My Life as a Bookbinder: Binding Connection, Knowledge and Authenticity

Designing Futures in Indonesia, Curated Works Special Issue, Curated by Alexandra Crosby.
© 2016 by Tarlen Handayani. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) License (, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
Citation: Handayani, T. 2016. My Life as a Bookbinder: Binding Connection, Knowledge and Authenticity. PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, 13:2, 1-6.
ISSN 1449-2490 | Published by UTS ePRESS |
Corresponding author: Tarlen Handayani, Tobucil & Klabs, Jl. Panaitan No. 18, Bandung 40112, Indonesia. Website: Emails: /
Article History: Received 20/06/2016; Revised 27/06/2016; Accepted 11/07/2016; Published 09/08/2016


I love to persuade people to write in a journal. In 2008, I received a cultural exchange program scholarship and took the opportunity to learn how to bind books in an Etsy class in Brooklyn, USA. After that, I decided to become a bookbinder. It wasn’t only because of my journaling habit; the decision also fit with my mission to support the literacy movement in Indonesia. This mission is embedded in Tobucil & Klabs, a literacy and hobby community space in Bandung, West Java, that I founded in 2001. The space allows me to spread ideas about literacy through writing and also to share my passion for making hand-bound journals.


Indonesia; Indonesian design; batik; Craft; bookbinding; graphic design; handmade