The edition is presented as a clam-shell box containing a book of 16 paintings by John Meyer, depicting Nelson Mandela’s inspirational life story. Alongside the book a folder holds fine art prints of the paintings.
If the subject matter alone wasn’t enough in terms of scale, the physical proportions were epic! An entire set measures 53 x 44 x 9cm, weighs 11kg and 33 sets were created in total.
The Binding Studio is located in the bottom storey of my house and mostly I work solo. Over the Christmas break I rearranged the studio, making space for the huge quantities of materials and working surfaces needed. I put out my "bookbinding bat signal" and assembled a dream team of 3 other bookbinders, whilst conversing with all the outworkers that would play a role in this too.
Then during 9 weeks over April and May the Mandela 100 Limited Edition came to life.
It’s hard to explain the construction of each part or give you a sense of the hours that went in, the processes involved, the physical-ness of making by hand in such large dimensions…… but here are some images and videos captured along the way.
Two months since the project left the studio and a week after Mandela’s birthday, I'm still in awe of what my team and I accomplished. I am humbled to have been asked to create a limited edition that's not only beautifully compiled, designed and printed, but adds value to humanity in celebrating the life of this prolific figure. That’s what being a bookbinder is about; preserving and sharing knowledge, history and memories- to have had the opportunity to do this in such an extraordinary way…. I'm slowly coming to terms with the magnitude of this achievement. In the words of the great man himself:
It's that time of year again! The Binding Studio will be closed for Christmas and New Years from Friday the 22nd of December and back in action on the 8th of January.
If you need anything made prior to Christmas, let me know by Friday December 1st so that we can knuckle down all the details by Tuesday the 5th.
If you are feeling super organised, get in touch sooner to help elevate the pre-xmas rush and to avoid missing out.
Some of my suppliers will be closed until the end of January, meaning new year orders may be slightly limited. I will do my best to have the usual cloths and processes available where possible.
Thanks for your continued support and orders over the last year, it's been a pleasure making for you!
All the best from Lou
P.S. For new years inspiration- check out my website updates, including a new Product Gallery!
I took some time over Christmas to finish binding a guest book from my own wedding. (My partner and I got married nearly two years ago!) I can't remember the last time I made something this epic for myself and it fills my heart with joy when I look through it.
We didn't have a guest book for written messages... instead we asked the Quick Draw Sketch Gang if they could come and draw live portraits of all our family and friends. Artists Rebecca ter Borg, Toby Morris, Jason Hong and Ant Sang joined us for the evening and diligently, beautifully drew almost every single person there.....Some more than once!
The outcome.... a beautiful book filled with the faces of our loved ones from the day they all came along to support us in our marriage. There is a fold out page in the back showing each sketch and who they are and it's lovely to fold it out and remember them all standing around and yelling "YES!" when asked if they support this marriage.
I took it around to my Grandma's house recently and we had an inspiring conversation about the book and my new years mojo for my job.....it went something like this:
"It's about the feel, the look and the smell of this handmade object. It's about the quality and the workmanship that a true artisan can apply to their craft. It's about putting the value into the memories this book holds, the significance of the content and it's part in our lives.. and how the look, feel, smell, weight, quality…. all lends itself to that feeling.
You can’t put a price on that. The hours I spent hand sewing the end bands to match the bunting I had made for the wedding, paring the leather, making the raised bands, rounding the spine, creating the fold out page, embossing the cover…… this on top of the content itself. The hand sketched portraits of our family and friends, that I individually scanned so that they have a copy themselves. The laying out of the wedding ceremony and picking appropriate photos to illustrate our vows. Designing the end papers and creating a pocket in the back that holds a disc. (The disc has a movie I made for my husband with heartfelt messages from his friends and family overseas that couldn’t make it to our wedding.)
This is a book full of love and memories and good things. It needed to be bound with love and respect and passion."
I think I did it justice. My Granny thinks so too.
Heading into the winter months is a great time to think about how you present your photography. The Binding Studio's updated photographers price-list will help out with some ideas. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy.
There are some new additions;
Clockwise from top left- Mats and backing boards to present prints / Self mount albums for attaching your own prints / Photo galleries for presenting key images / An ideas page to spark some imagination.
