To us, every collaboration is an opportunity to highlight the hard-wrought skills of a different craftsperson. After all, the beauty of craft lies not in its perfection, but in the tiny, individual differences that make every handmade product unique — and ultimately, in the hands that make them.
When we began working with SPD on our handbound journals, what awed us was the experience of each artisan — everyone who works at SPD’s Book Bindery has at least 10 years of experience in the traditional art of bookbinding.
Even more impressive is the 30 years of experience that Amy, the main bookbinder working on the Liberty covers of our journals, possesses. She tells us, “I enjoy working here very much. As the lead bookbinder for book restoration services, I am involved in various stages of bookbinding, such as the cutting of paper and the laying of fabric on book covers.”
From left to right: Amy, who specialises in book casing; Lili, who specialises in album sewing; Siew Lan, who specialises in hotstamping; Boon Leong, who is a master craftsman; Seng Koon, who specialises in sewing. Behind: Joon Seng, production assistant. Image taken before Covid-19, courtesy of SPD.
Amy finds the most joy in book restoration — which requires a delicate touch and a firm grasp of bookbinding techniques. “Different books require different forms of repair, which makes the work challenging and satisfying. It gives me great satisfaction when customers come back to us with good feedback about the book restored or made, especially for old books with great sentimental value. As a craftsperson, that is great encouragement.
Above (left-right): Amy lays the journal covers, which requires a delicate hand. Boon Leong, a master craftsman, demonstrates how a book is traditionally bound by hand. the Below: Siew Lan working the hotstamping machine. Images taken before Covid-19, courtesy of SPD.
Having worked on countless projects over the years, one would think Amy would be unfazed with the process of putting together our Elizabeth Little journals. Not quite, says Amy. “The Liberty fabric is good quality, so it’s very thin and more challenging to work with. It takes quite a while to lay it and sometimes, errors might surface.”
Nevertheless, she cheekily adds that pink is her favourite colour, and she enjoys admiring the Liberty prints with pink flowers while she works.
A sneak peek of our upcoming second edition of Elizabeth Little x SPD journals.
As a final takeaway, we asked Amy what she wants people to know about craftspeople working at SPD. She returns with a humbling, heart-warming answer. “Bookbinding is a very difficult process. We aren’t all perfect, so there will inevitably be some mistakes at times. But we hope customers appreciate the hard work that goes into each handbound journal made by us.”
With the new year, we hope our journals will help give you space to unwind and start the year right. Our second collection of Elizabeth Little x SPD Singapore journals will launch on Thursday, 13 January 2022. The collection features 6 new Liberty Art Fabrics, including our exclusive Betsy Sapphire and Betsy Macaron colourways, and 2 special Hello Kitty prints. Each journal is handbound by an artisan from SPD and has a lead time of 6 weeks. Sign up to our mailing list to be the first to shop!