The bindery and printing house Klanac was founded in 1953, and it has been operating at Bednjanska 15 in Zagreb since the 1990s, when the Klanac family completely turned their focus to handwork. “At the time when other binderies either closed down or went other ways, we decided to dedicate ourselves to handwork, which has turned out to be a good decision,” says Tajana Klanac, the owner of the family business.
Having inherited the business from her father, Tajana Kalanac and her husband have specialized in printing and binding by hand small print runs as well as in the restoration of books. They serve a wide range of customers who need small print runs, which can be produced by hand at a profit.
Photo: Davor Puklavec/PIXSELL
Using letterpress printing and gold printing techniques, they make business cards, invitations, menus, and all kinds of printed matter needed by their customers. They often repair professional books, which are supposed to serve people for a long time but often fall apart as a result of poor production quality.
They are certified to protect library books and archival material, and they hold a Ministry of Culture license for restoration work. They receive most requests for restoration services from parish priests and such private persons as possess printed matter that they consider valuable.
In order to breathe new life into an old book, prior to restoring it they first examine the original condition of the old book and study the original material in relation to the context of its production. They change the cover material if it is damaged, and sew the book by hand or glue it.
“When parts of a book or even whole pages are missing, we substitute them with new fine paper, low in grammage and used for restoration work because its composition does not affect the original condition of the book,” says Tajana Klanac.
Nowadays, when mass digitization is erasing the human element, the long tradition of the Klanac bindery demonstrates that machines still cannot provide substitutes for the skilled hand of master bookbinders.