by Ana Matos
Hi, I’m Ana from Portugal and currently producing custom and handmade bookmarks under the name CraftsforYou.
Before talking about the work that I do and the types of bookmarks that I create, I want to share a little bit about my experience with books. Last Christmas I had a flashback about those times when buying a book was rare and receiving one was amazing. I had a lot of books in my school backpack but few, for leisure times, on my shelf. Back then having a book was so precious that I used to read the same book more than once during summer vacations. Later, in university, I had a lot of technical books to study asap and still no money (as a typical broke student) to buy and add books to my library, or should I say shelf. Fortunately, between friends, we would trade books which was a good solution and a way of increasing the sense of responsibility for shared things. I treated the books with care and tried to read them fast to give them back. But with my own (few) books I didn’t use such exemplary treatment. I used to underline the text and bend the corners of the pages – no bookmarks in my vocabulary! I feel so ashamed! Last week I was picking some books to give away for charity and again revisited my horrible crimes. Underlining was a bad habit I got from school, to facilitate studying and concentration.
Things are different now. I have books all around me, use bookmarks (paper and my own handmade) and have never bought so many books as before. They are still expensive in Portugal, at least for us, but now there’s more competition and so more good deals. Despite all you can see that books are special to me but the start of creating bookmarks didn’t arise from that - it was not at all premeditated.
In the end of 2015, before Christmas, I decided to reproduce some simple bracelets I saw on Etsy, so I bought materials but encountered so many cute charms that I ended up buying more than needed. The bracelets didn’t attract much attention, although now and then people still order. One day my other half was thinking about a present for a cousin and asked if I could do something with my materials. The person in question liked books, so why not a bookmark? Later I searched on Google to see if there was something that seemed like our ideas and there it was: bookmarks in cord, leather, etc.. So I made one and a few days later selected charms, and other stuff I had, and made a bunch of bookmarks. I posted on Facebook with friends and they bought as Christmas gifts. I really enjoyed the results and people buying more than one item to give. Like I usually say, money shouldn’t be a reason for not giving a present to someone. That was not the case because they were affordable, and still are (LOL), and above all I was spreading my handmade items, and so my dedication/energy. That is a lovely feeling, believe me. Am I forgiven for my crimes now that I do cosy bookmarks?
After Christmas time I started to have requests to make custom bookmarks. A client showed me book covers and asked me to do specific pieces. So that’s how it all continued.
In the last year I have been producing three types of bookmarks: custom with faux suede cord, zen and cork bookmarks. Along with these materials I use charms, pendants, stones and crystals, things I pick from mother nature, and sometimes things customers send me to re-use or because it has a special value to them.
Custom bookmarks usually are made in faux suede cord so it can match the colours of the book cover.
Zen bookmarks are the ones where I incorporate crystals, stones and charms related to zen, spiritual and healing vibes. For this type of book marker there’s also a partnership with an online store that sells stones and crystals – Prenda Natural. They choose these last parts and the rest is pretty much up to me. We have created a unique style and for now they are selling these pieces exclusively.
The last type I'm assembling are the bookmarks made in cork. Portugal is a leading country in exporting cork, so how come I did not have this idea before? These [bookmarks] don’t need to match the book cover colours. People just have to choose the combination of charms they prefer or ask for a specific one. I hope cork bookmarks one day become a vintage item, like some old and exclusive bookmarks IFOB members have been sharing.
There’s a world out there of people like me creating bookmarks or even doing for themselves, because there’s no limits when it comes to imagination and materials to use. And who ever likes books likes to accessorize them to enrich the entire experience of reading. Because picking a book, contemplating the cover, smelling the paper and diving in the story is a sensory experience I don’t intend to switch entirely to ebooks. Besides, how could I use my bookmarks in this case?!
