10 March 2016

Our New Graduated Stacking Tray Designs

Stacking trays made to order by Parvum Opus
A set of octagonal stacking trays made with one of our beautiful new Japanese papers. In the top tray you can see my very favorite antique netsuke and a stack of our fun new miniature desk blotter business cards. Custom made to order trays are available at
The Parvum Opus Shop.

I adore exploring antique shops both close to home and when I travel, and among my favorite finds are small trays. The best ones have beautiful scale and personality, and are always the perfect thing to finish off a desk or table corner. I've designed our new range of trays with my charming antiques in mind, paying extra attention to proportion and scale. 

Stacking trays made to order by Parvum Opus
A set of rectangular trays in graduated sizes. This set was made with our second new paper, a beautiful Japanese Chiyogami paper with a shagreen-like pattern of
gold dots on a rich green ground.

Our new trays are available in rectangular and octagonal formats, in graduating sizes, with or without brass ball feet, and it's been great fun to design these latest additions to our collection. At the bindery, we're known for our meticulous craftsmanship, and it's been particularly enjoyable (I hope it's not too nerdy to say) to design a set of proprietary techniques to ensure that the corners on our octagonal trays are as sharp and crisp as those in our other trays and boxes.

Stacking trays made to order by Parvum Opus
The octagonal trays, with the larger one reversed. I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it. It's a hand silk-screened Chiyogami paper, still made in small batches in the traditional Japanese way, and reminds me of the intricate silk patterns found in kimono fabrics.

The introduction of our new trays coincides with the addition of two new papers for our palette. We stock eighteen papers, which we invite you to see on our website's palette pages. Beyond these, we work with hundreds of fine papers from around the world via special order on behalf of our clients, and it's hard not to fall in love with each one. The Japanese Chiyogami papers in particular come in more than a thousand patterns, each one special in its own way. It was a challenge to settle on our two new patterns, but I think you'll agree that both the interlocking circle design and shagreen-like dotted green design are especially beautiful. 

Custom stacking trays by Parvum Opus
This is the smaller of our rectangular trays, shown with one of my tiniest antique books, one of our small jacketed Moleskine journals, and an antique English salt cellar, pressed into service as a paper clip container.

I do hope you've enjoyed seeing our new arrivals, just in time for the spring. If you'd like to collaborate on your own perfectly scaled and patterned trays, or if you have a special project in mind, we are cheerfully at your service.

17 February 2016

The Art of the 'In-Box'

One of our lidded paper trays made with Il Papiro's beautiful brown
peacock hand marbled paper. By special order via www.parvumopus.com

We've had a run on our 'in-box' paper trays recently. Perhaps, like me, our clients are making the best of the winter months to tidy up their workspaces. Here are a few lovely examples, showcasing some of the world's loveliest papers:

A lidded in-box tray made with a red fleurs de lys pattern,
made by Rossi in Italy. More details at www.parvumopus.com.

For this example, we used a beautiful hand silk-screened
Chiyogami paper from Japan. All of the ball handles for
our paper trays are carefully painted to coordinate
with each paper pattern. 

Here, we used another Chiyogami paper, this time in tones of
gray and rust. I never tire of working with such lovely papers.

A desk organizer tray jacketed in Rossi's turquoise
Florentine paper. 

For this in-box project, we used a vintage world map design.

paper tray desk tidy, www.parvumopus.com
Rossi's classic red Florentine paper is always a popular choice for our
clients, and this paper tray design shows it off nicely. 

Sure to cheer you up on a cloudy day, this lidded paper tray's
yellow hand-marbled paper is made in France. I imagine the desk this
belongs to is the site of some fascinating work!

It was a pleasure to make each of these paper trays, and there are several more in progress at this very moment-- how wonderful. We of course invite you to visit our website to see more of our custom desk furnishings, or inquire about a bespoke project of your own. 

31 January 2016

A Valentine from Parvum Opus

Parvum Opus Bespoke Desk Furnishings
 Parvum Opus is pleased to provide desk furnishings
made to order in your choice of colors and patterns.
Visit our shop for details.

Warm Valentine's wishes from Parvum Opus!

We're getting ready for a new batch of stunning papers to arrive in the bindery from around the world. Even while winter lingers, it looks like spring in the workroom with these new colorful additions. We look forward to sharing the resulting new works!

11 December 2015

A New Partners' Desk organizer

A new project: a double-sided partners' desk organizer made to our client's specifications and jacketed in a stunning hand-marbled paper by Il Papiro. 

At Parvum Opus, we have the pleasure of collaborating with our clientele on beautiful bespoke projects every day, and often, our tight schedule prevents us from taking the time to photograph and share them. So today it's my pleasure to share a recently completed project: a double-sided desk organizer designed specifically for our client's Edwardian partners' desk. It features slots for stationery, pens and pencils on both sides, and measures just over 15" long. For this piece, we selected one of the world's finest handmade papers from Il Papiro, the venerable Italian papermaker. 

