Jarmila Jelena Sobotova
In 1978 Jarmila received her Master’s degree in Psychology at Charles IV University in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and became a professor of psychology at the Pedagogic College in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia. In 1982 Jarmila defected to Switzerland with Jan Sobota and began studying bookbinding and restoration with Jan, eventually becoming his assistant. In 1984, the Sobota family moved to Cleveland Ohio, where two years later Jan and Jarmila opened Saturday’s Book Arts Gallery. Here, they organized numerous national and international exhibitions, published catalogs, gave workshops and lectures, and opened their School of Bookbinding and Restoration. Along with her professional work, Jarmila also continued her education at The Cleveland Institute of Art. In 1990, when the Sobotas moved to Dallas, Texas, Jarmila began working in her private Book Arts Studio, and at the Bookbinding and Restoration Learning Center in Ohio. From 1991 to 1993, she studied drawing and painting with Dr. Dana Adams, who along with Jan Sobota greatly influenced her book-art work. In 1996 they returned to the Czech Republic to work in the Sobotas’ Book Arts Studio and Gallery in Loket. Today, Jarmila is known for her innovative, sensitive, psychological approach to design bindings and as the originator of book-painting. Her work is included in numerous private and public collections, and has often been shown internationally at fine bookbinding and art exhibitions (more than fifty collective and ten solo shows), and has been published in many professional journals.
“I wanted to use the same material and structure as was used centuries ago, but I also wanted my design to be contemporary. I modified the old binding structure and created the look of a big medieval manuscript using wooden boards, wide raised bands, and a huge brass clasp. The combination of a miniature book with the visual perceptual image of an enormous old book gives it a feel of a book about books. When creating a design, I fall back on my original profession of psychology, to incorporate the story and its ideas, which influence my choice of materials. Thus, this book combines the perceptual feel of paper, the visual feel of illustrations, the print, and size of the book to reflect my interpretation of You Can Judge a Book By its Cover.”