Bookmarkly yours ;)
My website: http://crafts-for-you.site123.me
Our new member Gaby Dondlinger from Luxembourg is not only an avid bookmark collector, but she is also the inventor of a new type of bookmark exhibition, the so called "coffee table exhibition". She has sent us some pictures to let us see her idea of displaying her most precious bookmarks which were given her as gifts by friends and family or she brought home from foreign countries. "I keep them under the glass of my coffee table, so I can look at them every day," as she puts it.
I must say I was totally surprised by her pictures because I had never seen such a storage and display method yet though some of the collector colleagues has written various articles about how to store and display bookmarks. It will be interesting to know about the history of this table later.
"Since I was young I have been attracted by bookmarks, not as an expert collector, but rather as a random buyer and keeper of bookmarks," says Gaby about her collecting passion. "I like bookmarks from different countries which show the speciality or the character of a country, be it by the material, the symbols, or the way it is made."
Bookmarks from different countries on display in the coffee table exhibition of Gaby: Folded paper bookmarks from Japan, and an Edelweiss bookmark from Austria.
Black lace bookmark from Malta, bookmark handwoven and stitched in blue and white from Wisconsin, USA, purple felt bookmark from Lapland.
Other bookmarks from foreign countries, top and below.
by Asim Maner, January 2017
by Matt Gilbert (reposted from richlyevocative.net)
During a recent spot of tidying at home, I came across a box containing my childhood collection of bookmarks.
When I was growing up my parents were second-hand booksellers in Bristol. One exciting perk, or by-product of this for me as a kid, was finding all kinds of bookmarks that previous readers had left behind in many of the books Mum and Dad bought, which I was allowed to keep. Very occasionally you’d also find paper money hidden within the pages of books too, but this I wasn’t allowed to keep.
Sifting through some of the bookmarks, it was interesting to note a few themes or threads.
Judging by the numbers produced (many more than shown here) Insurance companies appear to have been big on bookmarks.
The likes of Scottish Widows, Royal Exchange and Northern Assurance once appeared to commission a lot of commercial artists to illustrate their own branded bookmarks. I suppose it makes sense for an industry that spends much of its time reminding people to renew or change policies to print these reminders on objects devoted to the very purpose of remembering.
I particularly like the Northern Assurance series of city and townscape panoramas – including London and Aldeburgh in Suffolk.
Animals and scenes and subjects from nature also feature on many of the bookmarks – I seem to have had a thing for birds – the box contained quite a few bookmarks with illustrations of real birds along with various others – including Puffin of course – used to promote books and reading.
Some of the most interesting and funny bookmarks I’d collected are old public service messages and adverts, with their now almost comically stilted sounding phrasing and matter of fact declarations of quality, or finger wagging warnings and informative notices.
Amongst the ads, pens, cigars and cigarettes figure prominently – I’d guess that this is because their shape is perfect for reproduction on a bookmark.
My favourite is a bookmark extolling the virtues of bus travel: TAKE IT EASY. TAKE A BUS. Clearly produced in an age before Mrs. Thatcher made her infamous (albeit possibly apocryphal) declaration that: “A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure.” – although the illustration on the bus bookmark shows a rather self-satisfied looking woman, (looking not unlike Margaret Thatcher funnily enough), who’s delighted to have nabbed herself one of the cool seats upstairs at the back.
There are also a few here with an esoteric theme – this was my Dad’s specialist area so there are some bookmarks featuring the likes of Madame Blavatsky, promoting Occult bookshops or histories of The Rosicrucians.
Naturally many bookmarks feature writers and poets, alongside the bookshops that sold their work. I was sad to note that all of the Bristol based ones I found now no longer exist. I can remember what an incredible, eye-widening treasure house George’s Children’s department used to be. This is described on their bookmark as having “the largest stock of books in the West for children of all ages”. Take that Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and South Wales.
I hope you enjoy taking a look at some of these as much as I once enjoyed collecting them.
by Melia Miller
Unlike regular bookmarks, book weights (also called weighted bookmarks) keep your place while you are reading. They are particularly helpful when you are consulting a book but need your hands free. For instance, book weights are used by knitters and crocheters to keep pattern books open while creating, by students to hold textbooks open while doing homework, by professors to keep reference materials accessible when they prepare a lecture or an article, and by casual readers who like to enjoy a book while having a bite to eat. Book weights can also be used by people who find that holding a book open is physically difficult.
