Summertime … and the workshops are classy

Dear Everyone ~


The summer workshop schedule is almost finalized.
This has already been a big year for classes at Bari Zaki Studio,
including private and semi-private sessions.
I so enjoy working one-on-one with students, that I will continue to
offer private and semi-private classes with only the tiniest
(or maybe teeniest) surcharge above the group rate.
So, if the date(s) for a group class don’t sync with your sched …
I invite you to request a private or semi-private class and suggest your own date(s).

This Saturday, May 18, I’m planning to teach Introduction to Boxmaking,
from 11am-2pm — but I never actually publicized it.
So, seats are still available!

On June 1st, 1 seat is still open in my Buttonhole-stitch Binding.


On Sunday, June 9, 1 seat is still available in Cat Bennett’s The Artful Sketchbook.
(Cat’s Drawing Faces, on Saturday, is already sold out.)


Right brain? Write brain!
Allan Hunter, who is Cat’s husband, is an author,
professor, and writing coach.
Spaces are available in his Finding the Stories in Your Life on Saturday, June 8,
and his Finding Your Writing Voice on Sunday, June 9.
I will be absorbing both workshops with both lobes of my brain.

May the rest of your May be merry, Bari

Next week, I look forward to showcasing the petite Katazome tri-fold noteholder that Diana Sudyka, an artist friend of mine, treated her seven-year-old daughter Isabelle to several months ago. They recently came by, and Isabelle made a point of bringing her noteholder to show me. I was so charmed, that I asked if I could share her story and artwork with everyone.

Hugely good things come in small packages

Dear Everyone ~


I have always been attracted to desk accessories in general,
and to mini-versions of things in particular.
My very newest “big little news” is a set of mini memopads from Japan.
Each measures only 2¼ x 1⅜ x ⅝ thick.


The covers are so charmola.
The spine view reminds me of a box of matches AND of a miniature book
AND of the vintage packaging for red-bordered labels.
Each cover features a delightful cut-paper illustration: a red bird, an apple tree,
blue lotuses, a bookish girl, and a chrysanthemum close-up.

These are eye-catching as a set, and even a single pad makes a great party favor.
I couldn’t resist wrapping one and tying on a half pencil covered in Japanese paper.


I use butterfly clips pretty much every day, for organizing,
for gifting, and for sealing packages in the shop.
The smaller sizes remind me of bonbons:
my tiny butterfly clips covered in Japanese paper are ¾ wide;
the teeniest are ⅜ wide.
They are as practical as they are pretty, and pretty sweet.


Few paper things are more endearing than a minuscule envelope.
You can use them for postage stamps, little messages,
tooth fairy you-know-whats, and Blackwing eraser refills.
My tiny envelopes measure 1 x 1 and my teeny envelopes measure 1¼ x 1¼.

Last but not least, another new arrival in the shop are paperclips made of paper.
Each little box contains 6 white, 6 tan, and 6 black.
They are a stylish accent and a great alternative to stapling or sticky-noting.

Diminutively, Bari

Everything's coming up ... letterpress!

Dear Everyone ~


I first fell in love with Lynn Faitelson’s With Love postcard
when I received a red one in a package from her.
In a word: swoon.
This card can make anyone’s mail day.
When I was in Boston last month, I visited Lynn at her studio,
and the With Love postcards were on press.
I ordered some on the spot, and Lynn suggested
that I might like to also order a second colour.


The package from Lynn in which I first received the surprise
With Love postcard, contained a sample set of her letterpress-printed
botanical cards
. My heart literally pitter-pattered ...
at the combination of colours, the flowers, the smell of freshly printed cards,
the feel of letterpress ... and the realization I could hand-tint
the cards with coloured pencil or watercolour!
I knew these were destined to be a Springy new arrival.


I am thrilled to be Lynn’s first retail account for this fresh line of cards.
I am offering them as a set of three,
each letterpress printed in a single rich colour: teal, fuchsia, and orange.
They beg (well, whisper) to be hand-coloured!
I’ve packaged them in a handy glassine sleeve.

* * * * *

We do believe in judging a book by its cover …
and we also like to judge notecards by their box.

