The SPD Bookbindery, established in 1986 as an inclusive initiative by SPD, is one of the longest-standing programmes under the Sheltered Workshop that provides employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. The bookbindery provides a platform for their craftspeople to hone skills in perfecting the art of book-making, book restoration and crafts-making. Each craftsman and woman brings his or her unique skill set to the team, creating artisanal journals and restoring old treasured books, giving them a new else of life.
Despite the industry’s reliance on machinery and the high cost for handcrafted products, they are passionate about bringing unique artisanal journals made to last. The SPD book binders are one of the few remaining local craftpeople trained in the art of book binding – a process rooted in decades of tradition. Through more than a decade of book binding, their team of book binders create high quality artisanal hand-bound journals assured to last. No effort is spared in the creation of the journals, from cutting of the paper and sewing pages, to binding of the fabric and finishing it off with hotstamping for a personalized touch.
At the end of the day, what you hold is not a regular journal, but a compilation of the decades-long journey of each of their craftpeople, felt cover to cover.
" I am very happy to learn new things. "
A spinal cord injury in his twenties cost him his functionality in his legs. Fortunately, things took for a better when a social worker introduced him to SPD for vocational training in 1971. At his time at SPD, he was able to train a succession of younger book binders in the team and served as the chief trainer for book binding workshops held for the public. With his strong dedication and well spring of experience, Book Leong has honed his skills as one of the very few traditional book binders in Singapore, preserving a culture of such artisanal skills.
Book Leong, aged 72, longest standing master craftsman at SPD