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Octavia Book Bindery    1040 – 8th Ave SW    (587) 700 – 6575

I am blathering. But if you want, keep reading. I'm having a bit of a nostalgic moment, dwelling upon the state of the bookbinding and printing industry at large (and perhaps my love for vintage stereo equipment)

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Back when we started the bindery, bookbinders in general kept a tight rein on their knowledge, and tended not to share well with others, their particular skills being shared only with the lucky few who felt themselves called to the craft, and who were willing to work for next to nothing (or nothing but experience).

This has, unfortunately, along with the advancement of new technology, throttled the industry entirely, and has also turned book binding into what many call a "dying" or "lost" art, and what I like to think of as a "finer, more advanced" art. It is not easy, it takes an insane amount of practice to get things "just so", and even crazier amounts of research to dig up some of those skills that have -- in many cases -- been hidden and remain buried by the generation before us.

I am fortunate to have made friends with many brilliant bookbinders and printers all over the world who are actively trying to keep the traditions, best practices, and methods alive. They are fearless of competition, and interested in sharing with each other so that the skills do not get lost, and who are more than happy to give advise, share their wisdom and experience, and usher in a new generation of bookbinders who are capable of keeping family and cultural legacies alive.

The old gatekeeper used to be craftspeople who jealously guarded the skills and equipment of their trade. Now it seems that it is the tools of the trade themselves that seem to be getting lost in estate and garage sales, where people have no use for the items sell them to antiques dealers who also have no use for them. The prices end up being far too high for the next generation to make any practical use of. It's a sad and unfortunate destruction of a craft by the vultures who would instead make a fast dollar on the backs of the modern student to the craft.

More and more often, I see folks retire, or whose businesses haven't been able to pivot with the changing times, or whose workmanship, though excellent, isn't affordable to a local audience, lose their tools to a heap in the alley behind their house, along with their library of books, their carefully curated vinyl record collections, and other relics that the current generation at large seems to have little to no use for, except to sell on eBay so they can buy more luxurious IKEA furniture for their homes.

Once upon a time, people and companies kept their records on locally made ledgers. Schools would have bookbinders repair and maintain their libraries of textbooks and records. Times have changed. Most local governments, hospitals, schools, industries, etc. keep their records digitally nowadays -- very efficient, but not terribly good for craftspeople.

I am often asked by young hopefuls to the art where they can find bookbinding equipment such as we have in the studio -- they are often a century old, and very difficult to find. Mine were purchased through my career, as happenstance would have it. Sadly, the equipment that I've found for sale online (and off) are presented as "vintage" collectables, and since there is a resurgence of crafts-as-art, many pieces get sold to people who will never use then, and then lose them in a hoard of other treasures for the next generation of hoarders to throw away into a dumpster of relics (Because in most cases, these useful pieces of equipment are lost to landfills and storage auctions, worthless junk to people who don't know that they are).

The gatekeeper who was once a proud and skilled business owner protecting the secrets of his craft, has now traded places with a gatekeeper that has lost his tools and his tradition to an alleyway dumpster. No one can carry on a proud craft's tradition that way.

QUICK NOTE:

Please, if you are in the region and ever happen upon any old printing equipment, letterpress type, book binder's tools, printing machines, drafting tools, drawing tools, light tables, artists' furniture or supplies, and any other items for creators that are often no longer produced or maintained (but are instead often lost to the ages) we WILL make sure that they find a home to someone who will use them. We know plenty of artists who are not wealthy enough to afford these gems on eBay and Kijiji, and most "collectors" are dealers looking for a quick buck, often tripling the prices out of usable range for people who would put them to good use.
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What a wonderful day working with Mariam on her book, giving it a complete makeover, from start to finish. I rarely have time to give a person a front cover to back cover walk through of the bookbinding process, but this was certainly a fantastic day of wonderful conversation and a super fun tutorial. Thanks for coming down, Mariam !!!

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Robert also spent some of the day getting caught up on two projects that are behind. He's been ill lately, and it has put him a couple of weeks behind the book restoration and repair queues. Sarah Joy has been doing a wonderful job keeping the place in order, and the creative chaos from tearing the studio apart.

Now that he's hoping to get back on track, Robert requests that everyone please give him some leeway, he cannot work as hard or as fast as he could in the past, and he is under a ton of pressure to get caught up again.
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Octavia Book Bindery updated their cover photo. ... See MoreSee Less

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Octavia Book Bindery shared One-Eye Publishing's photo.

My friend Jon Hunter has been building his publishing house. Come down to the studio and check out his new books Oroboro Books and Curios
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A small order for @oroboroesoterica, what’re you all reading?

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One of the reasons why I love coming to work every day is summed up by this quote (which I hate to say comes from a television show) ...

"I just came in here and it smelled like Shakespeare, if Shakespeare were a damned cowboy, and a hawks nest, and boat fuel, and cigars, and Man Stuff."

--Nick Miller, New Girl S01E17

I am, unfortunately, noseblind to the studio, which has that "old book" smell, mixed with leather, cigar and pipe tobacco (old books were in homes with a century of heavy smokers) and LP Records and paint and love and joy and happiness and peace and ... and ... did I say, Joy? And Love? I love the studio. It is my idea of Heaven.
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Alicia Patience, Registered Massage Therapist
aliciapatiencermt@yahoo.com

☆☆☆☆☆ RATING

I would like to thank you for the amazing treatment you gave me today.

