At Vintage Manchester, we love craft almost as much as vintage and when the two are combined in a way that maintains the beauty of the vintage without compromising on creativity, we are even happier.
Allow us to introduce Petit Renard Rouge – we’ll let the lady behind it, Florence Fox, tell you in her own words…
‘giving old books new lives’
I was first introduced to book binding at a workshop whilst at University. I found the creative process consuming but also relaxing; measuring out the paper carefully, selecting the materials and colours to use, and creating something beautiful and unique from scratch.
I started to experiment and came across the idea of upcycling vintage books, ones that often had spines falling off and pages falling out, and turning them into useable notebooks, giving them ‘new lives’ – they’re often books wilting at the back of wardrobes, collecting dust in charity shops and very unlikely to be read and loved again.
The first book that I made in this way was “The Naughtiest girl in the school” by Enid Blyton. The book, now slightly worse for wear, served a great purpose in allowing me to free flow my thoughts about my adventures, whilst dipping into humorous extracts of those of the characters too.
I wanted to give other people the same feeling, encouraging them to write in journals and diaries instead of on iPads and phones. There is something so special about opening a notebook and actually penning your thoughts, as opposed to typing. The books have a history; there are often annotations in the margins, names of previous owners.
I currently work from home in my little office in Chorlton. Needless to say it’s always extremely messy; paper on every surface, loose book pages floating about and book binding materials on the floor.
I mainly sell my products via Etsy, but I can be found at craft fairs too, usually around Manchester but sometimes further afield. This is great as customers can see the book themselves and have a chat with me about my work, allowing me to explain more about what I do and how I do it!
Aside from my notebooks, I also stock framed art and greetings cards – all created from vintage and antique literature and illustrations. I source old word games, children’s books and novels and use up as much of the book as possible creating new usable items.
Making one off book commissions is a process I enjoy thoroughly, from discussing the needs of my customer to wrapping up the finished product.
In a world where throwaway culture is becoming more and more the norm, I really feel that processes and ideas like this should really be celebrated. Not only that but they do make fantastic, thoughtful gifts for even the most difficult to buy for!
This is why we’ve fallen in love with Florence’s creations, the individuality, the creativity and the love that goes into each one.
And you, lucky readers have the opportunity to win one of your own (or to give as a gift), just in time for Christmas.
To enter, all you have to do is complete one, or all of the options below and the winner will be drawn on Friday 20 December.