Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Renaissance Arts - Leather and Paper Options

[You can click on any of the photos to enlarge for more detail]

If you are new to pens and paper, you may not have heard of Renaissance Arts, so let me give you a little bit of information.

Renaissance Art is a maker of Handcrafted Leather Books.  The idea began with Arthur Scharf about 12 years ago, and the result is Renaissance Art.  

From the Renaissance Art Website:

Every journal, book, photo album, portfolio - every product you will find on this website is the result of our life’s passions, interests, the places we have been and the people we have met in our travels.

I am Arthur. It all started nearly twelve years ago when....I decided to restart writing my thoughts, ideas, adventures and visualizations in a journal. Not just any journal would do, though I thought my requirements fairly simple…rustic, unique-looking, truly handmade, easy to write or draw in, with great paper. So, I scoured the city and surrounding areas for the perfect book, to no avail. I looked everywhere and found nothing!

In complete frustration, I began to read about how to make books. I remember many months of evenings, sitting in the aisles of bookstores for hours, reading about books, papers and boxes. This frustration was the seed that sprouted and grew into Renaissance Art.
I gave the first book I made to a friend who took it to Spain for a student exchange. I gave other books to more friends and then began being asked to make them for other people. Over the next couple of years I built my initial product line, which I sold at summer art festivals. I interacted with customers about their ideas and what they would like to see in a line of leather books. Renaissance Art today has a continually growing line of leather bound journals, photo albums, portfolios and stationery items.

I no longer exhibit at the summer fairs but supply stores across the U.S. with the products I once looked for but could not find. It is our hope that those with an uncompromising taste and desire for quality will at last find what they have been looking for at Renaissance Art.

Never Write in an Ordinary Book Again

Arthur asked me if I would be interested in reviewing one of the journals, and of course, there was no way for me to say no.  I currently have and am using that journal, which I will be reviewing very soon.  But, rather that overwhelm you with all the information at once, I thought that I would start with the basics - available leather and paper choices.

The folowing are photos of all the leathers and colors which are available (Arthur so kindly sent me samples).  You can request your own samples of both leathers and papers for a small fee which is fully recoverable against your order.

My favorite leather is the distressed Rustic Brown, although I'm rather fond of the Charcoal also.

From top left clockwise: Distressed Rustic Brown, Rustic Brown, British Tan, Cranberry, Molasses and Flight Jacket
From top left clockwise: Charcoal, Rustic Black, Merlot, Sunflower, Rust and Black
From top left clockwise: Avacado, Wintergreen, Ocean Blue and Twilight Blue

When you go to the website to order you may not see what you want it the leather you want, don't despair. Just click on the 'Tweak My Item' button and send them as email to find out if you can find out if the item is available in another leather or with another type of paper, or if they can make it with the leather and paper you want, most likely they can.

You can click on the photos to enlarge

I tested these papers with fountain pens and ink.  None of them showed ANY sign of feathering, bleedthrough or showthrough.  They do have very different textures though and you will probably want to choose the texture for your use and/or personal preference. 

All are good for writing, but the Zerkall Book and the Bamboo are very smooth and would be my choices for daily writing use. 

The Arches Textwook is textured but handles pen and ink well and also handles watercolor extremely well. This piece was done on the Arches Textwove in the journal that I received.

The Frankfurt is not quite as smooth as the Zerkall or Bamboo but it is less textured than the Textwove, it also is a lovely paper.  Hmmm, might just have to order some of all of them to really try them out.

If you do decide to order a journal , please click on the badge in my sidebar. I will receive a small commission if you order using it, thanks.  Plus, don't forget to stay tuned for the review of the journal that I received.


Molossus said...

I've been waiting eagerly for your review. I wondered about the papers. The Arches Textwove sounds like the product for me. Hmmm. Hubby's letting me have an early Christmas present with the watercolor class I'm taking. Wonder if he'd let me have one of these as well.

I'm not being greedy am I?

Stephanie said...

Are there only leather covers? I tend to avoid leather journals for some reason or another, so I'm curious.

Julie (O-kami) said...

Yes - leather books are their niche.

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