There are several types of book weights available on the market. The conventional mass-produced book weight is leather with some type of metal weights in the interior. There are also rubber and metal book weights in various solid colors. Handmade book weights typically consist of a sewn tube of fabric, which is then filled with sand, beans, rice, or some other loose material.
Other book weights made by me..
Having been a literature major in a former life, I know the awkwardness of trying to keep multiple books open at once, even resorting to layering them to hold pages open. I needed book weights, ones that were slim and portable but also ethical and functional without clinging to the pages, which could result in tearing. After a few years of researching, calculating, testing, and even a batch of book weights weighted with glass tiles; I finally came up with my current design, which consists of two pieces of steel encased in two layers of fabric. As far as I know, I’m the only one who makes book weights out of solid metal weights and fabric. The beauty of fabric is that, with so many options, it can reflect the personality of the reader. I love textiles and books, so it’s a joy to work with so many wonderful fabrics and to pair them up with an assortment of books for photos.
I run a business with the title Dragon in Knots (dragoninknots.com), which is a one human, one hamster micro business based in New Mexico (southwestern United States). Everything we sell is made by me (I've tried putting the hamster to work, but it's hard to crochet without opposable thumbs). We (and by we, I mean me - the hamster wasn't born yet) have been in business for over 10 years. Our product range includes citrus coasters, market bags, scarves, gloves (both fingered and fingerless), wrist cuffs, and fabric & steel book weights. If you wish to learn more about the inspiration behind Dragon in Knots, you can read my article Textiles Tell Tales. Book lovers among you may wish to have a look at my blog to read book reviews and poetry in translation.
by Regina Mačiulytė
We are glad to hear Regina Mačiulytė’s story about her bookmark collection. Regina wrote to me not long ago and asked to exchange bookmarks. She sent some from her country but also some made from her photographs which were very beautiful and interesting. Making photographs into bookmarks is a good way to exchange with others and show interesting sites from your location that would not be available otherwise. Regina has a good eye for photography! Let’s hear more about how she got started.
- Laine Farley, August 2016
THE STORY OF MY BOOKMARK COLLECTION
I want to share the story of my bookmark collection with my collector colleagues from the IFOB and elsewhere. I started collecting bookmarks 3-4 years ago. I thought that I could collect them and it could be like my hobby and passion. Though I am collecting bookmarks for a few years only, there are some older bookmarks in my bookmarks box. My oldest bookmarks date from 2004 and they are handmade by a colleague of my mother who produced them as a paper collage. At that time, this lady was sick and wanted to do something that made her feel good. She thought that those bookmarks would make nice gifts for herself and for other people she knew.
At that time, as I received those bookmarks from the colleague of my mother I was very happy and I had the first time the idea of collecting bookmarks. However, it took several years before I really started to collect bookmarks. My father helped me very much with my hobby as he was traveling a lot. He would always come back home from another country with some bookmarks for me.
I also collect postcards from other places by sending and receiving postcards to other collectors. Some of these postcard collectors who I even don't know personally don't use or collect bookmarks, and as they heard that I collect also bookmarks they helped me by giving or sending me bookmarks as a gift. Also family members, friends and other people who knew that I collect bookmarks kept giving me bookmarks which they collected for me from different places.
At the beginning I thought that I am the only person who collects bookmarks. Later, I found out that I was not alone as a bookmark collector, moreover that there were many other people who also like to collect bookmarks as I do. That gave me the opportunity to swap bookmarks with collectors from other countries and to enlarge my collection.
I also like to make bookmarks by myself. I love photography and my father suggested that I could make possibly nice bookmarks with my photos. So I started producing bookmarks in cooperation with a publisher in 2015. Now, if I am about to take a picture I always think if this would make a nice bookmark.
