Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Vespiary Notebook

My notebook benefactor in Canada has been at it again. This time a little notebook from The Vespiary. Well, there’s a new word for me for a start. Basically vespiary is to wasps, what apiary is to bees. The Vespiary is a book restoration and bindery, the home business of a lady out there in Montana. Montana – memories of reading and watching westerns, the Badlands…where exactly is (are?) the Badlands? It seems a hard place to pin down. The Vespiary has also taught me another word – upcycling.
The Vespiaries products are all handmade. My notebook is a small hardcover notebook, 140mm tall x 95mm wide x 14mm thick. It oozes sturdiness. The pages are plain unlined white paper. I’m no expert on paper, but this paper feels a little thicker, and has a rougher surface finish than standard copier type papers. More sketch paper than writing or copy paper. I would suspect the paper might have some bleed through issues with fountain pen ink, but that’s outside my line of interest!

The notebook is covered in an upcycled map, and at the time it seemed like a good idea to practice my map sketching skills and work out just where in the world my notebook cover was. Look hard for the little penciled rectangles to lead you to the next map.
The quality of the materials and workmanship seems very high. Certainly the standard of finishing is as good as what I see on expensive notebooks in retail shops. Being hardcover it’s not really suitable as a pocket notebook for me, but I have been using it as a desk notebook and like it very much.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice review, nice product but there is something subliminal about that Lamy 2000 - your'e really tempting me. Thats a very rich, luscious,dark line on those maps - looks like 3 or 4b.

2 1/2p

kiwi-d said...

Ahhh, I have inadvertently lead you astray here. The map lines are ink. Well, very fine tip Sharpie marker to be precise. Ohhh, the shock and horror of it all. Sorry.

Still, don;t let that put you off the Lamy 2000 MP.

Ralrara said...

Map notebook??...
I use OXFORD notebook...well...

Anonymous said...

Was that really a brilliant PUN - "... LEAD you astray.."

2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

Ah, the art of fine notebooks. As an engineer I have moved upwards over the years from cheep Chinese notebooks with low paper quality to fine notebooks - and then went down a small step again. Some fine art notebooks are just to beautiful to write into them.

Fortunately, a hype / marketing "lies" by some notebook vendor ( http://www.moleskine.com/ founded in 1997, trying to create the impression they make the legendary notebook of Hemingway, Picasso, Chatwin and the like ..., pah, pull the other one) woke up other manufacturers that there is a market. I can now get good looking, good quality notebooks much more easy.

Audra Loyal/The Vespiary said...

Hi Dave - thanks for the great review. I have been dying to see what people put in the books I make. I'm a map junkie, so to see your map drawings nested in the map notebook is perfect.
I saw that you like smaller books for toting around - I usually have more variety of sizes in my shop, but drop me a line, and I can bust out a custom size. My map hoard is very random, and lately I've been more picky about keeping only the graphically impressive ones. Right now, I'm working on a box set of islands off the coast of Maine.
Thanks again!

che pablo said...

Nice notebook. I especially like the upcycling aspect of the book.

Audra, what sort of paper do you use?

To talk more about the map, my Mom was born in Southold and that side of the family was among the original settlers. We are from the North Fork and so were potato farmers. The South Fork is where the Hamptons are. Think Great Gatsby (i.e., piles of money) So,Shelter Island, located between the two, is a funny place that tries to split the difference between the two forks. Everyone is phenomenally wealthy but the places are not ostentatious at least by local standards. BTW, not ostentatious by local standards leaves a lot of room:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HouseonShelterIsland.jpg

Nonetheless, the Forks of Long Island are a great place to visit in the summer. Lots of long light that's great for painting. If painting isn't your thing, then I'll note that over the past two decades most of the potato farms have been converted into vinyards...

Julia said...

The Badlands extend from Montana back through North and South Dakota, though I think most people think of South Dakota when they think of the Badlands.

kiwi-d said...

Thankyou very much Julia. I was beginning to think no one knew.

kiwi-d said...

Che Pablo - thanks for adding the personal connection to the notebook.

Audra Loyal/The Vespiary said...

Che Pablo - the cover papers are discarded nautical, aeronautical and topo maps that get tossed out from various places. The filler paper is either a Big Bee sketch paper (more lightweight) or Strathmore recycled sketch (heavier weight, better for pens and sometimes eve water-based material).
When I'm not using maps, I cover my books with chiyogami (a japanese silk-screened paper) or whatever lovely paper comes my way.

Anonymous said...

Presumably, "Vespiary," because wasps make nests of "paper?"