This set of six letterpress-printed Noat cards are generously sized (4¾ x 7¼ )
and come with a lovely envelope.
The box itself functions a bit like an envelope, which adds to its charm.
The designs remind me of mysterious miscellaneous bits foraged
from a forest bathing adventure, or a walk in the park.

Don’t dawdle (stationary) at your desk.
Spring into May with some new cards (stationery).

Letterpresto, Bari

The Bostonians are coming... to teach!

Dear Everyone ~


Cat Bennett seems like an old friend,
even though I’ve only known her for three years.
She taught at my studio in the fall of 2017 and 2018 … and this year,
she is coming to experience summer (we hope!) in Chicago.
And she is bringing her husband, author and writing coach Allan Hunter,
to teach two classes as well.
These will be the first writing workshops I’ve offered,
and Allan is a confidence-building guide extraordinaire.


Last year, Cat’s Drawing Faces workshop drew more interest
than we had seats available, so she is teaching it again.
And, because she is personally reveling in using a sketchbook,
she has created a new workshop focused on that very thing.

IMG_2141 (1).jpg

Allan, who is a professor at Curry College outside Boston,
will be offering Finding the Stories in Your Life and
Finding Your Writing Voice.
I will be eavesdropping on both!

* * * * *

Drawing Faces: Saturday, June 8 — 10am–1pm

The Artful Sketchbook: Sunday, June 9 — 10am–1pm

* * * * *

Finding the Stories in Your Life: Saturday June 8 — 2–5pm

Finding Your Writing Voice: Sunday, June 9 — 2–5pm


Toodle-oo, Bari

All three of Cat’s books are always in stock in the studio.
She graciously signed a supply of them last year,
and she will be happy to personalize while she’s here.
(So, if you have unpersonalized copies in your library, bring them with you!)

Boston: A Convergence of Creative Spirits

Dear Everyone ~


I’ve recently returned from my second “teaching trip”
to Studio Carta in Boston. Everything felt familiar, and all the logistics went smoothly.
Best of all, there were wonderful surprises…

I have a few customers in Canada, including Mya, who lives in Toronto.
As it happened, she had placed an online order the day I flew to Boston.
I emailed to let her know I’d be shipping orders when I returned to Chicago,
but that if she needed her order sooner, I’d have one of my shop assistants
assemble her package and ship it. Mya replied No worries,
adding that she had wanted to sign up for one of my workshops in Boston,
but that it was too last minute.

Then, four days later, I received an email from her, on Friday evening,
saying she had just signed up for Saturday’s workshop and booked her flight.
Yes, she came directly to Studio Carta from the Boston airport …
and went directly back to the airport after the workshop!
It was wonderful to meet her.

Barbara, another student in Saturday’s workshop,
has been an online customer for about a year now.
She lives in New York, and she drove over to Boston with her husband
for the buttonhole stitch workshop. This was her first-ever bookbinding class …
and a great success for her.
And it was wonderful for me to meet her.


Also in Saturday’s workshop was Melissa, Angela Liguouri’s assistant at Studio Carta.
She wrapped each of the 10 signatures in her book with a strip of paper
around its spine to match her cover. Yes, her spine looked divine!
I know from teaching my online class that this is a popular technique …
and I find it a charming variation. I can’t help thinking about the possibilities,
including using a contrasting signature-wrap or even a gradation of wraps.

On Sunday, Suzette, who had taken my online buttonhole-stitch class,
was one of the five students in the Coptic-stitch workshop.
She brought with her several buttonhole-stitch books she had made, for me to see.
It was a lovely moment.
Her books felt so good to hold,
and one even had hard covers—something I’ve yet to try.

The idea that I can share my knowledge, my aesthetic,
and my love of paper and books with so many people, is thrilling to me.
…I love how modern technology – e-commerce, online classes, texting –
brought all these people together at Studio Carta
to revel in the ultimate analog pastime: making books by hand.

* * * * *

On a non-workshop day, I went to Watertown to visit,
and have tea with, Lynn Faitelson.
She owns Fat Chick Press and specializes in letterpress printed wedding invitations.
Lynn had taken both of my workshops at Studio Carta last September. 
Afterwards, she sent me samples of her botanical series notecards,
which I fell in love with. While I was at Lynn’s last week,
I selected several cards to offer in my shop.
(You will see them very soon-ish!)


