Appreciation of artisan craftsmanship drives bookbinding industry

14th July 2015 - Fine Cut

The 2008 recession lasted longer and has been tougher than many people anticipated. One consequence seems to be that there is now a general mistrust about the workings of big corporations and a desire to do things differently. 

A corrupt banking system and multi-nationals operating tax avoidance schemes have all helped to fuel the sense that something wasn't right with the world. 

People reacted by going back to basics, to hankering after products and ways of creating things that were seen as authentic.  

In terms of our food consumption, this meant customers turning their back on mass-produced goods and looking instead at homemade options. 

Rather than standardised products, the general public began to appreciate individuality and were searching for processes that would create products that were similar but not uniform. Home baking has taken off in a big way and companies that make confectionery are increasingly trying to aspire to a "homemade" aesthetic. 

The current popularity of so-called craft breweries is another example of people turning their backs on the big suppliers. 

Smaller, independently-owned breweries that focus on brewing technique, quality and flavour are often favoured over large commercial enterprises. 

The artisan economy appreciates craftsmanship 

A shift from mass production to a more individual, craftsman-like approach was recognised in a book entitled Brew to Bikes: Portland's Artisan Economy. In it, the authors outlined how the US city has turned its back on the big producers and instead embraced its artisans. 

Bookbinding is an example of a once often-used process that is seeing something of a resurgence. People looking for these services are interested in quality, craftsmanship and reputation; all values that artisans build their business on. 

The work is often carried out for hobbyists or sometimes for binding institutions, but whatever the audience, re-creating an end product that looks authentic is the ultimate goal. 

Fine books are becoming more highly valued than ever before and there is therefore increasing pressure on binders and restorers to reproduce works as close to the original as possible. 

Fine Cut's bookbinding work 

Fine Cut has worked in collaboration with well-renowned gold finisher John Mitchell to produce a catalogue of designs for tools that date back as far as the 16th century.  They are unique to the company and are designed to give enthusiasts and binders the most authentic finish to their work. 

The ultimate accolade for the company's bookbinding tools came when the firm was awarded the Royal Warrant. 

This is a particularly special achievement as in order to be issued with one, companies have to supply goods to certain members of the royal family for a minimum of five years. 

The fact that Fine Cut has achieved this accolade is testament to the company's dedication to craftsmanship. 

By producing the tools needed for book binders to carry out their work, Fine Cut is doing its bit to support the so-called artisan economy and keep craftsmanship alive.  

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