Paperblanks Sketchbooks & Journals
Paperblanks are beautiful writing journals that celebrate human artistry and craft. From French textile design to Persian Safavid binding art, from Japanese Lacquer box patterns to the traditional embroidery from India’s Gujurat region, each Paperblanks® design honours the beauty of artistic creation. Our notebooks are a connection to the richness discovered within centuries of world art and culture.
Conscientious bookmaking, innovative design and careful handiwork all go into the production of Paperblanks® – quality writing journals that we can all feel good about using and owning. Whether being used to record thoughts, ideas, stories, poems or another craft, our journals' perfect marriage of imagination and art always inspires a unique writing experience.
Diversity of Brilliance
In a body of work that is perhaps unparalleled in history, Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452–1519) sketches and copious notes allow us to peer into the mind of a genius. He was a consummate draftsman and sketch artist, and carefully recorded his world and the travels of his mind in mirror-image cursive. A man of unquenchable curiosity spanning an infinite spectrum, he was simultaneously taken with the concepts of grace and geometric structure of the universe. In his notes on water motion and the moon he explores the intrinsic beauty of serpentine flow, valued artistically as the most graceful of figurative movements. In his diagram of the light of the moon relative to the brilliance of the sun recorded in the "Codex Leicester," we are reminded of the light Da Vinci shone on humanity’s potential for greatness.
Inspired by Antiquity
Nowhere is the heft and glory of history more palpable than in the book arts. The 19th century brought several innovations, both functional and æsthetic, to the craft of bookbinding. Advances in mechanisation enabled publishers to start producing books on a large scale while staying true to the exquisite, ornamental beauty of the cloth- or leather-bound book. Our reproduction of an antique French binding is based on a cover designed in 1829 by publishers A. & W. Galignani for “The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore.” It features many of the hallmarks of fine binding from that era, when book designers looked to their forebears from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries for guidance.
This cover suggests the fine Moroccan leather preferred for bindings of the era, as well as the structural sturdiness, careful finishing and ridged spine venerated by discerning bibliophiles. The decorations mirror architectural trends of the time such as rosettes, spirals and stylised leaves. The rich tones and textural sophistication found in our reproduction create a stunning rendition of the original binding.
Silver Filigree Collection
Intricacy and delicacy combine with repetition to create this silvered meditation on the nature of beauty. The word filigree derives from the Latin words “filum” for thread and “granum” for seed. The filigree pattern adorning our cover was originally designed and handcrafted in Germany circa 1800. To achieve the gilded and polished motif, a base layer of silver sheets was first die cut, and elaborate grooves were then meticulously etched into its surface.
The art of filigree is a moving testament to the human drive to ornament in order to delight the eye and the spirit. One can imagine a magistrate in ancient times carrying such a book and using it to keep a record of matters of state as easily as one can see it in pride of place on a well-appointed contemporary desk.
Incite Your Creative Spirit
The muted and complex palette of pastel colours and the sensuous, sinuous lines of Alphonse Mucha’s work heralded a novel moment in art history. In works notable for their youthful energy and simplified draftsmanship, Mucha (1860–1939) helped to turn the conventional art world upside down.
After years of toiling in obscurity, in 1895 the impoverished young Czech became an overnight sensation in Paris by creating a poster for a play starring Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress of the period. Before long, “le style Mucha” – later known as the Art Nouveau movement – was the term used to describe the new spirit transforming the city. Mucha’s commitment, however, was not just to the “nouveau,” but to the larger human project: a celebration of the creative spirit.
Safavid Binding Art
Book Art From a Golden Age
Amid the many jewels of ancient Islam, decorative book binding shines particularly bright. Symmetry and refinement of line are the hallmarks of these bindings, ranging in style over many centuries from the simply tooled geometric patterns of the 14th century to the complex compositions of the 16th century.
Associated with the Islamic Golden Age, the Persian Safavid-style designs represented a high point for the art of the book. These bindings feature centralized designs of medallions, quadrants, plant and animal motifs, a pentagonal envelope flap closure and elaborately decorated doublures (interior covers), exquisite creations in cut-out leather, coloured papers and gilding.
Our doublure inspired collection portrays a remarkable leather filigree pattern incorporating handtooled surfaces and motives which retain an elegance and style even in our modern context.