Scriptorium ars is the online store of handmade products made by the community of monks of the Royal Abbey of Poblet (Spain). We monks carry out a totally traditional bookbinding, applying ancestral binding techniques and following a long tradition that has its origin many centuries ago; that is why each of our products is unique. This work is framed within a life of prayer, study and work.
Saint Benedict said that monks are what they are inasmuch as they work with their own hands. Their purpose is to support the house and the community, apart from satisfying the psychological needs of personal achievement that any human being could have. Work is something sacred for the monk, because through it he joins God participating in his creative work.
Tradition, craftsmanship and quality are the three values that characterize our work. In our society these have been replaced in many cases by others such as immediacy, provisionality and and uniformity. That’s the reason why Scriptorium ars aims to vindicate them and regain their rightful place for them.
The traditional bookbinding process takes time and a lot of dedication. In our workshop we always work with the best raw materials on the market in order to offer high quality and durable products. In our sector, it is common to find identical products, manufactured in series. In contrast, we offer a unique and unrepeatable product for each of our clients. Imperfection is a differentiating feature of our work.
Artisan bookbinding process
We carry out the artisan bookbinding process completely manually. More than 33 manual operations are involved in this. The type of binding that we do is sewn, which is of the highest quality and durability. It is also true that it is one of the most expensive and slowest techniques.
We carry out each of the stages of the binding process in a meticulous way. For example, we apply several layers of white glue on the spine. This requires long drying times, but, on the other hand, it strengthens the notebooks and, in the long run, the white glue also gives them flexibility. When the notebooks are new, it is a bit difficult to open them, but, as time goes by, little by little they become more flexible.
Something similar happened with the leather shoes of yesteryear, which until they adapted to the foot, they could cause a little damage on the feet. However, over the years they were the ones that gave the best results and lasted a long time. Other modern binding techniques allow the notebooks to be fully opened from the start, but the quality is not the same. Our notebooks, in contrast, are made to last.
How do we do it?
In the binding of the leather models, first of all, we make the folds of the booklets that make up the notebook. We undo the book and clean and sanitize these folds. Then we cut and hook the scartivanas (or cartivanas). These elements are strips that are placed next to the sheets so that they can be conveniently bound. Next, we saw the loin with three cuts. Then we sew the booklets we comb and hook the string and glue the loin.
The next step is to place the handmade headbands on the head and foot. We cut the cardboard for the covers and also for the spine. We also cut the skin and hook it to the caps and the loin. Next, we glue the guards and the tarlatan and apply a strong blow with the press. Finally, we let it rest for 24 hours under weight and then we hooked the Florentine paper. We make the golden finishes manually.
Bookbinding workshop of the Poblet Monastery
The bookbinding workshop of the Royal Abbey of Poblet is one of the few artisan bookbinding workshops in Spain and in the world where notebooks and journals are still made in a completely traditional way. In it we keep ancient tools such as wheels, which have been used for centuries to decorate notebooks with gold leaf. We also have other ancient tools, such us sewing frames, gouges, compasses, stamping tools, etc.