Why I love what I do.

Comissions

One of the joys of bookbinding is that the possibilities are nearly endless. From a creative standpoint, a book or journal can come in any form that you can think of. Typically, the sketchbooks and journals that I create will come in standard sizes from 3" x 5" - 6" x 9" in leather, wood, or a combination of the two. But realistically, they can come in many other forms.

Materials can range from thick card stocks, plastics, and even stone or glass. They can be as small as  1"x 2" or as large as 8.5" x 11". This is where it gets fun! 

Commissions are my favorite because I get to work up close and personal with a customer. I find out details on what they are looking for specifically in a product and break down the production process into categories making it as efficient as possible.

The breakdown is as follows:

1. Budget -
How much are you looking to spend on this? Keep in mind here is that I always use high quality materials, so anything coming out of this shop will stand a lifetime of use if properly cared for.

2. Base materials -
Are you looking for something made from wood? leather? Something else? I am always open to new ideas and love a challenge so feel free to pass your thoughts my way

4. Size -
Pretty straight forward; how big do you want it? Just about any dimension can be used up to 8.5" x 11". Any size over this, materials may have to be specially ordered.

5. Medium (use) -
Conservation? (scrap book/photo album, flower press). Writing, Sketching, or Painting? Paper stock can range in weight anywhere from 18 lb. to 140 lb. 
Remember that the possibilities are pretty endless here and I am always open to new ideas.

6. Binding -
Various weights, colors, and materials of threads or cords can be used to bind a book. (linen, hemp, cotton, leather, or sinew to name a few)

6. Embellishment -
   a. Inlay - Setting a small stone or pendant into a wooden cover.
   b. Personalize - stamp a name or initials into the cover of a leather sketchbook. 

Remember that you're only limited by your imagination here! 
It all boils down to commissions being the creation of an item that is entirely and specifically tailored to someones needs; there is nothing better than a truly satisfied customer.


Feedback

I appreciate every single person who has supported me over the years. After all, they're the ones who allow me to keep doing what I enjoy; cheers to you!

Even nicer than the photo. It’s beautiful and inspiring, well made and I love it.
— "Winternight" - Nov 1st, 2017
Absolute perfection. Can’t wait to give this to my hubby for Christmas tomorrow. It’s his third one, and first custom book. Thanks again!!!
— Manda Bees - Dec 24th, 2016
I can’t even begin to say how wonderful this experience was. From the willingness to do a custom order, to prompt message responses, to an unbelievably quick “making time”, Brandon was amazing. I’ll be coming back for any other requests and just to see what beautiful work he has to offer.
— Nicole Stevens - Oct 19th, 2016
This item was a custom order that I asked Brandon to create as a gift for someone very close to me. He made the process super easy by communicating with me every step of the way, but ultimately I put my faith in his hands & the finished product is even better than I could have imagined. This wooden journal is super beautiful & so unique, & it arrived with a couple personal touches (a bag holding it & a letter) that were unexpected but highly appreciated. I’d highly recommend making a purchase from his store. Thank you!
— Paige Calkins - March 18th, 2016
This is the nicest journal I have ever owned. The workmanship is phenomenal, and well worth the price!!! I can’t say enough great things about this journal!
— Brittney Malesra - Feb 25th, 2016
Absolutely blown away but the craftsmanship of this notebook! It’s so gorgeous that I almost don’t want to write in it (but I most definitely will)! Brandon’s care with each detail is impeccable and the packaging that it comes with is stunning. Not to mention a detailed, typed note with a description of each aspect of the piece. HIGHLY recommend this shop!
— Sharrel Paul - Feb 11, 2016

Not every journal is for everyone

Not every journal is for everyone.

This journal has a rugged approach with its black buffalo hide and antique brass zip closure

This journal has a rugged approach with its black buffalo hide and antique brass zip closure


    That is my favorite part about this job. Each journal is created with its own individual personality and synergy. 
    My goal is to make each customer have a connection with their product. Through a combination of elements (whether it be the texture, the smell, the weight, or just the exterior appearance) I want each customer to feel an attachment. This is an instant process that will happen at varying intensities. The feeling can be good, bad, or neutral.
Not every journal is for everyone, but every journal is for someone.