Getting more and more a serious bookmark collector and producer, I started to visit book fairs. In Vilnius, the capital of my country Lithuania, every February there is a very good book fair where I can collect bookmarks for free, and some publishers even allow to take not one or two bookmarks only, but many. Thus I come back home from the book fair often with 60-80 new bookmarks for my collection. Many of them are doubles to be used for swapping with my bookmark friends in many different countries. This year, I visited also the book fair in Riga, Latvia our neighbour country, in February and could collect bookmarks there as well.
In my collection, the biggest number of bookmarks are from Lithuania. Second country is Poland, where my father goes visiting every year. I have about 2800 bookmarks from 51 countries at the moment. It's amazing how fast my collection grows. Almost every day, I can add new bookmarks to my collection with a little help of my collector and swap colleagues. It's a very pleasant and fulfilling experience to make friends over the country borders with people who I even do not know in person.
In November 2015 I made a very first exhibition of my bookmark collection in Panevezys, Lithuania. This year I had two exhibitions in my city Siauliai, Lithuania. Maybe next week there will be a third exhibition in the botanical gardens of the Siauliai University. A fourth exhibition is planned in the school I have attended earlier. My exhibitions awoke the interest of some local newspapers and they wrote about me and my passion – collecting bookmarks.
The IFOB First Year Commemorative Bookmark 2016 will be printed by and by and only to the extend of orders from our gift shop. Each bookmark carries an individual number in the order of the production and the date of printing. The bookmarks are produced by fine art print on premium textured card and are of exquisite quality (size: 205 x 80 mm).
The aim of this procedure is to create a rare and highly collectible bookmark for our members and for other collectors. This years bookmark represents the first in a series of bookmarks. Each year a new bookmark with a new design created by a new illustrator will be produced. The bookmark for 2016 has been illustrated by Asim Maner.
I hope you like the idea and many bookmark friends will consider to collect these bookmarks. The revenue from the sale of the bookmarks are thought to cover IFOB's expenses like all other items in our gift shop. The image of the bookmark below is not bad, however, it gives only an approximate impression of the real bookmark, which I think is more beautiful in reality as on the picture. As per today, 14 bookmarks have been printed. At the end of the year we'll know how many bookmarks there will be in total. A truly exciting affair for the collectors.
- Asim Maner
Dear friends of bookmarks, dear IFOB members!
First of all, thank you very much for your comments and emails about the idea of launching a World Bookmark Day. After due and long consideration of the pros and the cons stated in your comments, I came to the conclusion that we should attempt this adventure. I’ll explain the reasons why tackling it seems to be more reasonable for us than just forgetting it.
The main pro for the idea is that a WOBODA is not only consistent with our mission - that is increasing the public awareness of bookmarks - but it is also an excellent means to support this goal. Actually, there is no doubt that a WOBODA would be a wonderful and valuable concept for us, if it would not entail any substantial disadvantages. The cons in your comments concentrated on one major problem: Is a WOBODA not a too big project for our young and small community? Are we able to afford the necessary time and work for such an enterprise without neglecting our current operations? These are serious concerns expressed by several members, indicating that there is a potential risk in this subject, and I am thankful for this feedback.
On a closer look, it was obvious that the cons were associated in most cases with similar world commemorative days, particularly with The World Book Day (WBD). The WBD is indeed a huge project, designated by UNESCO and marked in over 100 countries all over the world. It goes without saying that we cannot handle such a giant project, not even approximately. Therefore, I can fully understand all the objections resulting from this scenario. With the distance of a few weeks, I was able to realise that on the other hand nobody forces us to start a gigantic project. We can start with a small project, small enough not to overstrain our resources.
A further question is if such a small project which we could afford momentarily will have any effect at all. I would say no, not immediately. But it can grow if we are patient. It will grow in step with us, and possibly with a little help from our friends, i.e. groups from outside which might fancy the project and support us. I don’t see any obstacles in starting the WOBODA as a small campaign, just as big as we are ready to invest in it. Of course, as with all new creations we bring into the world we cannot overlook the complete development of this child to the end. It will go its own way and possibly surprise us now and then. Let us get it going.
