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

Postcard, postcard, on the wall … Yes indeed, I love them all

Dear Everyone ~


It’s been awhile since I’ve shown the postcard wall … which continues to flow.
Soon (swoon) it will literally cascade over my
very big Everything Cabinet to merge with the inspiration collage
above my board-cutting table (near the guillotine).

If you’ve sent cards in the past, you are cordially enticed to join the postal party anew.
Your new card(s) will be washi’d to the wall with future installations,
so you will be represented in different sections—fun to hunt for when you visit.

If you haven’t yet sent a card, I’d love it if you would …
and I will send you a card in return. (So be sure to include your mailing address.)

On a personal note, I’m currently in a phase of enjoying
mailing postcards and notecards into the world,
rather than drawing in my spare moments.

Jotty & Jaunty, Bari

See the new seaweed (hand-pressed!) cards

Dear Everyone ~


I first saw these rather astonishing seaweed images down the Instagram rabbit hole.
I researched a bit, and now am delighted to be the only shop in the U.S.
to carry these cards freshly imported from the U.K.


I’ve always had a botanical bent,
and the film adaptation of A. S. Byatt’s “Angels & Insects” made me swoon.
These postcard and notecard sets are in the same dreamy vein.
The reproduction of these hand-pressed specimens is wonderfully detailed.

Each image is unique (a word we do not use lightly),
which is to say that these sets contain no duplicates.
The postcard portfolio contains 12 different cards,
and there are two different assortments.
The notecard portfolio presents 8 more images …
for a grand total of 32 different seaweed specimens. Who knew?

The postcard sets come in a petite portfolio handy for holding stamps
and other little papery treasures (once you’ve used the postcards); the
notecard sets come in a generous 6 ½  x 9 ½ portfolio
that is dandy for containing larger epistolary supplies.


Swimmingly, Bari

Paper, paper everywhere, and barely time to think

Dear Everyone ~


I’m freshly returned from a whirlwind trip to New York City
to explore two trade shows (NSS and NY Now)
and bask in a big infusion of creative camaraderie.
Here are some highlights of my trip.

During last week’s polar vortex in Chicago, I spent a couple of days
preparing mail to send from New York (see at top).
I had faith in a Manhattan mailbox I passed near Union Square,
intoned a silent Om, and slipped my envelopes into the narrow slot.
If I haven’t heard from any of the intended recipients by next Monday,
I’ll start getting anxious.

Both trade shows were at the Javits Convention Center,
which occupies several city blocks and three stories.
As you know, I’m a huge (hint) fan and user of washi tape, and I’m delighted to report
that I got a big (hint) thrill from my MT (which stands for Masking Tape)
supplier’s new offering. I’ll be showcasing my next favourite-tape-of-the-moment
as soon as my order arrives. I also discovered a wonderful new book about gifting,
ribbons, and calligraphy. The author was charming enough to inscribe a show copy for me,
and I’ll feature the book in an upcoming blog post, once my order is in the shop.


Obviously, I couldn’t shop on an empty stomach.
I had brunch on Sunday and lunch on Tuesday at Friedman’s,
where my companions and I sampled every potato product on the menu.
My favourites were the herbed (rosemary, thyme, sage) fries and the sweet potato fries.


I reveled in the wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling envelope display at
Paper Presentation, where I replenished my personal reserves,
including tiny enclosure envelopes.
I also acquired a supply of 9 x 12 kraft envelopes
I’ll be using to package the stock pages of
Deluxe Array of Assorted Denominations
and the Extravaganza of Vintage 3¢ Postage.


While my flight home was delayed by the ice storm in Chicago,
I am consoled with the prospect of
soothing pastel cotton ribbons from Studio Carta.
By the way,
I’ll be teaching two workshops in Boston the first weekend in April.

P.S. A couple of seats are still available for Julie Wildman’s
Akim Cursive workshop this coming Sunday, February 10.

Signing off, Bari

Emmy Kennett’s ever-expanding set of sketchbooks

Dear Everyone ~

Emmy Kennett has worked with me a couple of days a week in the studio since 2016.
Even before she started working here, I had discovered her passion for sketchbooks.
She's a working artist, with a bachelor's degree in studio art
from Wheaton College in Massachusetts.
She has developed wonderful hand skills, and is also brilliant
at illustrating my workshop handouts and shop lists.
And, perhaps by osmosis, she knew when she was ready
to learn to make her own sketchbook.

