cphmade members featured in COLD NORTH issue 1

10011436_1436275236617467_1278357784_nIf geographical challenges prevents you from visiting Copenhagen, and thereby become acquainted with some of the most skillful craftsmen this world has to offer, may we kindly remind you guys that some of our great members of CPHmade are featured in the debut issue of COLD NORTH Magazine. This means that you can get kind of a feeling of what kind of dedication and passion we experience everyday in the CPHmade network right from a confortable chair in your living room. The magazine puts craftsmanship in the pride of place, and invite their readers to become acquainted with some of the most talented artisans and craftsmen residing in the cold, Northern part of Europe. Thus, you’ll find features with the great bookbinder Klara K, the leathersmith Jeppe Dencker and the crowdfunding heroes Toke and Regner from Fingersurfers.

The magazine is actually sold out on their website, but selected stockists still have copies left of their debut issue. Find out where to get it by accessing the COLD NORTH Magazine stockist list.

Bookbinding at its very best


Nordic Bookbinding 2013
3rd of October – 4th of November
The Royal Danish Library

The exhibition Nordic Binding 2013, offers a wide range of modern bookbinding. The exhibited books are made ​​by bookbinders from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Denmark.
A Danish expert jury have been established to judge and evaluate modern bookbinding in the Nordic countries. The results are in, and 16 works of fantastic bookbinding have been especially selected by the jury.

Judged by the quality of craftsmanship, the book design and the coherence of the books form and content, the jury has curated an interesting range of modern bookbinding.
We are very, very pleased let you know that we have not one, but two(!) CPHmade members represented at this thoroughly curated exhibition. Malene Lerager from the bookbindery Co’libri’ has been nominated and acknowledged for her work on “En mand uden fædreland” [A man without a motherland], and made it as one of the 16 “Selected and Honoured Books”.


FURTHERMORE the bookbinder Klara K from Christianshavn made it into the jury’s selection of of noteworthy works of bookbinding in 2013. Klara K, whom is quite known for her “classic – with a twist” approach to bookbinding, was selected for her work on the book “Dansk Porno” [Danish Porn]. The result is refreshingly unusual. At least we at CPHmade haven’t stumbled upon a book with a full on leopard look. The book is binded in leopard patterned whole canvas, with gilt edged pages and a blood red pastedown crafted in velour.
The book is delivered in a black box made from artificial leather. The special piece of bookbinding was released in a limited edition of 6, and are all sold out.


Interview with Bookbinder Klara*K


Swedish born Klara Kölqvist is a young, successful bookbinder located on the cosy city area, Christianshavn.
From her charming workshop on cool Christianshavn, Klara K practices the art of bookbinding. Her approach to the proud craftsmanship is traditional, but she constantly seeks to bring the art of bookbinding into a modern world. Her approach to the proud and respected craftsmanship is “Classic – with a twist”, as she says. Her assignments and products range very wide, and despite her quite young age, Ms. Klara K has more than 10 years of experience within bookbinding.
On a late summer morning in September, we popped our heads into Klara’s workshop and met with Klara K for a chat about bookbinding in a modern world, unexpected turns in life and the Prince of Sweden.

Photography by Jon Nordstrøm

Photography by Jon Nordstrøm

Did you have a favourite subject in school?

I was quite fond of woodwork in school. I have a sister who is 4 years older than me, so naturally woodwork was on her school timetable long before me. But after I finished my own classes on a regular school day, I went in to my sister’s woodwork class and participated in the subject of woodwork. That was probably my favourite subject. When I get to thinking, I also had a teacher in the third grade, who didn’t want to buy notebooks for her classes. We were instructed to make our own notebooks with covers made out of oilcloth, and I really loved making my own notebooks. It just felt right.

With an appreciation of woodwork and making notebooks, did you have any idea of what you would like to become when you grew up?

No, not at all. But when I was in high school I was quite certain that I would attend college to obtain a “real” education. At that given time, I had no idea that I would turn out to be a craftsman eventually.

What developed your interest in the art of bookbinding?