Let's say a few words about the abbreviation WOBODA which might sound unusual or even funny in your ears. The shortest word for the World Bookmark Day would be WBKD, however it is too similar to WBD with the risk of mixing them up. WBKMD looks a tiny bit more different, however, it is not a catchy one easy to memorise. After some discussion with my editor colleague Laine Farley, we agreed on WOBODA and hope you'll like it.
I have been thinking a while about an appropriate date for the WOBODA. It should be placed in a part of the year where people are not under stress like around Christmas in many countries, and also not on the move as they are in holiday seasons. This would allow everyone to concentrate better on reading and activities associated with the day. The period between the new year and the start of spring seems to be a quiet and suitable season, at least here in Europe where the days are still short and dark and bad weather is around the next corner: ideal conditions to deal with books and bookmarks. Consulting the List of Commemorative Days on Wikipedia showed that a few days in the last week of February were not occupied with other celebration events. Finally, the selection fell on the 25th of February, which is a Saturday in 2017, the date of the very first celebration of the WOBODA.
What do we need for the start? It is of course not enough just to declare a certain day to be World Bookmark Day, it must also be brought to the attention of other people to have an effect. The best way to do that is certainly, if people would talk about it. Sure, I can go and ask other websites and blogs to report about it; however, they are likely to do it if we also offer a nice story and pictures. Obviously, it is our task to create a story about the World Bookmark Day, and that story should better be a compelling one in order to motivate others to adopt and talk about it.
I had not to ponder long about a nice story to promote the WOBODA. We know since the appearance of the IFOB publication No. 1, that bookmarks are as old as the codex form of books we use today, around 2000 years. This new and astonishing fact which the IFOB has brought to light very recently is still unknown for the majority of the public. It should not be difficult to knit an interesting story around this information. The story could look like as follows:
25 February 2017 - WORLD BOOKMARK DAY (WOBODA)
We celebrate the readers' little helper and the ever faithful companion of the books for 2000 years
Bookmarks might have not received much attention yet. They even might have been ignored widely so far. But we believe that there is a different story in which this quiet companion will no longer wait passively to be noticed. The bookmarks will receive attention and approval they deserve with a little help from their friends. Friends who love to use bookmarks while reading, friends who love to collect bookmarks, illustrate and produce bookmarks, who write blogs, articles, and books on bookmarks, friends who take care of them in libraries and museums, and some other unknown friends. Join us in our activities if you think you are a friend of bookmarks. The WOBODA is an excellent occasion to help bookmarks get the recognition they deserve.
We will offer some activities for people to join us in association with the day and in the run-up phase. Do you have ideas about activities for the WOBODA? Please do write your comments, they are welcome!
Please check out also our new page WOBODA where all informations and activities associated with the World Bookmark Day can be seen.
Gangadharan from India has joined us recently and he has a lot to tell already about his bookmarks he is collecting since 2008. He has been registered by the India Book of Records with his collection of 2000 bookmarks in June 2012. Well, from a European point of view it doesn't seem to be an exciting news to have over 2000 bookmarks in one's collection today. Quite a few collectors do have several thousand bookmarks as we know. However, this may reflect a different situation in India, maybe due to a lower presence of bookmarks in this country.
The newspaper Deccan Herald has written an interesting article about Gangadharan and his 'unusual' hobby of collecting bookmarks back in 2012. We are displaying a photo of the article for our readers so that they can enjoy it.
Reading the article, once again some differences to Europe and the western world can be detected. For instance, the statement: "Traditional methods of reading are passe." and "This is an electronic world and reading is limited to old-timers." Possibly, this is showing us that electronic reading devices such as ebooks. tablets, or smart phones do enjoy a high popularity in India which are associated with being up-to-date. However, here in Europe and in North America there is no evidence that reading is losing any attractivity. On the contrary, every year more books are published and thinking of the huge and increasing number of young bloggers who write about their reading experience and book reviews, there can be no worry at all about the future of traditional reading.