Emmy and I have talked many times about her accumulating sketchbooks.
We wish there were an amusing or evocative collective noun for them.
Maybe it's a ... family! Here are several things I know about Emmy's sketchbooks,
that she is happy to share ... and that she hopes might encourage others
(yes, you!) to start your own sketchbook.

1 — Bought her first sketchbook in college, as an assignment for a printmaking class:

"It didn't matter what you put in it or how long you spent,
as long as you made some kind of mark every day and dated it.
I was instantly hooked —
and I still write the date on every page of my sketchbook."


2 — Has filled up 20 sketchbooks:

"Some are at my studio, some are at my parents' home,
and some are at my home. They aren't filed away,
partly because I am currently out of shelf space,
but also because I am constantly taking them out to look at,
as a reference when I'm doing some other project."

3 — Takes her sketchbook-in-progress pretty much everywhere:

"I keep it in my purse, and I can't go anywhere without it.
In fact, I usually have two going on at once. With all the constant shoving into bags,
and carting around, and tossing them across rooms,
and flipping through pages, and just general shuffling,
I'm surprised they are not more beat up than they are.
Actually, I also have a slightly thinner sketchbook with pink grid pages
that I cart around everywhere as well, and it's in terrible shape,
held together with a large butterfly clip and a huge gold paper clip."

4 — Swears by the freedom a sketchbook provides:

"Sometimes I wish that I had a bunch of 'stand alone' pieces
that are not stuck in my sketchbook. This issue is totally mental.
I know that I would never be able to make something
like what I put in my sketchbooks on a 'stand alone' piece.
When I have a single sheet of paper that is meant to be a complete work,
it would have to be all planned out first. I could never play around
like I can in my sketchbook. In there, it doesn't have to be a masterpiece.
I have a certain kind of freedom to just try something new and see if it works.
It doesn't always work. Sometimes I go too far, or it's nice but the colors are all wrong,
or it's just a hot mess. Even the ones that don't work are useful —
because there is almost always something that came out of it that I will use later."

5 — Still enjoys a splash of multimedia in her sketchbook:

"A lot of what I do now is only gouache, but my sketchbooks
used to be a lot more multimedia. For anything I didn't know how to draw,
or didn't care to draw, I would cut out of paper or something.
As I've become better at drawing and painting,
I have been using other things less. However, sometimes I just want to add something
that does not have my hand in it. I love the way its look contrasts with what I've drawn.
I especially love adding paper scraps in colors I would never think to use,
or patterns I could never draw. And sometimes you are just inspired by something
and you want to use and dissect it."


6 — Acknowledges the special something about a book you've made yourself:

"I had made a few books before I started working at Bari's.
I don't know why, but those first books still feel too precious to use.
I just started using one of them as a journal, but that was a hard decision.
And I've started using my first sketchbook I made at Bari's,
with hand-marbled paper covers. Really, the only difference between
my using an 'ordinary' sketchbook and the one I made
is that I like bragging that I made it.
I also like that every single bitty bit of this book is
an extension of myself and my artwork. That's nice!"

As an ardent sketchbook user myself,
I echo Emmy's perspective regarding creative freedom.
Drawing or painting or lettering or doodling in a sketchbook
allows your hand and your imagination to "think on paper"
in the most mysteriously liberating way.

Try it, you'll like it, Bari

Envelop your notes with casual elegance!

Dear Everyone ~

Having an assortment of envelopes and cards at hand can inspire you.
A range of sizes to hold your enclosure(s) du jour,
coloured envelopes, hand-bordered flaps ...
can make sending off a note an extra-esthetic pleasure.


Bundles of stationery have long been something I love assembling,
knowing they will go to good homes and in turn to many homes.
It also pleases me to give epistolary aficionados the
opportunity to experience European envelopes and cards
that are not easily found in the U.S.

And, of course, if you are going to mail something, you are going to think about postage.
Years ago, I offered lovely envelopes to which I had pre-applied
an arrangement of vintage stamps.
People loved them. Rather than reprising myself,
I am introducing manila stock pages full (really full!) of an assortment
of vintage U.S. postage, including many engraved stamps.
Each stock page provides the chromatic and thematic wherewithal
to embellish many noteworthy envelopes.
Delight your friends. Amaze the Postal Service.

Seen here: Extravaganza of 3¢ Vintage Postage & Deluxe Array of Assorted Denominations.