Well that’s actually quite a story. After graduating high school I felt like it was time to leave home. I was born and raised in Göteborg in Sweden, and I didn’t really feel like moving to Stockholm. I felt like I needed a more drastic change, so my cousin advised me to check out Copenhagen, which he thought was a quite cool city. It was close to my home city, so I thought I’d give a try.
I moved to Copenhagen at the age of 19, and the plan was to get a job in the city and save up some money so I could move to England and improve my English language skills. When I moved to Copenhagen in 1999, everything went according to plan; I quickly got a waiter-job at a restaurant I saved up some money to continue on my path, but something happened. I kind of fell for Copenhagen and didn’t feel like leaving the city right away. At that time, I had worked a very busy waiter-job for a year, and I actually missed school. I missed sitting on a chair, receiving information and education. Being a student. A friend of mine had just got in at the Copenhagen Technical College, and I was strongly recommended to check out the school. I quite liked it, and I decided to give it a go. At that time you needed to take two courses. I quickly decided to work on a course that centred on making art installations, but I was very much in doubt about my second choice. I visited all the different courses at the Copenhagen Technical College to make up my mind, and bookbinding really got my attention. I entered a class room, where an elderly male teacher was checking up on his pupils while listening to jazz music. It was very quiet, cosy and intriguing, and it seemed like the perfect contrast to my busy waiter-job. From that moment on, bookbinding definitely had my attention.

Photography by Jon Norstrøm

Photography by Jon Norstrøm

In an increasingly digitalized world, physical bookbinding seems to be a craftsmanship living on borrowed time. What do you do to preserve your craftsmanship in a modern world?

Well, what might come as a surprise to most people I actually don’t believe that bookbinding is going to be extinct in the near future. The profession is definitely undergoing some drastic changes, and the traditional bookbinding by hand struggles with big challenges when it comes to competing against machines and their efficiency. But I’m not particular worried about my craftsmanship’s ability to survive in the near future. Not even during the global financial crisis, where you’d expect people to cut down on luxurious services like bookbinding by hand. Actually, I believe that the global financial crisis have helped my business and me. For the last couple of years, I’ve experienced an increased interest in customers ordering goods to represent their professional career, i.e. portfolios and other commodities that would represent them well in a possible job-interview.

Photography by Jon Norstrøm

Photography by Jon Norstrøm

What is good bookbindery to you – and do you have any examples?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I can’t really think of any particular examples, but I’ve definitely seen some pieces of work I admire. But actually, my employee, Hasse, was mentored by a fantastic bookbinder, Hans Meyer, whose work I find very fascinating. Hans is now retired, but he sometimes helps me out if I have work to do during Sundays. Hans’ many years of experience within bookbinding makes him a huge knowledge capacity, and he practically knows everything about bookbinding.
It’s super nice to have the chance of following his every move and learn new techniques and ways to approach an assignment. Despite his age, his age he’s never afraid of trying new, unexplored techniques within a craftsmanship he’s been practicing his whole life. I really admire that.
I guess you could say that good bookbindery to me is, when it’s practiced with a thorough understanding and classic approach, but with a modern twist to it.

Which tool in your workshop are you most fond of, and what purpose does it serve?

Over all, it’s really difficult to point out one tool in particular. They’re all quite vital to my crafting process, but I’m really fond of my cardboard cutter. It is like a big scissors, and is very important in my work.

Photography by Jon Norstrøm

Photography by Jon Norstrøm

Could you describe some of your most exciting assignments so far?

Uhmm… quite early in my career I was asked by the Prince of Sweden, to craft 12 special boxes for a his graduation project. The Prince was at that time attending a school of design in Stockholm, and I felt very honoured and special being entrusted with this important and special assignment, even though I didn’t live in Sweden but in Copenhagen.
I was also asked to help out the illustrator Martin Mörck. Martin was about to hand in some of his fantastic illustrations to Louis Vuitton, and he needed an extraordinary way of presenting it to them. I crafted a clean portfolio that matched Martin’s illustrations well. Later on Martin was contacted by Louis Vuitton, and was acknowledged for his presentation and the way his illustrations was presented. I was very proud of that assignment, and to be acknowledged by such a big and respected company.

Menu cards for the Granola on Værnedamsvej. Photography by Jon Norstrøm

Another assignment I was very pleased to do, when I was kindly asked by the multi-entrepreneur Leif Thingtved to craft a guestbook and a blotting pad for an interesting project. Leif is the owner of one of Copenhagen’s most recognizable cafés, Granola. I previously crafted the menu cards for this café, and Leif Thingtved must have liked what I did, because when he was about to open up a the very charming “CENTRAL Hotel and Café” on only 12 square metres (!) he wanted me to craft the hotel’s guestbook and the blotting pad for the desk in the hotel room. I was very pleased with that assignment. I can’t really help feeling incredibly proud, when people I admire and respect enjoy my work. That gets me through the dark days.

Guest book and blotting pad for the Central Hotel and Café on Tullinsgade. Photography by Jon Norstrøm

Guest book and blotting pad for the Central Hotel and Café on Tullinsgade. Photography by Jon Norstrøm

Where do you seek your inspiration for your work?

Well, work occupies a lot of my time, so I don’t really have the time go see exhibitions with an inspirational purpose, but I do see some stuff around I find inspirational. But it’s not like I see a nice car driving around and think, “Oh, I need to transform that into a book cover”. On the other hand, I guess I’m quite motivated when I see products or solutions, where I believe I can do a better job. That definitely motivates me.”

