“How do you even start doing something like that?” The Vintage Binding Co Story
The title of this blog is something I pretty much get asked every time I explain about what I do. Yep, bookbinding is definitely not the most hip and modern thing to do but there’s something so nostalgic and romantic about old books, and taking something with so much history and turning it into a useable, beautiful item gives me a lot of joy.
So how did I even start?
I was first introduced to book binding at a workshop whilst at University. I found the creative process consuming but also relaxing; measuring out the paper carefully, selecting the materials and colours to use, and creating something beautiful and unique from scratch.
I started to experiment more with what I was doing and came across the idea of upcycling vintage books, ones that often had spines falling off and pages falling out, and turning them into useable notebooks. This is where the concept of giving them ‘new lives’ comes from – they’re often books which are wilting at the back of wardrobes, collecting dust in charity shops and very unlikely to be read and loved again.
The first book that I made in this way was “The Naughtiest Girl in the School” by Enid Blyton (yep, that’s me). The book, now slightly worse for wear after being carted round Europe, served a great purpose in allowing me to free flow my thoughts about my adventures, whilst dipping into humorous extracts of those of the characters too.
From there wherever I went I was attracted to these kinds of books, and went about collecting as many as I could in order to change them. I wanted to give other people the same feeling, encouraging them to write in journals and diaries instead of on iPads and phones. There is something so special about opening a notebook and actually penning your thoughts, as opposed to typing. Not only that, but the books have a history; there are often annotations in the margins, names of previous owners. They have a real tangible history to them. I also find that writing your own thoughts down next the words of famous authors and poets often gives you inspiration when you might be lacking in ideas or direction.
So that’s my how and my why - hopefully it gives a bit of an insight and background to my books, and even more hopefully it inspires you to pick up a pen and get some of the (if you’re anything like me) crazy stuff in your head down on good old fashioned paper.