“A gentleman and a scholar”—this phrase always comes to mind when I think of fellow collector Don Baldwin although he would surely disavow both terms in his eminently modest way. I first “met” Don in 2009 when he sent a comment about an article on bookmarks I had written for the “On Marking Books” column at the web site BiblioBuffet. He offered to send an example from his collection of a bookmark that was similar to those I had written about, and he also complimented me and editor Lauren Roberts for our contributions to bookmark lore. That little exchange was so typical of Don: always generous with his knowledge, his collection, and his compliments.
Christmas Elf bookmark from the collection of Don Baldwin
As readers of this website know, there are not many of us bookmark collectors, and even in the United States, I know of a dozen at most, so it was thrilling to find a fellow enthusiast. Little did I know that he was probably the most experienced collector among us, as well as one of the most ardent. His daughter, Tama Baldwin, later described him as an inveterate collector who “spent over a half a century collecting, and he collected broadly as well across many types and many centuries.” At the time, Lauren and I, and another collector in Santa Barbara, CA, Alan Irwin, began planning a virtual convention for bookmark collectors, so we asked Don if he would like to participate. His presentation was marvelous and that’s when I realized what a treasure he was for all bookmark collectors.
During the next couple of years after the virtual convention, Don found other ways to showcase his collection and share his knowledge. He was thrilled to have a display at the Iowa City Public Library in 2011. Alas, the newspaper article with photographs is no longer available although there is still a brief mention of the exhibit from the library’s site.
Don also worked on photographing and putting his collection online on Flickr as well as writing a blog. He would write to me every so often about something he noticed in one of my articles and he would always rather sheepishly say that he was still learning how to make better photographs or write more interesting articles. He was well into his 80s by then, so the fact that he was learning all of this technology was impressive, and he really did a great job in spite of his self criticism. His Flickr pages are still visible although it appears that his blog has been removed.
Bookmarks from the collection of Don Baldwin
Don’s generosity was so natural and impressive, especially in this day and age. He would often send me images of bookmarks related to my columns, and once he asked if I would like to have some articles he had collected. That offer resulted in a large envelope of hard-to-find articles from antiques and crafts publications along with some back issues to fill in the few bookmark periodicals that exist. For one column, I interviewed a young woman who was just starting to collect who mentioned she liked bookstore bookmarks, especially those from chain bookstores. Don volunteered to send her a large sample from his collection. Don took great pleasure in paying it forward to other collectors.
I didn’t hear from Don for a while and then in December, 2013, I got a message from his daughter Tama telling me that he had passed away in October of that year. She wanted to know if Lauren and I could help her find a home for his wonderful collection. Indeed, he continued collecting up until his very last days with her helping him review eBay listings while he was in the hospital. She said that Don wanted to keep the collection together and donate it to a library or museum that would be interested in displaying it. As she put it:
“The point I am making is that I am motivated in large part because he cared very dearly about the collection and wished very much for it to have a home where others might come to enjoy it. The show he had at the public library really pleased a lot of people - many of whom have no idea about the history of the bookmark as a physical object. My husband and I also attended a talk he gave on the history of the bookmark and it was nothing less than a marvel to listen to him talk - he helped people fall in love with what he loved.”
Stitched Victorian bookmarks from the collection of Don Baldwin
I had done a little research and thinking about what to do with my own collection, so we exchanged information, and I checked with several colleagues to see where there might be interest—the Smithsonian, New York Public Library, University of Virginia, San Francisco Public Library. Sometimes the largest libraries are the least likely to want this type of collection, although they are often the first ones approached on the assumption that bigger libraries will be preferable. Previously, I had tried to find any library that seemed to have a special interest in bookmarks or even other printed ephemera but had not found too many likely candidates. Then by coincidence, I met a young woman at a library conference who was an archivist at the University of Iowa in Iowa City where Don lived. I mentioned this situation to her and she immediately lit up with interest. I put her in touch with Tama, but then didn’t hear anything further. To help Tama with her pursuit, I gave her a few suggestions that might be useful to others who are thinking of donating their collections.