This paper, called a 'peacock marble' is made one sheet at a time using a centuries-old process, with every inch beautifully varied. To give you some idea of how this paper is created, here's a short video snip from Il Papiro in Firenze (via YouTube): 

We hold craftsmanship and design in the highest regard here at the bindery, and it's a distinct pleasure to work with materials made in the same spirit. As with all of our bespoke projects, we were delighted to design and fabricate this piece and hope that our clients find it beautiful and useful for many years to come.


07 December 2015

The True Secret of Happiness

Image via gladgirl.com.

From the venerable William Morris, a beautiful thought to keep in mind in the midst of the busy holiday season and as we move forward into a bright, new year... 

Happy Holidays from Parvum Opus!

02 November 2015

Desk Calendars, Looking Back...

The 2016 desk calendar from Parvum Opus... How the time has flown!

As our new calendar for the coming year is flying out the door (I'm impressed at how organized our clientele is, as always-- I won't start my own holiday shopping for quite some time!), I'm feeling nostalgic for all of the beautiful objets d'art that I've had the privilege to study and paint over the last five years. Here, starting with the new batch, is a little trip down memory lane...

The paintings for 2016 include beautiful objects from all over the world, and spanning thousands of years in age. Click here to learn more.

The paintings for 2015-- that tea caddy in the top row is one of my personal favorites:


And here are the motifs from 2014:

 And 2013:

And lastly, 2012:

We actually began producing calendars on a very small scale for friends and family in 2010, but sadly, those images have been lost. Even still, it's lovely to look back through five years' worth of these small jewels and think of all the hours happily spent minutely observing these beautiful treasures of the decorative arts. We certainly hope that all of you who have purchased calendars for yourselves and as gifts will find them beautiful and useful throughout the coming year!

Parvum Opus desk calendars are available for purchase as a boxed set, refill folio, or simply the cards and easels 'a la carte'. We invite you to visit The Parvum Opus Shop to learn more.

10 March 2015

New for Spring: Moleskine® Cover Jackets

New refillable Moleskine® cover jackets by Parvum Opus.

Well, perhaps it's not quite spring yet, but here in Michigan, a 40+ degree sunny day like today can certainly bring on a case of spring fever! And just in time, we've introduced a new series of colorful jackets for everyone's favorite notebooks from Moleskine®. Even though I make books here in the bindery, I adore filling my Moleskine cahier journals with notes, sketches, doodles.. They've been my favored sketchbooks for many years. The Moleskine covers         
An interior view of the jacket, lined in 
Italian book cloth. The pockets along 
the edges accept the front and back 
covers of the Moleskine® cahier.
we've designed are flexible, and meticulously tailored using the same Italian book cloth and fine art papers from France, Japan and Italy used in our hand-bound books. They feature rounded corners and allow access to the journal's back pocket. We've also designed a series of fun adhesive labels to personalize the covers-- such a small thing, but our clients are having great fun with them. Best of all, our cover jackets are refillable, so once a journal has been filled with genius ideas, it can be removed and a fresh one slipped in. Soon we'll be introducing slipcases sized to fit the Moleskine® cahier journals, beautifully archiving up to twelve volumes of art- and poetry-filled journals. Stay tuned...

It takes many tiny cuts to form the beautifully
rounded corners on our 
Moleskine® jackets.

It's such fun to design a new range for the bindery, especially as we find we've tapped into the shared obsession surrounding the Moleskine® cahiers. Keeping journals or commonplace books is nothing new, of course, and stunning historical examples exist. If Pinterest search results are any indication, note-taking, sketching and pleine air painting are alive and well, despite the ease of 'electronic options'. 

An incredible example from the past: A page from Carl Linnaeus' commonplace
book, 1726-1727. You can see and read the entire
archive thanks to The Linnean Society of London.

And a beautiful example from the present: Architectural
sketches by 
Chema Pastrana, via Pinterest.

Are you familiar with commonplace books? According to Wikipedia:
"Commonplace books (or commonplaces) were a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books were essentiallyscrapbooks filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they had learned. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator's particular interests. They became significant in Early Modern Europe.
"Commonplace" is a translation of the Latin term locus communis (from Greek tópos koinós, see literary topos) which means "a theme or argument of general application", such as a statement of proverbial wisdom. In this original sense, commonplace books were collections of such sayings, such as John Milton's commonplace book. Scholars have expanded this usage to include any manuscript that collects material along a common theme by an individual.
Commonplace books are not diaries nor travelogues, with which they can be contrasted: English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke wrote the 1706 book A New Method of Making Common-Place-Books, "in which techniques for entering proverbs, quotations, ideas, speeches were formulated. Locke gave specific advice on how to arrange material by subject and category, using such key topics as love, politics, or religion. Commonplace books, it must be stressed, are not journals, which are chronological and introspective." [1] By the early eighteenth century they had become an information management device in which a note-taker stored quotations, observations and definitions. They were even used by influential scientists. Carl Linnaeus, for instance, used commonplacing techniques to invent and arrange the nomenclature of his Systema Naturae (which is the basis for the system used by scientists today)."

Whether you keep commonplace books, journals, diaries, vade mecums or doodle pads, we're delighted to share in the long-running and very human enthusiasm for putting pen to paper. Enjoy!