Stopan

Master Bookbinder at the Bulgarian National Crafts Chamber

I am fascinated by pre-printing press book structures and incorporate much of their valuable properties into my designs. Most recently, I do my best to pay homage to the old Bulgarian decorative traditions and use them as a base, while at the same time barraging it with a bit of contemporary chaos.

Our Inspiration

I cherish the old bindings, made in monasteries by self-taught scribes. They managed to produce beautiful books that remain intact even centuries later. I admire the scale of these works, their rоugh structure, sincerity and undeniable toughness. I strive to re-create their spirit from my point of view and the time I live in, to give breath to a severed tradition. I want the book to take part in one’s life, so I scale them down, make them comfortable to the hand and eye, build them tough with a vocation to become a most trusted and treasured companion in writing or reading. I strive to make a book one can rely on and bond with. At the beginning of 2018, I was formally recognized by the Bulgarian National Craft Chamber as a master bookbinder. A goal I’ve been preparing for with constant trial and error, reading up literature and examining examples of bindings in our libraries’ special collections, trying to deconstruct the methods of their making.

My Father

The Silversmith, Wood Carver and Gem Setter

A few months later, my father joined in and in his small jeweler’s workshop, he creates unique pieces of jewelery, pens, corners, clasps and fittings from precious metals. Again, working by traditional methods, each piece of metal worked by hand and of his original design. We share the belief and somewhat the naivete, that the most sincere way to work is the old way – many hours spent in devotion to our chosen material.

Our Work and Clients

Each of us brings our own insights into our work, but we share the common goal of manifesting our vision of beauty and durability into book form. The rugged pieces of stationary are handcrafted with longevity and significance in mind. We embrace roughness in the design, as we believe it strengthens the connection between the book and person. Each of us finds ourselves in the positive as well as the negative. Our clients are visionaries who wish to leave a trace of their history and accomplishments for the generations ahead. Our books help to create a very personal heritage piece, worthy of passing down.

The Process of Making

The Steps

Strength and beauty are always at the forefront of our designs. In the end, everything is about creating a book worthy of being a heritage piece for you and your family for generations ahead. Such ambitions leave little room for compromise. Me and my father share a passion for historical methods of working, meaning mostly with our hands and various useful handtools. Some of the steps of our hand work include:

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Sewing the books signatures on strong supports

Working the cover boards and reinforcing the book body with all necessary additions

Paring and applying high quality leather to cover the book with a beautiful and durable surface

Decorating the leather with impressions in blind or in gold leaf

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Producing silver sheets from which the future fittings and clasps emerge

Soldering the individual parts into a complete whole, polishing and patinating the silver

Setting precious and semi-precious stones into the fittings

Creating the most worthy piece of stationary for your personal thoughts and history

A New Endeavor

In the summer of 2019 we decided to expand our production to include a range of dip pens to go along with our journals. My father started studying and experimenting with a new material – wood. We gathered a range of exotic pieces to try out and produce our first collections of pens.

The Process

The wood is first cut and sculpted by hand with files, rather than a lathe. When the shape is done, a silver fitting is designed and executed to adorn and balance the pen. The wood is treated with a special selection of natural oils and waxes and some are finished with layers of shellac lacquer. The pens can adopt any nib with a standard 5 mm size. Providing choice and comfort to the customer. As with our books, each pen is a unique piece of work, never to be replicated.

Materials We Use

We use a wide selection of quality hard woods for to make the bases of the pens, mostly Mahogany, Rosewood, Walnut, Ebony and Bocote. The fittings are usually from sterling silver, sometimes adorned with compliments of gold and gemstones.

A Most Appropriate Addition to any Journal

These dip pens are the perfect companion for a passionate writer or calligrapher. We strive to create them beautiful and comfortable. For this reason, we listen to our customers’ habits and preferences when using a pen to help us provide the perfect writing tool for a particular hand.

Visit our Shop to see available works.
Or see each of our completed works
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