Made in the South Awards 2017

Bluegrass Bookbinding

Crafts runner-up Tess Lindsey crafts handmade journals with the philosophy that every great thought needs a blank page to give it life


Handmade journals from Bluegrass Bookbinding.

While most of us increasingly rely on digital tools, Tess Lindsey of Bluegrass Bookbinding wields an old-fashioned trade to craft her handmade leather-wrapped journals. She learned bookbinding in college, and after graduation—with encouragement from friends—she turned it into a career. Fashioning each style, from pocket-sized to heftier square shapes, in small batches lets her add personal touches. First she creates a stitch design for the spine, then chooses her materials, all sourced in Louisville. She selects leather based on durability, look, and feel, before hand cutting it from a whole hide. The paper is cut by hand, too. The process ends with Lindsey sewing the binding. She relishes the connection she’s forged with other artisans but also hopes her journals inspire folks who don’t think they’re creative to tackle a blank page. “Everyone can create,” she says. “Our books give you space to try.”

>Handmade journals, $14-$60 from


> Crafts winner: Hibiscus Linens
> Crafts runner-up: McKenzie Knife Company
> Crafts runner-up: Deanocraft Custom Banjos
> Crafts runner-up: Bluegrass Bookbinding

See all winners and runners-up