Bookish Animals

This is rather off topic, in terms of the Regency, but not if you love books, as I do. I spend a lot of time with books, and have found a whole zoo of animals which makes working with books more convenient, as well as charmingly whimsical.

If you are a book lover, or know one for whom you are seeking a special gift, then perhaps one of these bookish little critters might be just the thing.

Even though I have been studying history for years, I always spend time researching each of the articles I post here to be sure I have my facts straight. That means several hours a week in the library, taking notes before I start writing. A lot of those books are in the research section of the library, which means they are non-circulating and can be used only in the library, under the watchful eye of the librarian. It also means many of them are rather old, have creaky bindings and must be handled carefully. In order to take notes, I need the book open, but I also need my hands free so I can write. That is where the little book animals come in. They are made of soft leather and weighted, so they will hold the book open for me while I write, without doing any damage to the pages or the bindings, even those that are creaky or stiff. That keeps me in the good graces of the librarians, which is of great importance if you do a lot of research.

I ran across my first Tiny Heavy in a local gift shop a couple of years ago. It was a pink heart, with soft suede on one side and grained leather on the other. It was perfect for holding books open for note-taking. I later returned to the shop and purchased a "two-headed bookworm" for use with larger volumes. Both the heart and the bookworm worked well for keeping books open without causing any harm to the book. This past Christmas, I purchased hearts or bookworms for some bookish friends, all of whom were delighted with their gifts. I returned to the shop this past summer seeking a birthday gift for another bookish friend, only to find the shop had closed due to the tough economy. I was very disappointed, until I actually read the tag on my own bookworm. Right there, woven into the label was the name and the address of the website of the artist who had made them.

Naturally, I went right to her website, to be completely delighted by what I found there. The gift shop had only carried the hearts and the bookworms, but this amazingly talented lady crafts any number of animals for a number of bookish purposes. The website is called Sandy Vohr’s Leather Zoo, and it really is a zoo, full of adorable creatures not only to help hold your books open, but also to hold them in place. There are small frogs and mice and birds and bugs in the Tiny Heavy line to hold books open and there are much larger penguins and lions and horses and pandas, not to mention flying pigs, and even dragons and dinosaurs who work in pairs as bookends. I have since purchased a number of the Tiny Heavies for friends, and even a couple for myself. I now keep the heart on my desk, where it serves as a paper-weight, or as a book-weight, if I am working at home. I found the small frog is easier to carry back and forth to the library, since his limber legs will fold into his belly. He then fits better into my small pencil case than did the heart. And, as they say in New England, he is wicked cute.

If you are looking for a special gift for a friend or family member who loves books, who enjoys whimsical desk accessories, or just loves animals, take some time to look over Sandy Vohr’s collection of leather critters. You might find just that unique and beguiling gift which your friend will enjoy and cherish.

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About Kathryn Kane

Historian with a particular interest the English Regency era.   An avid reader of novels set in that time, holding strong opinions on the historical accuracy to be found in said novels.
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2 Responses to Bookish Animals

  1. Joyce says:

    Just checked out the website – adorable!

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      They really are. Some of them are just flat out cute, and others are so homely you can’t help but love them.

      As a crafter myself, I also appreciate her workmanship, which is quite good.

      I hope you adopt one or two for yourself!

      Happy Holidays!

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