Reveling in connectivity, Bari

A stitch in time … makes nine signatures!

Dear Everyone ~


Back in February, I showcased the sketchbooks of my friend
(& working artist & nimble shop assistant) Emmy Kennett.
She never leaves home without a sketchbook, and she had recently made herself
a new buttonhole-stitch one at the studio. Now, she has filled it up …
and has just finished stitching a much thicker, more multi-page sketchbook.
Her vision for it was a bit experimental, so I helped her think it through and
then map out her spine template of 189 pinholes. While I was at it,
I decided to make myself one at the same time.
Mine is still in process, but Emmy’s is already in use.


Emmy filled up her previous sketchbook in about three months,
because it had relatively few pages. She had used Stonehenge 250 gsm (90# Cover).
This time, she wanted more pages, so she selected Hahnemühle Bugra 130 gsm (90# Text),
which she’d used on earlier sketchbooks. Instead of three signatures,
we discussed having a dozen, but then decided that nine would be ambitious enough.
Emmy observed, “I didn’t actually think about whether I wanted the spine to be wide or not.”


Mapping out the pinholes involved some high level bookbinding arithmetic.
The “woven chain” stitching for each signature requires a width of 3/16 inch,
which means that there would be a bit of space between signatures.
Emmy, characteristically, didn’t mind this at all, commenting,
“Years ago, before I’d actually made books or been around bookmaking,
I probably would have cared about the extra space.
But now I know that’s just how it is: It is made exactly how it’s meant to be.
And I know that I probably will use that extra space for taping things into.”
For her cover, Emmy chose luscious Lime Green Saint-Armand.
It’s 100% cotton, very robust, with a lovely fabric-y feel.

Emmy selected three different colours of waxed Irish linen thread (4-ply),
for alternating columns. Her inside stitching also turned out beautifully,
with the colours overlapping.

* * * * *

This past week, I packed up all my supplies to ship ahead to Boston,
where I’ll be teaching next weekend. While I was tying bows on everything,
I spent some time thinking about Emmy’s project and the workshops I’ll be leading.
Whether you are making a book yourself, or having one made to your specifications
(or looking for a readymade one), ultimately the most important aspect
is its usefulness for whatever you hope to do with it.
The pages and cover materials may seem the most obvious criteria,
but other “deciders” include: the feel of the book in your hand;
whether it stays open (if that is important to you);
how durable the cover is — and whether the book fills you with delight.

Bound for Boston,

I was recently interviewed for a post on The Avid Pen blog.
I was pleasantly surprised that the author included
all of my responses and photos!
You can read it here.

Giving very vintage correspondence a second life

Dear Everyone ~


I have been collecting vintage correspondence for many years.
I’ve discovered letters at various venues, at home and abroad,
most of them from the 1800s (and a few that are even older).
All of them were beautifully written by hand, with nibs or quills,
at a time when paper was precious.
How they look and feel is more captivating to me than what they say,
especially as many of them are in languages I don’t read.


Until the 1870s in the U.S., all paper was made from cotton rag,
and those fibers were longer and stronger than the wood fibers now used for papermaking.
The letters in my collection are still in excellent condition,
and the creamy paper is sturdy enough (even when it’s relatively thin)
to cut and score and fold and adhere … and can you see where I’m going

I’ve decided to decant my archive of vintage correspondence
and put these mesmerizing sheets to new use.
I’ve covered a limited edition of buttonhole stitch books,
and I’ve also set aside some sheets for gift-wrapping.
And I’ve made a (very) few small bags, which are splendid for holding baby envelopes
and, inevitably, rolls of washi tape.
I propose to wrap boxed items, such as Italian paper clips,
as well as petite Rivoli pads, enclosure samplers,
and even small Euro-folders.

Several years ago, I acquired ledgers of lightweight “tissue-y” paper
that had been used, with carbon paper, to keep a record of outgoing typewritten correspondence.
Magically, the carbon paper turned the copies an incredible shade of teal.
These pages are wonderful for wrapping small items in what I call “bonbon style”,
with a length of ribbon or bakers twine at each end. 
This is a dreamy way to give someone an Italian glue stick
or a German Duroplast pencil sharpener.