A group of vintage metal bookmarks with short, open page clips, collection of Don Baldwin
Libraries will be more willing to consider collections that complement those they already have, but also if the collections are organized, stored in reasonably good conditions, and documented. The cost to them is in the processing. Usually they will create a "finding aid" which is a high level description of the collection and the collector. For important collections, they will go into more detail and describe the contents of each container. They must also put the collection into acid free boxes, sleeves, or binders, another expense. It's not required but they very much appreciate donations to cover at least some of these costs.
Much to my delight, I got a message from Tama on February 20, 2016 saying that she had donated the collection to the University of Iowa’s Special Collections. She said, “They are in the process of building a state of the art museum for displays and they say they will eventually exhibit Don's collection. They really wanted everything he collected and they wanted it in exactly the state it was in when he died, right down to his notes and correspondence.” I just checked and found they have already created a rudimentary finding aid or description of the collection : Don Baldwin Bookmark Collection guide. If they process it further, they will add more detail to this description.
Fortunately, Don’s passion, hard work, and generosity, as well as his superb collection, will live on, protected by a library and maybe one day joined by other bookmark collections. To learn more about Don’s characteristics as a gentleman a scholar, see this loving tribute to his life.
I began buying and keeping bookmarks as a student at the university. Most of my friends read, so I thought it would be a sweet thing to have something to randomly give them for a friendly thoughtful gesture. My bookmarks grew in number as I became fonder and fonder of reading. I often explored the small corners of the bookstores where bookmarks usually are displayed and secretly admired the cuteness of these rectangular paper pieces. I felt weird then. Later on, I made some sense of it. I thought maybe my heightened fascination with bookmarks had something to do with my love for books and reading. Reading made me realise the utility of such a simple and inconspicuous piece of a rectangular paper – though they come now in many forms and materials.
And so the collecting began, fourteen years ago – more or less. Some years were slow, some were busy and full of exchanges. It varied. There were times when I used up my allowance and savings paying postal stamps to get my bookmarks delivered to the other side of the world. But it was worth it. I like especially paper bookmarks that showcase libraries, books, authors, artworks, artists, films, and literary events. I’m most fascinated with series, for instance a series of bookmarks featuring works of contemporary painters and puzzle paper bookmarks.
I have collected beautiful bookmarks in exchange. Bookmarks that I wouldn’t find – ever – in any of my travels. They come in envelopes with lovely stamps and simple notes. And that excitement you have when a mail for you arrives and you know it has some wonderful surprises enclosed for you.
The web is an amazing place to look for like-minded people, or should I say people having the same interests as mine. I found a very active Yahoo group of bookmark collectors. I used to participate in their monthly exchanges. I posted a collector’s ad at Mirage Bookmark website. Many of my exchange partners found me there. That experience of collecting and exchanging is just simply happiness. It can be addicting. The right kind of addiction, if you know what I mean. *laughs*
I had so many plans that concern bookmarks – putting up a club, selling in major bookstores here in Manila, writing a bookmark blog, or showing my collection on an online bookmark exhibition. But as I always say, life gets in the way, sadly, and we only have so much energy to burn for all of our plans. Some of them get realised, others don’t. But there’s no closing doors for me.
Life also has its own way to give us what our hearts desire. One day a friend of mine invited me to write a blog about collecting bookmarks fort the website bookbed which is a community platform for book sharing and storytelling. It was an excellent opportunity to come out and communicate to others about the joy this hobby brings. I am doing this job almost for a year now and my blog Bookmarked features also interviews with some of the IFOB members. Selling bookmarks and an exhibition of my collection are on their way. Crossing fingers.
And because I also love taking photos of bookmarks and other things, I can’t end this short entry without showing you some more photos of my bookmarks. Ciao, for now. More to come! Happy collecting!