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A handcrafted book is attainable – and surprisingly social

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Life + Learning

  • Book binding at the Taco Stand
    Book binding at the Taco Stand

Alistair MacLellan of MacLellan & Baetz Publishing House | January 4, 2017

Swiping, clicking, tapping. Glass screens are often the cornerstone for everything from social interaction to employment – leaving a gap where physical creativity once lived.

MacLellan Baetz Publishing House (MB) was born out of that search for tactile, physical interaction with material and with a community. The process of bookmaking, binding and restoration is rooted in folding, cutting, sewing and patience – practices so quickly rejected individually and industry-wide.

MB is trying to change that by introducing quality, handmade notebooks to Waterloo Region whether they’re made by us, or by you. Much like a Taco Stand, our two-man, garage operation lacks some process and regulation, but maybe it is better that way. This flexibility and freedom from the structure of mass-marketed books lets us work with the community, develop our product and teach our practice without concerns of competition. We want you to know how to make your own notebooks too.

From sewing a spine to pressing the pages, a handcrafted book is attainable – and surprisingly social. Notebooks are often filled solitarily, but the time-honoured craft of making them should be shared. MB was proud to bring our “Big Book” to Kitchener Maker Expo in September 2016, where hundreds of people filed the pages of a book that was as big as the ideas within it (6 feet wide to be exact!). And while we’re excited to go another step further by sharing the process of bookmaking from cover to cover, that book is never really finished.

The patience to fill a book, to re-read what you’ve jotted in the pages, and to pass on what you’ve learned is where you’ll find the real value of an MB book — and of the Taco Stand Project.