Having lived here for more than 13 years, you must have a favourite place in the city?

I like the water. I quite like just sitting by Christianhavn’s canals, enjoying the city and a nice meal.”

Soldier’s Pay

In a modern society, where nearly every aspect of everyday life is digitized you’d suspect that physical objects like paper and books are on their last legs of life. People all over the world have embraced e-readers and tablets, leaving physical books with a “death sentence” in the near-future.
Even though it seems like a gloomy outlook for physical, published books,
we actually still have craftsmen in Copenhagen who uphold traditions within bookbinding.
At CPHmade, we feel quite privileged to have not only one, but TWO traditional bookbinders in our network, who both offers superb quality of bookbinding.
Today we would like to introduce you to one of our two bookbinders, the talented bookbinder Klara K.
Klara is one the youngest bookbinders in Denmark, and from her combined workshop and shop in the charming city area Christianshavn, Klara is doing all kinds of bookbinding in exquisite quality.
In the video below, you are invited to experience a typical day at Klara K’s workshop. Sit back and enjoy a truly beautiful, and analog, way of working in 2013.

[vimeovideo url=60692761]

Louis Vuitton wrapped in proud traditions from Copenhagen

The swedish engraver Martin Mörck has joined forces with the very talented Copenhagen-based bookbinder Klara K. At the occasion of the “Louis Vuitton / Marc Jacobs” exhibition held by the “Musée Les Arts Décoratifs” in Paris in 2012, Louis Vuitton distributed a book about the two big personalities. The book featured illustrations of both Louis Vuitton himself, and the creative director since 1997, Marc Jacobs. The characteristic illustrations were created by Martin Mörck, and to present these illustrations and others in the most beautiful way Martin Mörck decided to join forces with the talented bookbinder Klara K.

As some of you may know Klara is actually the youngest bookbinder in Denmark, where she works with the traditional approach to the craftsmanship – bookbinding by hand. Klara sees it as her mission to perfect and uphold an old, traditional craftsmanship like bookbinding in a modern environment.

Klara K basically does everything within her craftsmanship, and she produces everything from boxes for perfumes, menucards to restaurants to classic first editions. For Martin Mörck’s illustrations Klara did a simple yet unique portfolio crafted in high-quality canvas. Hope you’ll enjoy the photos of this elegant portfolio, and learn more about Klara K in this (danish only, sorry) video.

[vimeovideo url=30679675]

A little glimpse of creative craftsmanship following Bookbinder Klara K.


bookbinder Klara K


In conjunction with Tomas Tranströmer recieving the Nobel Prize for literature, Klara K has hand-bounded the book Dikter och Prosa 1954-2004. It will be shown at the Nobel Museum as part of an exhibitionthat that runs until june 2013 about Tranströmer’s work.

Klara wanted to take part specifically with a newly-printet book since she sometimes notice within her profession that people only stick to old first editions when things have to be “nice”. So it makes Klara particularly happy that this book has been commended for its craftwork and design.

Klara K has made the book as a classic full leather binding in blue chagrain goat. The title has been set with lead and embossed with 23 carat gold. The headband are hand sewn with silk string. On top of the bind there is a gilded line, but it breaks and the text drops over the edge.

In Tranströmer Klara see somebody who can’t stop writing; the words are flowing out of him in the same way that the book cover can no longer contain the text. It has to be the bookbinder’s main task to protect the text from dust, soot and moisture, but this is where she “fail” and the letters tumble over the edge. You will notice that the letters in Tranströmer’s name are displayed on the cover while the remaining letters of the alphabet appear on the back.

When you open the book you see a light-blue end papers which depicts the silhouette of a tree. This has been attached with blue silk string (white string has been used for the other layers). It’s the bookbinder Jørgen Berg who originally create the paper, and just like Tranströmer with his writing, Klara K believe Berg is a master within his field and she has learned a lot from him.

The cover of the box is made with clothe in the same grey-blue hue as the pages in the book, and the sides of the book have been lined with Tranströmer’s texts.

Bookbinder Klara K made it all with a twist in the same way she try to approach her craft.

Classic, but with a twist!


Klara K canvas box

Klara K has created a box in canvas with silver engraving for the photo artist Astrid Kruse Jensen’s exhibition ‘Disappearing Into the Past’ at the Martin Asbæk Gallery.

Both the box and the book is numbered and signed.

Most stolen book

We just learned from a coming member that this book is the most stolen in one of the largest book dealer chains in Denmark. Klara K (bookbinder) made this book available in a beautiful version – no wonder it is a special object for thief’s and collectors.