Studio Tartuensis are, in their own words,
A museum and studio for letterpress and intaglio techniques, a hotbed of new ideas for old crafts, a center for print-related education, research and art.
They’re based in Estonia and they have a cat called Johannes Gutenberg. If you’re not already falling for them, you have no soul.
Studio Tartuensis contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying one of their notebooks. These are my own opinions.
Size: Roughly 13cm x 21cm x 1.5cm
Price: Around £12
Pages: Varies but 60 plus (mine has 96)
Paper: 115gsm recycled
Ruling: plain, dot grid or lined
Binding: stitched and glued
Studio Tartuensis take old unwanted library books, rip out the innards (and send them off to be recycled) and refill them with recycled blank paper. There’s a part of me that shudders at the thought of books being torn apart but the fact is, these books were destined for recycling or landfill and this allows them to live again. A much better alternative.
My book was Avali Varaval (‘On the Open Gate’) by Albert Uustulnd. I know no more than that. Perhaps it’s a travel book because the inside cover has maps of Australia and Pacific Islands. The cover is mysterious and charming.
The cover of each notebook is different and this means the size of the notebook and how many pages it contains will vary too.
The paper is recycled and, although there’s little feathering, suffers from a lot of showthrough and bleeding. With fine nibbed pens I could use both sides of the page but with broader nibs I could only use one.
There are some nice touches. There’s an elasticated band to hold the notebook shut.
Tucked inside the back cover there’s an insert describing Studio Tartuensis’s work and another insert, made from an old library card, telling you who put the notebook together and when.
Despite the paper being a little weak with my favourite fountain pens, I’ve fallen for this notebook. Many items are handmade, and that’s good, but there’s something about this notebook that connects it to the actual real person who put it together. Someone, Mana in this case, picked out the cover, took out the contents and fitted the paper into it, then filled out the card and tucked it into the back cover. Not only that but the original book had its own history, it was borrowed and read and returned, enjoyed or detested, loved or ignored. It’s being filled with my own stories. (Mostly me writing to myself about pens.)
Good value hardcover notebook
Recycled paper, re-used cover
Very little feathering
Prone to bleedthrough and showthrough.
I have a second Studio Tartuensis notebook that I’m giving away. This is the one with the crocodile cover and is called “The Crocodile Too Has Friends”. It has a lot of pages, with a dot grid ruling.
To enter, please leave a comment on this review saying thank you to someone you know. The giveaway will end at 9am BST on Sunday 1st April 2018. The winner will be picked randomly and is open worldwide.