Biely Shoaf Presents Louise Mulgrew

One Very Special Designer to Watch in 2015!

This time of year is always exciting for me, since the winter issue of Stationery Trends is just starting to hit mailboxes. This issue contains a feature I spend a lot of time sweating over each year: Our 10 Designers to Watch. Day in and day out, these compendiums (in which we look at each designer’s current bestseller, personal favorite, surprise hit, iconic selection and more) are consistently some of our most-read articles on our website (here’s a glimpse at our dynamic class of ’14). Since each designer is intensely individual, there is no one-size-fits-all criteria for being selected — and sometimes, I am so knocked out by a line, there’s no way I can’t include the designer in question.

That was definitely the case with Jonna Twigg of Twigg’s Bindery. Quite simply, you have never seen fabric and leather handmade books like these! Their exposed bindings are so artful, elegant and colorful, by turns contrasty and complementary, and they are the ultimate repositories for our most precious and private thoughts, notes and sketches. Her site reads, “Not everything belongs in the cloud,” and I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment!

Some lofty ideas, for example, belong in the Spectrum Hardback Collection, comprised of the 18 colors that compose the visual spectrum. “I love watching people discover and connect to their color,” Jonna, who is a self-taught bookbinder, told me. “I think having such a wide selection of colors to choose from make each book feel as unique as the individual who posses it.” jonna_4

Here is Jonna’s current bestseller, small leather books that measure just 5″ square. Originally designed for herself, Jonna offers these in a vivid cavalcade of binding colors, and they can be embossed with the text of your choice.


Jonna starts out each year with a fresh one of these, Extra Large Leather Books. At 9″x6,” there’s plenty of room for discursive thought!


I’m so drawn to these Rainbow Box Sets, available in 5″x5″ and 9″x6″ configurations. The waxed embroidery floss pops so nicely against the ultra-posh book cloth.


With these being the ultimate in tactile as well as visual luxury, it’s not too big a surprise that Jonna looked to Mohawk, specifically its Superfine paper, to fill many of her exquisite tomes. It is, quite simply, the finest printing paper made today. Acid-free and archival, no other paper has the same reputation for quality, consistency and uniformity. Superfine inspires great design with its superb formation, lush tactility, archival quality and timeless appeal.

But don’t take it from me — Jonna, who is very picky about her materials, was kind enough to share why she picked Superfine.

 SS: What was behind your decision in selecting Mohawk Superfine over other papers?

JT: I selected Superfine because it felt so luxurious in hand. The 80lb text weight provides excellent opacity even when taking on dark inks and other artist materials. As a person who uses books not only to write but to draw, opacity is very important to me.

SS: How do you think the paper positions your product?

JT: People immediately respond to the feel of the paper. I take the extra step of hand tearing the edges of my paper, which also reveals the durable and unique composition of the paper.

SS: Have you received any paper-related feedback from customers?

JT: People appreciate that I’ve taken the time to know my materials and suppliers. In a time when our carbon footprint is starting to be understood more widely, it gives people a piece of mind that they are doing business with an environmentally conscious company. While Superfine isn’t actually derived from recycled fibers, many of the papers we use in our books are. Superfine is reserved for our highest-end tomes, as the paper is just irresistible.


If you are lucky enough to be in New York City, you can visit Jonna’s shop at 85 Fort Greene Place in Brooklyn. The carriage house, which was a bookshop in the 90s, features a hot stamper on which you can initial any one of her books — you can even pick your typeface! Otherwise, you can see her gorgeous wares for yourself at these select brick & mortars.