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Davenport’s Big River Bindery works wonders with words

There’s a lot of history outside Big River Bindery in Davenport. “Everything has a story that comes with it,” said owner Andrew Huot. Huot bri...

There's a lot of history outside Big River Bindery in Davenport.

"Everything has a story that comes with it," said owner Andrew Huot.

Huot brings those stories back to life.  He's been doing it for more than 20 years.

"There's plenty of material out there that needs to be taken care of," he said.

Andrew is a book binder and conservator.  He might be the only one in Iowa.

The Davenport artist takes well-loved books and restores them.

"It's really enjoyable meeting people and hearing the stories that go behind the object," he said.

Inside his new shop in Davenport's Hilltop Campus Village, Andrew does not keep up with the times.  That's just the way he likes it.

Some days you'll find him setting type the old-fashioned way.  He uses a letterpress technique that technology dismissed a half-century ago.

Just like his books, what's old can be new again.

"Doing things by hand has come back as more people spend less time working with their hands," he said.

Andrew blends creativity with conservation.  It's a way to preserve history in a contemporary way.

While each project is unique, services generally cost between $100-300.

For Andrew, though, it's really about a passion for the printed word.  Something that won't be replaced by tablets and computers.

"I have enough love of the book and a history using books that I really just love being able to hold that thing," he said.

The shop, 230 West 15th Street, Davenport, is a dream come true.  Andrew plans to offer workshops that will make use of the campus connections at St. Ambrose University and Palmer College.

Plus, there's plenty of work.

"The book is not going to die anytime soon," he concluded.

For Big River Bindery, it's a real success story.

The shop is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10-3, or by appointment at (309) 660-5583.

For more information, http://bigriverbindery.com

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