Offcut Notebooks

Part of our monthlong trip to Europe this spring was a five day printmaking residency at Two Cents Press in the small Tuscan village of Serrazzano.

We stayed in an apartment above the printshop, and, with the help of Two Cents’ proprietor Franco Marinai, threw ourselves into producing an edition of our This Box is for Good series, something I’ll write more about soon.

Left on the cutting room floor when we were done were pieces of beautiful Magnani Pescia paper. I couldn’t bring myself to leave them there. So, in the waning hours of our residency, I turned them into an edition of 10 small notebooks, printing the cover with offcut on the Two Cents letterpress shop using a font of wood type. Magnani Pescia paper is otherworldly: it’s made of 100% cotton, and while it’s recognizably paper, it feels and folds unlike any paper I’ve ever encountered. I love it.

Magnani paper was produced at mills in the village of Pescia, not far from Lucca, from 1404 until 2014, when circumstances, including a landslide on the road into the village, led to its untimely end. Franco purchased this paper many years ago, from original stock, and so in addition to being otherworldly, it’s also a relic of a 610 year old paper-making tradition.

Today I finished hand sewing the notebooks, and I’ve posted them in the Queen Square Press shop for sale (update: sold out!), pricing them at $14.04 because, well, of course.

As I wrote in the product description there, “they are ’perfectly imperfect,’ an improvised rush job to rescue some lovely paper.” While I love the boxes we produced in Serrazzano, I love these notebooks too; I’ve a soft spot for projects the come together in a flurry at the last minute.

A photo of one of the "Offcut" notebooks on a wooden table against a background of a blue wall and a painting.


Ton Zijlstra's picture
Ton Zijlstra on June 2, 2024 - 10:47 Permalink

Having passed through Pescia, en route between Lucca and Firenze, having both read The Notebook, and learned from it that high quality paper became common and affordable enough that everyday note taking became widespread in Tuscany right when the Magnani paper mills started, how could I not immediately order these?