In the dropdown menu for each shop listing mentioned above,
you’ll find a “PLUS” option showing the cost of gift wrapping.
If you’d like to see whether an item not specified above can be wrapped
(or bagged) in vintage correspondence, please email (
or call me at (773) 294-7766.
I’ll be able to tell you right away how I’d propose wrapping it.

Very epistolarily, Bari

Enjoy an early spring workshop fling!

Dear Everyone ~


I am delighted to announce four new workshops and
a reprise of last season’s highly hyphenated 2-Day Workshop:
Long-stitch-link-stitch with Hand-folded Envelopes.

My three new bookbinding workshops
are all variations on the beautiful booklet theme.
The simplest structure is a single-signature booklet,
for which students will learn a trio of different stitches.


I’m also teaching a workshop where students will make
a pair of 2-signature booklets, using two different stitches
(one starting with A and the other with Z!).


And I’m teaching a 3-signature booklet structure whose ⅝ inch spine
is adorned with an elaborate diamond pattern of x-stitches.


All of these booklets use non-adhesive binding styles—and offer
a delightful opportunity to use waxed linen thread
(choose from a veritable rainbow of lovely colours).
All covers are made from Saint-Armand 100% cotton rag,
in a range of sorbet-fresh colours.

My new boxmaking workshop requires no prior experience—but will also
be great for anyone who has taken my Introduction to Boxmaking.
In the new workshop, we’ll make a classic three-part box, two “trays”
and a spine that allows the box to open completely flat.
This has definite advantages for storing a cherished book, in that
you can open the book (completely flat) without removing it from the box.

Feeling peachy & teachy, Bari

Blooming Serizawas: A bouquet of “shard cards”

Dear Everyone ~


My last post of last year was “A serendipity of Serizawas,” about
my newfound inspiration from vintage Serizawa calendar pages.
I mentioned that, while making my second series of Serizawa-covered
buttonhole stitch books, I became intrigued by the beauty
of even the tiniest triangle scraps.
Not content (for long) just to make mosaic patterns in my sketchbook,
I am pleased to debut this morning my “Blooming Serizawa” cards.

The blossoms are trimmed with my trusty scallop shears and affixed to a
folded notecard I’ve made from one of my current favourite papers,
Aquarella from Carta Pura. I’ve drawn the stems and leaves using
a brush pen by Kuretake (which I sell at the shop, but not online).
So far, I’ve resisted the temptation to color in the leaves.


The folded cards measure 4⅝ x 6⅝, and each one truly is unique.
I will select for you when you specify one bloom or two.

The card comes with a lovely envelope of European mouldmade paper.
It’s creamy, dreamy—and definitely toothy.

A friend to whom I sent my first of these cards called up to exclaim,
“I sense a slightly Steinbergian sensibility here!”

Pick your blooms here.

Florally, Bari

Oh-là-là! Notebooks nouveaux and jaunty journals!

Dear Everyone ~

I’m delighted to announce the arrival of a fresh supply of notebooks
and journals from France. Each one is charmant—and as an ensemble,
they might almost make you feel like you’re jotting on the Côte d’Azur.
They are positively sunny.


Last year, I offered the pamphlet-style notebooks in several springy patterns.
I have restocked my personal favourites from last season
and selected five new designs. The notebooks measure 5½  x 8¼
and have 64 pages of lined ivory paper (90 gsm).
Their binding is stapled (not sewn).
The covers include a handy printed-on “label,”
parfait for personalizing.


The same designers have now created journals, and
I’ve selected six delightful cover patterns.
The journals have twice as many pages (128) as the notebooks
and a perfect-bound spine, like a fashion magazine.
They contain “sections” of three different page patterns: lined, gridded, and plain.
(And a delightful foil-stamped label on the front notes these details en français.) 
Journals measure 6¾ x 9⅜ x ⅜ thick.

You can savour all the notebook cover patterns and
journal cover patterns in their shop listings.

Bon appétit, Bari