Up and coming

So the dust is finally settling with the opening of the web store and the first order is already on its way out the door. Now I can focus on creating inventory and work on new journal collections ( a new post will be made with more detail on that later.) This post is focusing more on commissions, and new materials.

Commissions

This last couple of weeks I have gotten my materials stocked for a variety of wood and leather journals is a range of sizes. For leather I have decided that I am going to stick to two main dimensions of 4" x 6" and 6" x 9" with custom sizing available for an additional commission based charge. For the wood journals, they will range in size quite a bit depending on the stock size that is purchased. Commission pricing is going to be a bit more for wood based journals as they take more time to produce (selection, cutting, and finishing) and will vary based on the kind of wood as well since some require special manufacturing. Fell free to Contact me for commission pricing if you have something specific in mind, as well as general questions or ideas.

New Materials

This week in production of leather journals I gotten multiple different materials to work with. Leather work is still a fairly new medium for me so I am trying to learn what types of leather I like best and what they are each well suited for.  My favorite line of leather so far has been utility leather, which is a heavy and incredibly versatile; generally used for chaps, bags, and cases.
*EDIT: Finding that this specific leather has a high oil content, as its main intention is for use is outdoors. I found that over a short period of time the pages of the journal absorb the oils from the leather and become stained. No longer in use.

Long stitch journal wrapped with high grade utility leather.

Long stitch journal wrapped with high grade utility leather.

My next favorite is kind of a draw. I cannot decide whether I like the tan gloss cowhide or the distressed sheepskin more, as each has individual characteristics which make desirable.

This glossy tan cowhide feels soft but durable.

This glossy tan cowhide feels soft but durable.

First of all, I love the weight of this leather. Fells like it could be used as a daily commuter journal and would really stand up to some abuse. The color is also nice; easy on the eyes with a soft earth tone with natural scarring, which adds to the character. To be honest, I didn't like the feel of it at first (sort of rubbery), but it grew on me as it varies per piece and wraps up quite nicely.

Next is the sheepskin. This hide came to me from a small tannery over in New York. and has a incredible appearance with natural scarring and a beautiful woodland distressed stain.
EDIT: Low durability with high oil content which transferred to the pages. No longer in use.

The weight of this hide was much thinner than I expected but it makes up for that with the texture and color, cannot wait to see what one of these journals looks like after a few months of wear on it.

Last but not least, the deerskin. An even lighter weight than the sheepskin, this leather is butter soft and has a great texture.

Soft light shows the velvety texture of this black deerskin

Soft light shows the velvety texture of this black deerskin

Since this leather is so soft and pliable, it may end up being double wrapped so the the journal has a bit more structure and protection. All in all it feels very luxurious and would work well as a special occasions journal.
*EDIT: Too this for use with anything above the size of 4" x 6". The thickness of the leather applies directly to how durable the piece is and therefor the ratio of cover thickness/pliability must match or best the weight of the interior, therefor protecting it.

So that wraps up the start of this weeks productivity. In the next couple of days I am hoping to get some wood covers prepped for binding and get those up in the shop! (you need to see this spalted alder I got my hands on!)

As always, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more exciting products later this week!

The waiting game

With the launch date approaching in less than a week, I am busier than ever trying to prep inventory and put the final touches on branding and packaging.

Sparing no expense for packaging the journals with custom hand stamped linen drawstring bags. This also means learning how to sew. (Thanks mom!)

Sparing no expense for packaging the journals with custom hand stamped linen drawstring bags. This also means learning how to sew. (Thanks mom!)

While I wait for branding to be finalized, I also make busy work for myself by prepping cover blanks to be bound. This is one of the more time consing parts of the entire process, but it is also one of the most relaxing. The smell of sanded walnut mixed with the fresh rainfall is definitely one of my simple pleasures.

Rustic walnut cover prepped for binding

Rustic walnut cover prepped for binding

It has already been a very busy month and I am exciting that things are coming together and look forward to opening the store. Follow my instagram page for more updates and special promo codes!