Meet Sheffield’s ‘hobby hero’ who creates incredible works of art by simply folding books

Anna Stewart, a 41-year-old craft enthusiast from Batemoor, started folding books six years ago when she heard about it online at a craft group.

The art of book folding involves folding a name or image of your choice into the pages of a book using measurements generated by book art design software. Anna then finely uses these measurements to create specific folds and create stunning works of book art.

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Anna Stewart’s Book Folding Creations.

Anna says that while incredibly rewarding and an amazing hobby, folding books requires a lot of patience.

“It’s pretty easy to do and follow the pattern, but you just need to have patience – it takes time,” Anna said.

“Depending on how many pages he needs, a design typically takes eight to twelve hours.

“I’ve had depression for a few years now and it helps support my mental health. It’s nice to have a hobby that gives me a sense of accomplishment.”

Anna Stewart designs book folding patterns.

Anna used to sell her designs before going to college, but after going to college she stopped selling because she had less time to spend on designs.

Now Anna is in the semi-finals of Eventbrite’s nationwide ‘Hobby Heroes’ competition which saw hundreds of entrants from across the UK.

“I saw it online and thought I’d like to apply for it to try to start book folding because a lot of people still don’t know about it.

Anna Stewart’s Book Folding Creations.

“I’m now in the top 10 out of hundreds of entries – it’s amazing and I’m really excited about it.

“I’m really interested in teaching others the craft and running workshops on Eventbrite. Folding books isn’t as hard as it looks, and it’s really cheap to do compared to folding books. “other crafts. Book folding crafts make wonderful personalized gifts, so I’d definitely like to encourage more people to do so.”

The Hobby Hero initiative is backed by one of the world’s leading wellness experts, Professor Cary Cooper, who advocates using leisure to improve our mental health.

“Hobbies can improve your well-being because whether you’re knitting, running, hula hooping, abseiling or baking, they offer a great way to distract you from the stresses of the world and work, to step away from the screen and let yourself do something positive, creative and fulfilling,” Professor Cary Cooper said.

“Doing a hobby with someone else or in a group is even more beneficial because it provides motivation and social connection. After two years of social isolation, it’s a joy to see people connecting through hobbies that give them pleasure and, depending on what you’re doing, improve fitness, memory, or mood. I recommend a lot of people to take up a new hobby.

Eventbrite’s Sebastian Boppert says, “The entries we’ve received range from the traditional to the weird and wonderful. Anna’s book-folding hobby stood out as an original and creative craft that we had never seen before. It is clear that his hobby requires extreme patience and precision. I wish Anna all the best as one of our semi-finalists.

Semi-finalists have been chosen from different parts of the UK to reach the national final, and a jury will announce the winner at the end of July.

Christopher S. Washington