You might very well be reading this post on your iPhone, iPad, or some other portable piece of technology. Sure, that’s the world we live in, where we can receive and record information with the touch of a screen. However, if you’re anything like me, perhaps you still occasionally relish the tactility of textured paper, bound in covers of something equally as practical as it is creative? When I’m next in Paris, I’ll be popping into one of my favourite shops, La Compagnie du Kraft, to stock up.
La Compaignie du Kraft has been making robust handmade notebooks since 1930 in its Parisian workshop. It produces timeless objects for the more classic note-taker; think traditional paper merchant meets lumberjack, meets tannery.
General card-bound notebooks are also available, however the material of choice is natural French leather. Hides dyed in varying tones of burgundy and red, browns, and deep blues enclose sheets of lined, or unlined, vellum with generously tactile fibers. Of course a standard “A-size” notebook would be a welcome addition to anyone’s bag or case, or you could take a courageous leap and replace your technological best friend with a notebook measuring exactly the same size as an iPad or iPhone. No charger or risk of breakage involved!
The notebooks are refillable, the leather cover is made using a tanning process that does not use any chemically produced chrome. It’s durable and made from the toughest leather which does a great job at protecting the pages. It is held together with strong lightweight rivets that are easily removed to replace the paper of choice. The interior pages are made of 100% undyed paper from the pulp of virgin fibres of maritime pine. This paper is not made from recycled paper but the discarded material from mills and tree trimmings. White paper is also available which is produced without any heavy CO2 emissions. Since the kraft paper is produced without any chemicals, and made from pulp, it is 100% biodegradable so you can use as much as you want.
For artists and designers, La Compagnie du Kraft also offers a range of beautiful craft paper reams. Produced in Gascony from 100% pure virgin fibres, machine-glazed on one side and matte on the other, these sheets can be used for a wide range of printed and hand-written projects – wholly delicious.
The logbook is the latest addition to the company’s product range. Initially designed for an array of uses – from a personal diary to a more structured notebook – to complement digital tools with a more direct, spontaneous approach to writing. However, many of its loyal clients asked us the company also adapt the logbook into a diary.
The company claims on its website that La Compagnie du Kraft is probably the most unproductive notebook workshop in the world. Its handful of skilled workers produces around 25,000 pieces per annum. This is all part of its charm and products are part of a popular culture – made for foresters from the French Landes (south-west) who made notes about cutting down trees.
The company still prepares all its notebooks using the same traditional methods in its small Parisian workshop. Even the equipment is serviced in house, as the spare parts are difficult to find.
The current owner Nicolas Recoing acquired the workshop in 2008, reviving it with notion that “we are what we are“, that marketing is about being sincere, and that even the coarsest products can have panache.
The company believes that like an antique perfume, highly prized collector’s item or treasured heirloom, your writing is precious and embodies who you are.
Verba volant, scripta manent, spoken words fly away, written words remain.
The company’s raison d’être is to provide customers with a special place to store their writing that’s easy to use and resists the passage of time. In these notebooks, you will only find what is essential – your thoughts, inner words, the print of your hands on the cover……..the traces of you.
Who wouldn’t want one of their products to record and preserve things we hold dear?
All images courtesy of La Compagnie du Kraft