On The Wire: Designer to Watch, Jonna Twigg

Today, guest blogger, Sarah Schwartz, editor of Stationery Trends and The Paper Chronicles, chats with another of Stationery Trends’ Top Ten 2015 Designers to Watch about their career, inspiration and thoughts about paper.  Today, Sarah introduces us to Jonna Twigg of Twigg’s Bindery.

Starting in 2010, in every Winter Issue of Stationery Trends, I have showcased a cavalcade of 10 Designers to Watch. There are no strict criteria to my selection process, rather I just know a perfect fit when I see it — and I sense that each person in every year’s special 10 is on a most interesting and American-made upward trajectory. Today it’s a real treat to share one of these special personalities with Felt & Wire readers.

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Jonna Twigg of  Twigg’s Bindery has breathed new life into blank books, underscoring that they need to be as lovingly crafted as the thoughts, sketches, memories and ideas contained within. Working under the tagline “Not everything belongs in the cloud,” the Brooklyn-based lifestyle brand is committed to working with companies that support good environmental practices. Nearly all their materials come from the United States, and all the books are made in New York City.

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What is your favorite social media outlet & handle?

Instagram, @twiggsbindery.  I love that Instagram is a visual-based platform. So much information can be conveyed through a picture and a short sentence, and because of that I think it draws so many creative people. I’m constantly discovering interesting users doing exciting work.

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How did you get into stationery & paper design?

I’ve always been interested in how things are constructed. As a young person, I was constantly taking things apart and only sometimes successfully putting them back together. One of the objects I was constantly doing this with was books, probably because they were so plentiful in my house — but also because as an object they’re so useful and I always had a desire to make my own books to draw in.

While I never took a bookmaking class in college, I continued making sketchbooks for myself throughout school. Often constructed out of found materials and all kinds of paper, my early books were never meant to be beautifully made; they were strictly creative, usable volumes for me to work in.

After college, I moved to New York and began working exclusively with paper in my artistic practice but also in my career as a paper preparator. As I began considering paper more seriously and learning how to work with it for a variety of uses, my books naturally became more refined, and through that process I began taking my bookmaking more seriously.

I continued using the methods I had adopted throughout the years, but I also took my first bookmaking class. This unlocked another level of understanding and before I knew it, my books had evolved into unique objects that retained the individuality that comes from being self-taught — but also the structural integrity that comes from learning the techniques of an age-old craft.

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What role do you see paper playing in your work?

Because I primarily produce blank journals and sketchbooks, the paper means everything and the entire book is built around the experience of the blank page. At Twigg’s Bindery, we hand fold and tear each sheet of paper that go into our books.

Many people ask me why I tear the paper and the answer is two-fold: One, I think it adds texture to the overall book that appeals to my aesthetic, but more importantly I’ve come to see how the torn edge actually draws people into the text block and they consider the paper in a way I don’t see them doing with other books. The torn edge is the curiosity that leads them to really touch the paper and begin to ask questions about what type of paper it is, where it’s from and how the book itself is made.

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Which Mohawk paper is your favorite and why?

Superfine is still my favorite Mohawk paper and the one we use the most of at Twigg’s Bindery. When I was going through the process of developing my handmade books into a product, one of the most daunting tasks was the choice of paper stock. It was daunting because up until that point each one of my books had different papers inside — whatever I had on hand or whatever I felt like using at the time.

Deciding on one type of text weight paper seemed like an impossible task. However when I went to the paper supplier and started looking through samples, allowing the look and feel of the sheet to be my guide, I landed on Mohawk Superfine. Once I encountered this paper I instantly knew this was the one. It was only after I left the supplier that day and began researching this paper that I learned of its incredible heritage and the fascinating company producing it. I was so pleased to have found a product I could be proud of.

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What recent release of yours best represents your personal style?

I love our new notebook line that combines our premium leather with our brilliant line of fabrics. I think it reflects my personal style both inside and out, because its construction is an original design that I spent many months working on, and outwardly it showcases my love of color and simplicity.

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What are your hobbies outside of work?

My newest and most exciting hobby is spending time with my new baby boy! He is the source of so much inspiration and I’m so looking forward to making things for him and with him in the future. While he’s still so young and his eyes aren’t fully developed I’ve found that he’s already enamored with a little color chart I made years ago. I put this chart of fabrics together when I was working out what colors I would use in my first line of fabric journals. Who knew its biggest fan would be a little baby so many years on!

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