All of The Binding Studio's products are custom made to order, by hand. That's why there are so many possibilities and why the price-list is your starting guide for the most common products and sizes.
Don't be shy, if you don't see exactly what you are after, get in touch and lets see what we can create together!
If you order boxes during May 2016, you can take advantage of these specials;
Take some time out, make a cuppa, and think about how your work is presented.
I'm looking forward to talking through some ideas and creating a new look with you soon!
All the best from Lou
Where did 2015 go?! The end of the year has snuck up fast! It's been busy with lots of great projects around the studio.
If you are thinking about presentation options or gifts to be made before Christmas, see some important dates below.
If you want to start 2016 with some fresh new packaging, I'll be back in the studio and ready for action on January the 6th.
Enjoy this holiday season and I look forward to making for you soon,
Just thought I would take a minute to reintroduce you to my little side project- The Paper Store.
While I've been busy at The Binding Studio, hand making custom presentation products, this little project has grown up and now has it's own fancy pants new website!
The Paper Store began a couple of years ago due to the demand for NZ made paper presentation options. These products are designed to be simple, stylish and economical... with an added bonus! 5% of every order is donated to the good folks at The Papermill. They provide meaningful work experience for people with intellectual disabilities and have the only working mill in NZ, that uses completely recycled materials in their paper. It's a pleasure to be able to support such a great charity.
So what's better than making an ethical product choice that makes your work stand out?! Check out the website and see what you think.
All the best from Lou at The Binding Studio
The Binding Studio has a limited number of student orders it can take on at this time of the year. To ensure your books are ready to hand in on time, read this checklist;
- Have you chosen a binding style & talked to Lou about the page & printing specs?
- Have you booked your job in with a printer?
- Have you chosen all the physical details about your book: cover colour, foiling, embossing, heat transfer, recess, image wrap…etc?
- Have you received an order from TBS (via e-mail) with all your details on it?
- Have you read through your order, confirmed all details and given TBS the go ahead- to save your spot, ensuring your book will be made?
Dates & Times:
Book pick up days 5th or 6th November:
- No more orders will be taken after the 2nd November (unless they are plain books- with no detailing.)
- Pages to already be at TBS or no later than 10:30am Monday the 2nd.
Book pick up days 12th or 13th November:
- No more orders will be taken after the 4th November (unless they are plain books- with no detailing.)
- Any books with fixed bindings (where TBS needs your pages before anything can be started) pages need to be at TBS no later than 2pm on the 4th of November.
- Any books with temporary bindings (post or stab bound books) need to be confirmed by the 4th, pages can be brought by at a later date.
- Any books made from fabrics you supply, fabric needs to be at the studio no later than 2pm on the 4th of November.
In 15 years of bookbinding I’ve made products for all sorts of creative folk including albums, print boxes, CD covers, photo galleries, and USB packaging for wedding photographers. This year as I prepare for the coming wedding season, I’m doing so with an even greater appreciation for these photographers.
I thought I knew essentially what wedding photographers do. But just as others wouldn’t understand what I do, unless they came and watched me making from design to finished product, witnessing what’s involved in photographing a wedding, first hand, has given me a new appreciation for how much time, work, effort and energy goes into creating someone’s memories.
My partner and I got married this year. When it came to choosing a photographer, there was only one person for the job! I have worked with Rachel Callander for almost as long as I have been a bookbinder. We’ve chatted on the phone and e-mailed for years. I finally met her in person at A Bit More Soul in 2013, and I knew she was the one for us! Not only because of her photographic style and general life ethos, but I knew she was someone we could hang out with all day and who would appreciate our need for a “faff-less” wedding!
We didn’t have any particular photo requirements and didn’t want to be too directed or posed. The aim was to relax, enjoy our friends and family doing their thing and make it as much about them, as it was about us. And that was my general description when I first contacted Rachel:
“Rach, we are planning to just hang out all day. I’ll book an awesome house to get ready at. We’ll barbeque breakfast, go for a swim at Murawai beach… and just BE. Then we’ll go to Hallertau and drink some beer, say some words and hang out some more. Oh and we are going to have the Quick Draw Sketch Gang there to draw all our guests. Want to come hang out and document all that for us?”
Rach and Tracey (who was second shooter) totally got it and blew our minds!
