I love making things, as you know. Sometimes I forget how much satisfaction making things can bring me, especially when I’m feeling down.
I was walking around Spotlight in Rockdale this morning and saw these words cut out of MDF and knew straight away what I could do with some of my washi tape. A 3D reminder to create, wrapped in six different washis is now perched atop my computer and I love it.
But that’s not the best thing I made this week.
No, I didn’t make this. This is a leather wrapped notebook I bought when I was on holidays years ago with my mum. We were in Florence, checking out little shops and eating gelato in almost freezing temperatures. We went into a tiny little stationery shop, which was stacked floor to ceiling with beautiful leather journals and books in rich colours. The man who owned the shop didn’t speak English, but with the help of his wife (who didn’t speak much more English than he), we managed to communicate and I learned he made all the books in an upstairs room and had been there for decades. The books weren’t cheap, but I bought one and treasured it.
But no matter how many times I’ve tried over the years, I haven’t been able to fill this notebook. It seems like the words within it ought to be important, not just the idle scratchings and thoughts of a sometimes-writer. Even when I was writing a lot, I would prefer less special books to scrawl in, and my red Florentine journal would just sit there, waiting.
The other day I was once more admiring Dodo Cases, but thinking I couldn’t really justify buying a leather cover for my Kindle when I was more than able to make bags and things. If I put my mind to it, I thought I could probably make a leather book jacket, but I didn’t know if I had the patience to do a good job. And I’d probably end up exploring a new craft and buying more materials that I really didn’t need.
I read the description of the product and it mentioned that the Kindle is held in place with resuable adhesive, which reminded me of the double-sided Scotch restickable tabs I bought recently for another project. And I admired the art behind the line of copy that made me long for one of these cases: “Handmade in our San Francisco bookbindery by true American craftsmen and women” – I love unique things, handmade things, things whose every stitch and curve and cut has been rendered by one person’s hands.
Then I remembered the Italian bookbinder and the little red journal.
I grabbed the journal off the shelf and held it up. It was the exact same height as the Kindle. Exactly. With surprisingly little remorse (for what use is it to keep an almost-empty notebook just for the sake of its cover?), I carefully cut the notebook out. I used some of the restickable tabs to mount the Kindle onto the endpaper/pastedown, which had remained stuck to the leather. (The restickable tabs are amazing things. They’re clear and very sticky and if they lose their stickiness you just wash them and they’re sticky again. Brilliant!)
Et voila! Or, because of the Italian origins, should I say, ecco? (I had to look that up) A bespoke beautiful object with a strong memory behind it, fusing the old and the new. It protects, it feels lovely, and I am finally using something I bought 14 years ago.
And so, my friends, create! It brings great joy!