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Meet Tom Duffy of Duffy Bookbinders

Meet Tom Duffy of Duffy Bookbinders

Monday Meet the Maker: Tommy Duffy from Duffy Bookbinders.

Now in our fourth generation within the trade, and with over 100 years of bookbinding experience, bookbinding has firmly been a family tradition. Starting with my great grandfather, Paddy, who had his original bookbinding apprenticeship interrupted  by his participation in the 1916 Rising.
Our current business, Duffy Bookbinders, was started by my grandfather, Tommy, whom I am named after, along with my grandmother, Kathleen, in 1970 from the rear of their house in Dublin. The current proprietors are their sons, my father Tom, and uncle, Pat. My mother, Patricia, also plays an active part in the business, now situated in Seville Terrace, only yards from the iconic Dublin landmark, The Five Lamps.
I have seen a huge change within the print industry since I started my own apprenticeship in 1997. The large print runs of hardback books have sadly left this country and other books, such as hardback diaries, are just not really produced anymore. Thankfully the many skills we have learnt, passed down from previous generation to the next, have allowed our business to adapt. Most of our work is still carried out by hand, using traditional methods. This along with our reputation for quality workmanship, has led to some wonderful opportunities. In 2011 we were commissioned to bind a reprint of a 500 year old Irish language grammar book with handmade presentation box, which was presented by President Mary McAleese to Queen Elizabeth on her historic visit to Ireland. In 2014 we started our own range of handbound, linen book cloth, notebooks.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. People instantly appreciated the quality and mainly hand methods that are used to produce them. It showed us the appetite there is for quality Irish made and produced craft products.



Plan Toys are a firm favourite here at Designist. Plastic free, ethically and sustainability made with organic plant based dyes, these beautifully designed toys are the complete package. They are study and can withstand little hands throwing them about, and because they use dyes to colour they don’t chip like other wooden toys can. These are heirloom toys in the making. I particularly like the new elephant savings box, with moving head so it doubles up as a very playable toy. The colours camera is the ultimate toy for camera crazy toddlers - with a movable lens that’s colour and a little clickable button and bright red strap, it is an instant winner. The pet care and vet sets are a big hit in our house; these kits come with all sorts of beautifully made details like a movable syringe, stethoscope and pet carrier. They are so playable and child friendly, encouraging imaginative play and keeping little hands and minds busy for ages



We have been looking at a lot of graphs these last few weeks. Though I would throw in one of our own. What ya think - you on an upward or downward curve?! If you want to send a card to your nearest and dearest but can’t do it in person let us know and we can hand write your message and post it directly to them for you!



It is lovely being back in the shop packing up all your orders. We are working our way through them slowly, if you ordered recently, we are doing our very best to get your things to you as fast as we can! Thanks so much :)



Phew what a day! Been packing up a lot more large boxes of goodies today - some very lucky folk will be getting little surprises over the next few days! It is great fun writing out all your messages and wrapping your presents for you, if not a teeny bit emotional at times. Thanks for the support and stay safe folks!



Let the imagination run free with these ingenious story cubes. If you haven’t already tried them, they are a really lovely way to tell stories, get the kids imagination fired up and to develop language, concentration and storytelling skills for lil ones. Just roll the dice and off you go! What we love about these is how open ended they are, it is up you to decide how to interpret each symbol. If you need a little more direction the clever folk at @rorys_storycubes have come up with a variety of themed packs. Lovely stuff.



How nice is it that now we are all allowed out a little bit more to stretch our legs/minds we still have good weather? We love ‘From Tiny Seeds’ This is a beautifully illustrated book exploring how seeds of all types trap, cling, blow and burst out, finding ways to propitiate and grow. A lovely book for lapping up in the garden or to help give you new appreciation of the native flowers (and weeds) growing in each crack and scrap of land you see along your daily walk



Here are some books guaranteed to inspire the next generations go-getters, thinkers and doers. ‘Shooting for the Stars’ follows the story of Norah Patten, our very own Irish Astronaut. It is engaging and full of lovely illustrations and photos. ‘Women in Science’ and ‘Blazing a Trail’ are two lovely compilation books full of inspiring women who have have shown their are no limits to what we can do. Both full of beautiful illustrations, they are uplifting to read.


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