All day Rach secretly did direct us, but in a way that we didn’t even notice, so we felt at ease. She came up with ideas and ways to make us comfortable- all along making us think that we were just naturally doing those things. She hid around corners to capture all the shy people interacting. She squealed with delight when she caught Ivan and I holding hands, she made us feel less dorky about being photographed and even bought us ice-creams on the way home from the beach! She worked her butt off and made it all seem effortless!
She was constantly making use of the details in the surroundings and knew how to capture the light just right. Seemingly without thinking, Rach was able to grab the right camera from her well stocked harness of options to get that perfect shot. Both photographers kept an eye on the time, making sure we got to where we were meant to be with enough time to fit in shots of everything.
Looking back at our images, what stands out is that Rach and Tracey knew how important it was for us to live each moment. They gave us the chance and the direction to enjoy each other in that magical time after the words had been said and before the food came out! (The light was freaking amazing in the orchard at that time too!) Rach knew just what to say to get us looking at each other with just the right amount of romance.
When we received our final images (in a box filled with awesomeness: matted prints, USB and other goodies) and had our first look through, every image was bang on and retold the story beautifully. Each frame took us back to that nanosecond, and replayed for us the exact feeling at that time. Seven months later, I still haven’t managed to cull them down for an album. I’m literally in love with every single shot.
I love this lady too! Rach has such an amazing heart and sees the positive and good in every person, and it really shows in all the images she shot of our family, friends and moments of the day. Her energy is infectious and just what we needed to tell our story!
As I make presentation products for my wedding photographers this season, I will be thinking of how hard they are working to capture the memories for all their couples. How much of their own energy is in each one of those shots, and how much they care about their couples and the stories they are conveying! The photographer’s process doesn’t end when the day is over. They are editing and culling and editing again, and then organising all those parts to make a final presentation to each couple. The complete package- about the day of someone’s dreams.
Good luck this season photographers, you are in my thoughts! You have even more of my respect and admiration…… Go make magic!
I hope you Kiwis are having a breather after a busy summer, and enjoying some time working on your business. In between making I’m doing just that, so I thought I’d update you on some of the happenings here at the studio.
This year I have been working hard on growing The Binding Studio. You may have seen the box making video, well- it’s now had over 45,000 views worldwide! My videographer, Joseph Jowitt, and I couldn’t be more excited! It’s out there promoting my craft and making The Binding Studio a globally recognisable brand. It’s been food for thought as I consider the possibilities of one day shipping beyond New Zealand.
I have received some lovely testimonials and they are now up on the website. If your words are there thanks again, it means the world to me to have your support. Any feedback is useful, as it’s good to know that the service I provide is what you are looking for, or if not, how I can change things to suit you and your business.
You may be aware that my part time helper, Gabrielle, moved to Wellington 3 months ago (I’m still in mourning). But I have had Chloe who’s a 3rd year graphic design student at AUT helping me out. She is really great and if she decides graphic design isn’t for her she will make a great bookbinder!
To help you get organised before busy season comes around again- and so I can teach Chloe how to make boxes- you might want to take advantage of my Winter Box Special.
In other news, The Binding Studio’s products will now discretely wear a little brushed steel button, making The Binding Studio recognisable- so clients know their boxes, albums, galleries, portfolios, books and more have been custom made by the best in New Zealand!
It’s all go around here, I hope it is at your place too. Feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or enquiries, I’d love to hear how things are going for you and I look forward to making your next order soon!
All the best from Lou.
Well folks, it's coming up to that time of year and boy did it arrive fast! I'm looking forward to a little break over the festive season and thought I would let you know some important dates to pop in your diary.
5th December: Last day to confirm orders that you want completed before Christmas. (Any orders placed after the 5th of December will have a 10 day turn around time from Jan 5th)
5th Dec to 17th Dec: Want to check if I can fit any last minute things in? Call (rather than e-mail please) and discuss the possibilities with me.
18th December: Last day to collect orders in person from the studio.
19th December: Official close down day! And the last day orders need to leave the studio via courier to reach you before Christmas.
20th Dec to 4th January: CLOSED
5th January 2015: Back refreshed and ready for action!
Hope you enjoy some time with family and friends and I look forward to making for you again soon and in the new year!
All the best from Lou