WORDS: LISA WITEPSKI IMAGES: SUPPLIED
There are people who love stationery. They were the kids whose pencil bags were always bulging. As adults, their handbags are never without a pen or three. They’re the people who flick through the pages of notebooks before committing pen to paper; the kind of people for whom a hand-bound book is as beautiful and perfect as a painting or sculpture.
They’re still in good company. Overseas, books are emerging as an art medium in their own right – and it was this that inspired Victoria Wigzell and Madeleine Dymond to create Young Bucks’ range of notebooks. “We had both spent time in Switzerland, studying the importance of books as an art medium, and we added this knowledge to everything we had learned from hosting workshops,” Victoria informs.
She acknowledges that notebooks are available pretty much anywhere you go, and cheaply too – but it’s the story held within each Young Bucks book that makes it special.
Young Bucks works only with specific papers, which are stitched and bound within a variety of handmade covers. There’s the marble range, hand-printed according to an age-old technique, as well as the shweshwe range, which are loved by local and international fans of the iconic heritage fabric alike. Colour block books are also a popular option, according to Victoria. These covers are fashioned from the off cuts of fabric, supporting the studio’s waste-free policy. The same ethos inspired Young Bucks’s mini notebooks, which also make use of odd bits of board and paper. The company creates custom books and publications as well.
“So many people comment that a book that’s been crafted completely by hand feels different when you hold it,” says Victoria. But that’s not the only reason Young Bucks products are special. She continues, “It’s about supporting a local company that does everything with sustainability in mind, and which strives to create employment.”
Victoria is reluctant to call book-making a “dying art”, although – like many other artisanal skills – it falls behind more modern pursuits on the to-do list. Young Bucks is combating this by hosting workshops to pass on the unique skill, and joining forces with several other artists in its Victoria Yards home to enhance and extend the product range.
“As a maker, nothing compares to the thrill I receive from using materials and seeing a stack of beautiful books,” she concludes.
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