My friend Matt moved to Asheville from San Diego on account of not one classic impetus, but several: needing a change, chasing a girl, looking for a place where you don’t have to constantly hustle just to make the money it takes to enjoy life.
These days, he gets up when he wants to, takes the dogs out, then walks down the street to Battle Cat for coffee and conversation.
Matt’s experience in print shops has made this work second nature to him. But the upcycling part and the artistry is all his own spin. He finds boxes of cast-off hardback books at thrift shops and garage sales, and gets reams of paper for free from area print shops. (He knows from experience how much paper gets thrown away at these places.) Sometimes he’s able to score watercolor paper from art supply stores, and one time he got hold of a box of vintage watercolor paper from Monica’s grandmother, mottled with flecks and impurities caused by water damage.
Coptic binding exposes the paper covers on either side of the signature. He thought it would be cool to play with that–he uses colored and graphic pages from old Readers’ Digest magazines (they’re the right size and they have interesting pictures). The coverboards he repapers, if necessary, though sometimes they’re perfect the way they are. The only part of the process that costs him any overhead is the stitching, done with linen twine.
Being the guy he is, Matt usually ends up giving these beautiful, one-of-a-kind books away. Here’s the one he gave me:
You can probably get your hands on one just for the asking, but you’ll have to go to there and hang out with him. Which you’ll be glad you did, anyway.
What’s the best thing about living in Asheville?
“The sense of community. Friendly people. And the fact that most of us come from another place and we’re trying to make a better world.”
What’s the worst thing about living in Asheville?
“The fact that we all came from another place, and parts of it are turning into the cities that we left. Also, the roads are terrible.”
If you want one but don’t find yourself headed toward West Asheville, send me an email and I’ll put you in touch.