Timothy Ely

Colfax, Washington


Drum leaf binding with black leather spine; pastepaper endleaves; text in ink on paper. This unique manuscript was drawn between New York City, Colorado Springs, and Colfax, and tracks the labs, events, and cycles of Nikola Tesla. 36 x 24 x 2 centimeters. Created 2005.

Timothy Ely was born in 1949, and began making books as an errant child in 1957. Interests in UFOs, alchemy, comic books, bones, and arcane religious artifacts led him from painting and design work to bookbinding. The recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, he traveled to Japan and Europe for training in traditional eastern and western methods of bookmaking. His unique books play upon his interest in sacred geometry and particle physics, and a fascination with the contemporary interaction between Eastern and Western thought. Embossing, incisions, dyes, tooling, paste, watercolor, metalwork, and printmaking are integral elements in his artwork, which combines conceptual art with traditional bookmaking techniques and materials. An innovator, he is responsible for the development of the “drum leaf” binding structure. He has authored The Flight Into Egypt as well as co-authored Synesthesia with Terence McKenna. During a brief foray into the world of conservation, he illustrated The Booklover’s Repair Manual. He is currently working on the soon to be released Planetary Collage Manual of Operations: Bookbinding for Bookbinders, A Sourcebook of Processes and Inspirations. Ely’s manuscript books can be found in collections worldwide.