“With the slogan “Chung tay bảo vệ môi trường” (We protect the environment), we give priority to natural and recycled materials in making the products,” Lan said.
The notebooks are Viet Artisans’ most popular pieces so far, especially with foreign customers. The notebook making process is inspired by traditional sophisticated Vietnamese handicrafts that require deft hands.
“Nowadays bookbinding is usually done by machine. But if I am the customer, I want to buy a good-looking notebook as well as know how to make it,” said Lan.
“Stab binding has a long history in Japanese bookmaking. In Vietnam, this kind of binding has been used over centuries. It is like a treasure when you find it in Vietnam, as the method is no longer used.”
Lan said that it took Viet Artisans three months to find teachers to teach the bookbinding art.
“This method [stabbing] is a very simple and sturdy way of binding a book. It is a lot faster than Coptic stitching. Punch holes through the book near the spine and lash it together with needle and thread. In Vietnam, we are proud to preserve such a nice cultural trait,” said Lan.
Silk-screening, which adds a three dimensional look to a surface, is also applied on rice paper to make the notebooks and bags made by Viet Artisans even more beautiful.
“Many customers who come to our workshop and witness the worker doing those traditional skills give us compliments. We are proud that we can show them a big culture through some tiny art pieces.”