Janelle Holod has always been a lover of books, textiles and, really, any paper product. After working as a graphic designer, she felt that she needed an outlet away from the screen, so she returned to an equally creative pastime — bookbinding.
“When I’m working, I find myself getting into a flow state and can really focus on it and feel relaxed,” says Holod. “And sometimes that can be a really great way to decompress. I was already a big fan of notebooks and journals and the end product, so falling in love with the process made it perfect.”
Holod took a bookbinding class while studying design at the University of Alberta and took to the process of making books. Not too long after completing her Bachelor of Design, she accepted a job as a graphic designer for the university’s student union. After working online all day, Holod wanted a pastime to exert her excess creative energy. She thought about the skills she learned in that bookbinding class and founded Cyanotype in 2017.
Cyanotype sells mostly softcover notebooks, which Holod hand stitches. There are a few hardcover notebooks with exposed stitching available, as well. The process of making a notebook takes Holod a few days, however, combined, the steps take about 30 minutes total. Illustrated mirrors, stickers and patches are available for sale, and Holod’s most recent projects are making recycled gift wrap, envelopes and note cards.
“The maker community has been really supportive and there’s a lot of encouragement,” says Holod. “Everyone is always excited to see what other people are making. There is a group of people and, I’d say I’m part of them, where even though most things are on paper, the physicality of it is really nice and makes it feel like less of a chore and more like me time.”