by my local printer that would accurately reproduce the watercolour illustrations and also be strong enough to support the paper engineered structures. Book cloth samples are sourced and many papers are hand marbled to get the one exact match for both book cloth and subject.

When researching the Fountaine-Neimy Butterfly Collection at Norwich Castle Museum I was privileged to have unprecedented access to the diaries that the Victorian lepidopterist Margaret Fountaine had left to the museum. The journals, with their marbled detailing, inspired me to learn the craft of marbling paper so that I could have unique marbled endpapers in each of the books. The delicate and elegant style of the artwork with its detailed watercolour illustrations and dip-pen and ink calligraphy, together with the paper engineering, produces books which appearing fragile. But each book is slowly and carefully constructed by hand using traditional bookbinding skills and materials sourced within the UK to build an artist’s book that will last.

To date, I have produced limited edition paper engineered pop-up hand made books on the subjects of ‘Butterflies’, ‘Shells’, ‘Eggs’, ‘British Butterflies’ and ‘Tulips’ and these are now in private collections all around the world. My work has been described as quintessentially English, charming and with a vintage feel. Each book is an exquisite work of art to be held, opened, explored, and treasured.

Shop members

  • Carol Kearns

    Owner, Designer

    My limited edition handmade pop-up artist's books evolve out of my interest in art, crafts and mathematics. The book making process is one of designing through making and cherishing every aspect of the books’ hand crafted manufacture.

Production partners

  • Eco Colour Print

    Norwich, England

    A local printing company who produce my beautiful postcards.

  • Saxon Digital Services

    Norwich, England

    A local company who professionally print my small edition books on high quality paper and who print my limited edition books on archival quality paper to a superb standard. They also print my fine art giclée prints.

Shop policies

More information

Last updated on 18 Mar, 2020
Frequently asked questions
Gift wrapping and packaging

Yes, I offer a gift wrap and gift message service - just select these options at the checkout. I can post gifts direct to the recipient - just let me know their details and postal address.

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