An Epica Review
I have just finished writing a brief thank you for one of the nicest books I have ever handled. Just before Easter a card arrived from the post office; a package had arrived, could I collect it? Being Easter and not realising its significance I left it languishing at the sorting office until Tuesday. When I arrived, the parcel, carefully wrapped in brown paper, was placed on the counter while I showed my identification. Looking at it lying there I realised it was too small for paperwork and the wrong shape for an Easter egg. So what could it possibly be? I carefully slid the blade of my Swiss army knife down the tape and removed the paper. Inside there was a cardboard box, not unlike the type seen in the old tobacconists. The name EPICA was printed in sepia and underneath "World Class Italian Leather & Paper Products"....
When I first saw the journal I thought it was black. However once removed from the pink tissue I could see it is actually a rich tobacco brown wax leather, which to my mind affords a 'classical' look once placed on the bookshelf. The spine is rounded and has four 'ribs' reinforcing the cover boards. On the front, pick out in black is an intaglio fleur-de-lis. The whole effect is very tastefully done. My one disappointment is my journal has the slight smell of 'new shoes' rather than old books. However, a couple of months on my bookshelves should remedy the problem.
Picking up the journal I noticed the size - 7.5" x 5.5" (190 mm x 140 mm). The same as my Filofax Personal which supposedly is the ideal size for one's hand. Without the rings however the pages are wider - 4.75" (120 mm). Opening the book the first thing I noticed were the dark green end papers (with matching book ribbon) and a crest with the Latin word "signum" standing in relief. The joke was apparent, someone knew me well.
The paper is rather unusual. A beautifully rich cream with deckled edges and a slight tooth. It reminds me of watercolour 'Not'. (Cold press if you are reading in American) and I believe it is hand-made in Amalfi Italy. I tried the pages with a fine nibbed Pelikan and it takes fountain pen beautifully. The tooth forcing one to take his or her time. It also likes pencil. Although my drawing skills are sadly lacking, I would imagine someone more talented will be able to capture a full range of shades with this paper. If I were a younger man I would use it as a travel journal, soaking up all those things one experiences on first meeting a new culture. However that time has long passed so I will use it for my 'twilight diary' recording the thoughts and images in the time between sleep and wakefulness. Add the strange little incidents I record through out the day in my Filofax and practice my handwriting. Skills which note taking and the keyboard have so cruelly robbed me of.
Finally there is a grey, brushed cotton, drawstring bag, again with the crest in sepia and Signum pick out in gold. Underneath, printed in sepia is "Finest Italian Quality". This puzzles me. Why would anyone want to keep such a fine work of craftsmanship in a drawstring bag? Of course the question on everyone else's lips is will I buy a replacement when mine is full? Even though it lacks the plastic discs and wipe clean covers of a Rollabind, the silky smooth paper of Clairefontaine and the dubious heritage of Moleskine. Yes, I have looked at many journals and this book is definitely worth the price. I can always use the bag for toiletries I suppose....
Where to find Epica: