Monday, July 21, 2008

INCrowd International Interview, 7/21/08 - Beverly Wong-Kleinjan, lapaperie

I was tumbling through Shop Local and decided to see what Canada had to offer. I found the most amazing shop. I think you'll agree.

Where were you born & raised?

A little town by the ocean in Nova Scotia, Canada

Where are you now & what led you there?
After living in western Canada and also in Europe (The Netherlands), I returned to my hometown with my husband, here in beautiful Nova Scotia. It’s still the nicest place I’ve ever been!

What types of creations do you sell in for your Etsy shop(s)?
La Paperie & Cozy's presence on Etsy began in November 2007, and offers quality handbound leather journals, sketchbooks, guestbooks and customized blank books. I also offer prints of my original drawings and paintings on another Etsy shop called Salt Water Shed and in the future will be branching out into photography as well.

What's your educational background, as it relates to your work?
In school I learned to read, and reading (a LOT of it!) taught me how to bind books. *grin* I’m self-taught in book arts and have no formal training in this craft. I'm also a freelance writer, volunteer, and I write commissioned book reviews for various large publishing companies. I also make handmade soap, but do not sell that online (only locally). Add to that website & graphic/logo design, being a housewife, and singing harmony/backup for a recording studio, and you've got one insane schedule!

How did you get started creating?
As a child I was always the 'strong silent type' preferring to be alone in my room, and always preoccupied with making things on my own - usually little books with drawings and story boards. So this love of creativity has always been with me, and I've nurtured it over the years. My love of books started at an early age. After reading The Diary Ann Frank at the age of 10, I started keeping journals, which I've done every year of my life since. I've always believed that "journal writing is a voyage to the interior." I remember collecting and obsessing over journals. And guess what? I still do! In my quest for the 'perfect' journal over the years, I decided to create my own, and share my love of the blank-book with others. That was a little over a year ago. Leather journals have always been my diary of choice, and so I engaged in a self-study of the craft. I spent about 2 months with my nose between the pages before I mustered up the courage to even try making something. As nervous as I was at the prospect of failure, I knew it was something that I would definitely love to do. Et voila! As soon as I had begun, I was hooked! After a few custom orders from family and friends, and at the suggestion of many, I decided to give my handbound books a wider wing-span, and offer them on my Etsy shop.

What's your muse, or what turns that little creative light inside you on?

I'd have to say it's my favourite classic authors and poets, as well as my great ardor for books in general. I can almost imagine literary greats of centuries past writing in handmade journals like these...Jane Austen writing notes as she walks in the pretty wilderness behind her house, annotating her next great work, Pride & Prejudice. Or a young Charles Dickens reminds himself in his journal to incorporate the comic villainy of Mr. Jingle in his first novel, The Pickwick Papers. Inspired by these literary masterminds, my journals' first pages pay homage to these outstanding writers and some of their best quotes! When it comes to my art, I'm inspired by the simplistic beauty that is in everyday objects and situations.

Do you belong to any Street Teams? If so, which ones and why? If not, why not?
Yes, a few. (1) Bookbinding Etsy Street Team; (2) Etsy Atlantic Provinces Street Team; and (3) Trans-Canada Etsy Team. It’s a real pleasure being a part of a community with such talented friendly folk!

What's your favorite thing about selling on Etsy?

Definitely the ‘community’ atmosphere. I also love the fact that my work can be available to just about anyone in the world with internet access – that’s pretty exciting. It also is wonderful to have the opportunity to meet talented craftspeople from all over the world offering unique one-of-a-kind handcrafted items. You can’t beat that!

Recommend your five favorite shops on Etsy:

1. ES Designs - the most beautiful jewelry I’ve ever seen, inspired by nature
2. Sleeping Forest Studios – gorgeous works in wood
3. AriaImages – a dear friend who takes amazing photos
4. Starryeyedstudios - fellow Nova Scotian who offers original watercolors in magnets, pendants
5. Alina Hayes Ceramics – lovely pottery (want!)

Show us three photos of your favorite items, from your shop:

1. Jane Austen Handbound Leather Journal with quote from Pride & Prejudice - tan cowhide with silvertone toggle clasp closure, 320 pages

2. Ernest Hemingway Handbound Leather Journal - old-world brown cowhide with belted tab closure, 320 pages (sold.)

3. Charlotte Bronte Handbound Leather Journal with quote from Jane Eyre - distressed/marbled charcoal cowhide, 320 pages (sold.)

Thank you so much, Bev. Your work is truly astonishing.

Carolynn aka niochlainn


  1. Carolynn thanks for a great interview. and to Beverly your journals are fantastic! I love the idea of writing in a journal which resembles one that Jane Austen would use!

  2. Thank you for such wonderful interviews!!

    I think this is one of my favorite things about Etsy, getting to know people all over that enjoy and make items by hand! I love it!!

    Thank you!
    a TAMM creation

  3. Thanks so much you guys. :)

    And thank you Carolynn for the interview. You've got a great team here!

  4. I'm still unable to subscribe to the blog - it tells me "The feed does not have subscriptions by email enabled" whenever I put in my e-mail and fill out the security code...

  5. AW thanks so much for the sweet mention Bev. I am honored. You are so talented so for you to mention me makes me very happy. :) Hugs!

  6. Thanks so much for featuring Beverley and her lovely shop and thanks to Beverley for mentioning me[starryeyedstudios] as a favorite shop!