(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
Several weeks ago, I wrote a review of the Midori MD Goat Leather A5 Notebook Cover. Since that cover was untanned, the instructions said to leave it in a sunny room so it could darken over time. I put it in the sunniest room in our house, the Florida Room, but this turned out to be a big mistake. The Florida Room is also where our cats sleep at night. One cat decided that my beautiful, sleek Midori cover made for a terrific scratching pad.
I know I should have accepted this with grace and considered the cover Wabi-Sabi. But I bought this cover because of its soft texture and the claw holes just ruined it for me. The Midori MD is my poetry-writing notebook, and I want it to be in an aesthetically pleasing cover. Besides, it turns out I don’t like the color the goatskin turned. It’s an orangey-tan that reminds me of Calamine Lotion from childhood. Blech.
When I started hunting for a replacement cover, I happened upon Makers South on Instagram and loved the look of their leather. They are a husband and wife team who make all sorts of leather goods by hand. Although they often have items in stock, they didn’t have any A5 notebooks when I visited the site. Luckily, they also make notebooks to order, so I sent an email inquiring about some of their leathers. I received a quick reply from Chrispian Burks with pictures of the leathers I had asked about and a photo of a piece of leather that was totally unique. He said he didn’t know what it was called, but he thought I might like it since it was so interesting. I loved it!
I decided on a simple notebook with a snap closure and no extras. Of course, when you place an order, you have all sorts of options, including multiple pocket styles, closures, pen loops, and even a sewn-to-the-cover pen sleeve. The base price for an A5 made-to-order notebook is $70.
My notebook arrived in about a week and a half (much faster than the four to five-week wait time indicated on the site). It came in a square cardboard shipping box and was wrapped in brown paper. I gasped when I opened it. It. Was. Gorgeous!
Whatever the leather is called, it has character. It’s a reddish-brown color with lots of tan crackles (I’m sure there’s a technical term, but I don’t know what it is). It’s smooth to the touch and rather thin. I wanted a sleek notebook, so the thinness of this leather is perfect.
The notebook has a simple snap closure. Unfortunately, after a few days of use the snap assembly came apart, and I had to send the notebook back for repair. It is holding up well, so far.
The back of the cover has two cool details. First, is the Makers South brand embossed in the bottom corner. It’s simple and melts into the leather so that you hardly notice it. Still, I think it looks really nice.
The second detail is the cool stitching attaching the strap for the snap closure.
The thread used for all the stitching is thick and full of texture.
I’m really happy with how the cover came out. My Midori MD Notebook fits perfectly, and I’m contentedly writing poetry.
If you’re looking for some really nice leather goods (notebooks, wallets, keychains, etc.) I highly recommend Makers South to you. You can choose from a whole range of leathers and have any notebook made to order just for you.
And if anyone wants my cat-clawed MD Goat Leather cover, let me know.
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