Many people don't realize that postage stamps are good forever, until they've been used.
The vast majority of old stamps will never be valuable, so resist the temptation to hoard them ...
and send them out into the world. You can also use them for other creative pursuits:
to adorn a back flap; to seal a package; to dazzle your découpage or classy your collage
— it's all the rage!

Always stationery, never stationary, Bari

A look back at my very first two books

Dear Everyone ~

People occasionally ask how long I've been bookbinding.
Formally, 2019 will be my thirtieth (XXX!) year of bookbinding professionally.
Less formally, however, I made my first books about 45 years ago,
when my family took a trip to England.

My father owned a printing business, whose huge scrap bin was my preferred playground.
I could actually climb in and hunt for assorted awesome scraps.
I took these home and arranged (and re-arranged) them in my paper closet.


As you can see, I wasn't yet clear on the spelling of stationery.
But I was totally on board with its uses.
I was also already an ardent embellisher and collector of ephemera,
which inspired me to create a pocket in my "Tour To Englang and London."


This trip marked the beginning of my collecting postcards ... and hotel stationery!


I'd like to thank you all for your appreciation of my work & of the shop's esthetic.
I wish you a Happy & Healthy New Year.
May it be Very Epistolary!

With memory-making resolve, Bari

A serendipity of Serizawas

Dear Everyone ~

Early last Sunday morning, I showcased a dozen buttonhole stitch blank books I had just finished, each one covered in a vintage Japanese calendar page. My "Year of Serizawa" was the first time I had ever used one of these pages, which I've cherished for years and years, to cover a book. The petite volumes (5.75 x 7.75) were available singly, and the edition sold out within several hours.


In seasons past, I offered at my annual studio sale "surprise stationery assortments" wrapped in... Serizawa calendar pages. At the time, it seemed an excellent use of them...but as my supply dwindled, I wanted to find a longer lasting re-use for these beautiful pages. Thus, my "Year of Serizawa."

As it happened, I was enveloped for the first time by a Serizawa calendar page back in September, when I received via mail not one, but two, birthday cards from a dear friend ... each in its own handmade Serizawa envelope! The sender is my "postal muse" —and the person who taught me to hand-fold envelopes, back in the steamy summer of 1995.

I am now in a position (mysteriously) to make a few more Serizawa buttonhole stitch books, covered in pages from various months (and years). Additionally, if you purchased a stationery bundle from me in the past, wrapped in a Serizawa page, and kept your page intact, you are welcome to commission a book (or small box) covered in that page.


As you can tell, I am reveling in Serizawamania. I have kept every scrap from my "Year of Serizawa" edition and have begun to package them in little glassines, for my own amusement. I am using quite a lot of them as a collage in my sketchbook,and each triangular shard delights me.

See close-ups of my “smattering” second Serizawa offering here!

Euphorically, Bari

Look! A set of sumptuous Serizawa-covered blank books

Dear Everyone ~

'Tis the week before Christmas, and I have just completed 12 Months of Blank Books covered in sumptuous Serizawa calendar pages from years past. This is an opportunity to wrap your thoughts in your birthday month or another month you favour.

Whenever I'm making a book (or a box), I'm always delighted to discover, or re-discover, how differently various papers behave for: scoring, folding, cutting, tucking, and adhering. Some of the Serizawa calendar pages are from 1962, so they are over half a century old. The mulberry paper is exquisitely tactile. It is still incredibly pliable and strong, even after so many press runs (one colour at a time) under great pressure.

I bought my Serizawa calendars for years and years from Aiko's Art Materials in Chicago, founded by Aiko Nakane in the mid-50s. She gradually turned over the running of the shop to Chuck Izui, who maintained an extraordinary and inspiring inventory of Japanese paper pleasures and treasures until 2008. In addition to my almost countless fond memories of times in the shop, I will always "channel" Aiko and Chuck's sensibilities when I open the drawers of the card cabinet Chuck gave me when Aiko's closed. The cabinet now anchors my postcard wall and displays usable vintage postage packets and various other papery things.

Over the years, I have used pages from the Serizawa calendars to make bags in which to present flat and flattish things. I recently decided to "dedicate" a dozen pages to make a set of buttonhole stitch blank books. The covers are from various years, and do not correspond to 2019 in terms of days of the week. But they are truly swoonderful and, as far as I know, unique. If you are able to come by, you are welcome to experience (and gently pat) them in person.

View the entire year here! Arigato,