For the first time in weeks, my body is thanking me, rather than begging for some sort of medication to numb every nerve down. My shoulders and back are not creaking and cracking every time I move, and I have had a full day of work, without cringing or being near tears.

This was 5 star treatment, and if the scoreboard went higher, I'd give more stars. Thank you so much for the care and attention. I will be booking for another treatment soon, and will recommend your services whenever and wherever it is called for.

Thanks a bunch.
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A Bookbindery's Diary. A Collection. A Memoir. A Collection of Memoirs. I dunno. Might be something to it.

I'd need about $5,000 to get it published. If I were to do a kickstarter for it, I could put together a few leather bindings for $1000 each, maybe some hardcovers for $300 each, and softcovers for $150 each. Full color printing. Limited edition maybe? Sell ebook versions for $50 each to help launch. I wonder how many I'd sell?

For sake of argument, I think I'll put it up on the website to see if anyone is interested. It'll have tons of pictures, and a bit of a biography about my memories (so far) as a bookbinder. So, if you're at all inclined, I'll take donations to help pay for the production of this beast.
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Cool Story Bra

3 weeks ago
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FOR SALE: Antique 1947 Smith-Corona Typewriter. Portable 'Floating Shift (A)' model. Excellent condition - all parts work. Includes original case. $250 OBO Pick up only. Please call Robert at 587-700-6575

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Beautiful.

3 weeks ago

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OUR DEAR CLIENTS: Tomorrow is only a holiday for people who do holidays. We'll be open from noon until 5PM, if you need to arrange appointments, set up drop offs or pickups, or just stop by the bookstore to say hello. We'll be here. With bunny tails on. ... See MoreSee Less

Octavia Book Bindery added 8 new photos.

FOR SALE:

Stereo System for sale
Includes:
2 Toshiba SS3358 Speakers
JVC KDA-11 Stereo/Casett Deck
Technics 8A-510 Synthesizer
Yamaha HTR-5130 AV Receiver
LG HT963TA DVD player

Sold As Is (all items work)

$200 OBO -- will only sell all items together.

I have no idea what works and what doesn't. Most of it is perfectly good, but I have no idea, since I am not a hi-fi guy. So, all of it together.

Pick Up Only.

Please contact Robert at 587-700-6575
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Octavia Book Bindery added 4 new photos.

FOR SALE:

C+H Advantage Pro mat board cutter (Framing size).
Excellent condition.
$350 OBO

Pick up only (downtown location)

Contact Robert at 587-700-6575
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Octavia Book Bindery added 10 new photos.

FOR SALE:

Antique Chandler & Price Printing Press, built in 1905.

Still works, but needs some TLC (has not been used in several decades); rollers are still manufactured/ for purchase.

Includes foot treadle & base.

$2000 OBO

Pick up only - will require removal company to move safely (the press weighs over 1500 pounds). Location is downtown Calgary.

Please contact Robert at 587-700-6575
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DREAM press. Now only if I didn’t live in an 800sq foot downtown condo

3 weeks ago   ·  1

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You could put out feelers through Alberta Printmakers...

3 weeks ago

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Michelle Wiebe know anyone?

3 weeks ago

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You better get this Michelle Wiebe, don't you know a guy !!!

3 weeks ago

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What a beauty!

3 weeks ago
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Eamonn Loughran

3 weeks ago
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Octavia Book Bindery added 5 new photos.

FOR SALE:

Spinet Paper Drill
Great working condition.
$200 OBO
Pick up only (downtown location)

Contact Robert at 587-700-6575
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Octavia Book Bindery added 8 new photos.

FOR SALE:

Vintage National Cash Register

Cira 1970s, still works perfectly.

$200 OBO

Pick up only (downtown location)

contact Robert at 587-700-6575
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Octavia Book Bindery added 12 new photos.

FOR SALE:

Remington KMC typewriter. cira 1939.

$100 OBO

Pick up only (downtown location)

Contact Robert at 587-700-6575
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Octavia Book Bindery added 10 new photos.

FOR SALE:

Antique Letterpress type - Multigraph letterpress type (lead type).

$80 OBO

Pick up only (downtown location)

Contact Robert at 587-700-6575
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Eamonn Loughran

3 weeks ago
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Patricia

3 weeks ago
Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Octavia Book Bindery added 5 new photos.

FOR SALE:
Antique 1947 Smith-Corona Typewriter.
Portable 'Floating Shift (A)' model.
Excellent condition - all parts work. Includes original case.
$250 OBO
Pick up only.
Please call Robert at 587-700-6575
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Octavia Book Bindery added 4 new photos.

FOR SALE:
Vintage 1951 Smith-Corona Typewriter. 'Floating Shift (A)' model.
Excellent working condition; comes with carrying case.
$250 OBO

Pick up only.

Please contact Robert at 587-700-6575
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Octavia Book Bindery added 6 new photos.

FOR SALE:
Smith-Corona Electric 'Super 12' typewriter.
Built in 1976.
In excellent working condition.
Includes original case.
$200 OBO
pick up only
Contact Robert at 587-700-6575
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