About Bel Mills
Air Mail Envelopes
Have we met?
I'm Bel Mills, intrepid book artist and trusty guide on your upcycled bookbinding journey.
My home studio, Scrap Paper Circus, is nestled just outside the vibrant city of Washington DC., and it's where I hang my multiple hats as book artist, devoted teacher, and avid upcycler. Since 2016, I've been crafting one-of-a-kind handmade books from the most unexpected of sources--salvaged paper. But it's not just about me – I'm here to teach you how to unlock your inner book artist too!
Join Our Merry Band of Imaginative Book Artists
You see, we're not just bookbinders; we're creative adventurers who believe art is a way to re-imagine the world. We see magic concealed in ordinary materials and find potential where others might not. To us, a simple cereal box isn't boring; it's a book waiting to be born! Envelopes, cardboard boxes, paper sacks, even old file folders – these are our raw materials, ready to be transformed into extraordinary handmade books and mail art.
Embrace The Philosophy of "Enough"
Magically, this approach helps us shift away from our drive for "more" and towards a belief in "enough." We realize we have everything we need by looking at what we already have with new eyes. With this simple shift, we enter a world filled with possibility and joy, where we astonish ourselves with what we can create using the materials we have on hand.
You Can Do It, Too
Best of all, every one of my classes follows this philosophy. I’ll show you that you're surrounded by bookmaking supplies if you know where to look. This approach liberates us from the fear of "ruining" precious materials, encourages us to follow the call of creative experimentation, and infuses our book-making with a sense of freedom, whimsy, and delight! Our adventures result in clever, personalized journals that aren't just beautiful; they're an absolute joy to create and use.
My Artistic Journey
The seeds of Scrap Paper Circus were planted in 2015. After a decade dedicated to parenting, I embarked on a new adventure by enrolling in book arts classes at our local university. There, I was captivated by the Fluxus artists of the 1960s and 70s, who turned everyday materials like envelopes, magazine clippings, and photocopies into art and artist books.
Inspired, I began blending classic bookbinding techniques with found paper. The encouragement of a professor who purchased one of my original upcycled designs kindled a creative fire within me. Soon after, another instructor approached me, asking if I'd step into her teaching role at a nearby art center. And thus, my teaching career began!
After six fulfilling years of juggling teaching and selling handmade books on Etsy, I made a bold decision in 2022: I suspended my Etsy shop and devoted myself entirely to teaching. It's been an incredible journey, and I'm thrilled to have you along for the ride!
Embark On Your Creative Journey with Me!
Now, the moment you've been waiting for: My very first pre-recorded, on-demand class, Upcycled Bookbinding 101, is set to debut in the fall of 2023. 🎉
Want to know when it's available?
Sign up HERE to be in the loop along with my other subscribers!