Profile: Octavia Bindery

Tucked away in the Southwest corner of downtown Calgary, Robert Leigh Angus runs a cloth over a piece of embossed leather, staining it with rich amber-coloured dye.

“There’s nothing not to love about book binding,” says Angus. “It’s very hands on, it’s very crafty–perfection is everything.”

His choice of trade was purely accidental. Starting out publishing, one of Angus’ clients asked if he could bind in hardcover, and down the rabbit hole he went.

“It is the hardest kind of art that somebody could get involved with as a craftsperson—I use everything I ever learned.”

While the craft uses techniques rooted in centuries past, technology has had a positive effect on this trade.

“Being able to design something in photoshop, then print it out and hand carve it, that’s kind of cool.”

It has also served to connect craftsmen in their common trade, with Facebook discussions blossoming over technique and trade craft.

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