Location and contact information
Contact me at my Castro Valley, CA studio via email email@example.com or phone (510) 537-9711.
For complete contact information and directions to the studio go to the contact page
Who is Don Drake?
I'm a book artist, binder and programmer. I've been married for a shocking percentage of my life.
Current Focus: Creating, Teaching
In 2016 I brought 13 years of doing commission work to a close. This allowed me to shift focus to my book arts work. Production work on my existing editions and the creation of new work became the order of the day.
Once I have some stock on hand, I'll have to do some work developing markets. In the mean time, to generate some cash flow for the bindery now that I've stopped doing commissions, I'll be teaching.
I built my studio in 2012 with the intention of doing workshops but didn't really have time when I was binding for a living. I really love learning though, and what better way to learn than to teach!
When Dreaming Mind was a Bindery
I started my full time occupation as a binder in 2002 after a few years of planning, saving, and re-organizing my life and thoughts. The move from employee to sole proprietor was very difficult. There were a couple of lucky circumstances that I enjoyed without which, I'm not sure how successful I would have been.
First, my wife was accepting of the deep hit to our income and the uncertainty I brought to our lives.
Second, an Oregon binder, Hugh Stump (pictured here) was retiring and was selling his business. Though the annual sales were not large, there was an established suite of products and a good collection of past and repeat customers.
The catalog of products brought some much needed focus to my effort. The established customer base let me start from a sales number that was not zero! A very big deal.
Before I ran Dreaming Mind
Before deciding to be a bookbinder I crashed through a variety of jobs as a graphic designer. With one exception, my stay at any one place was short. Always restless and with a tendency to color outside the lines I was surely a difficult employee.
I did stay for 11 years as the one person graphics and printing department for the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. Thanks to the late Leroy Pegis, the Superintendent of Recreation during my term, I found myself in a position that left me free to create and serve with results the primary measure. This was the job that convinced me I could (and probably should) work for myself one day.
It was also the job where I met my long time friends and collaborators Kate and Geir Jordahl, the founders of the Park and Rec Districts PhotoCentral program.
It was also while I was at the Park and Rec District that I decided to become a bookbinder.
I had kept journals since my freshman year in high school and typically designed the covers in some way. So one day while I was in the press room padding scrap paper into note pads, I started thinking about how books are made. The clearly mechanical, but mysterious functioning of books had always fascinated me but I had never really considered it as a thing an individual might learn to do. That day, I decided I wanted to learn.
The first opportunity to do a project came with PhotoCentral's Form and Magic show which featured contemporary plastic camera photography from around the world. I decided to make the show catalog and the Jordahl's would sell these as a fundraiser for the photo program.
In 1997, digital technology was in its infancy, but with a 1 megapixel camera, a copy of PageMaker, and a 300dpi laser printer, I went to work producing 150 copies of the catalog. I was hooked.
The next 5 years were devoted to figuring out how to be self employed.