Bookbinding craft Grafikon has been occupying the same location in Marićev prolaz since 1945. Stjepan Radić started the tradition by founding craft in 1990 and he managed it until 2012. During this period the craft worked with renowned law firms around Croatia, state offices and institutions, scientific institutes, sports associations and physical and legal entities, while at the same time preserving the tradition of hand binding and handicraft.
Upon successfully presenting how they work in 2012 the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts awarded this craft with a certificate on the “traditional craft” status.
His daughter Ivana Radić took over the craft from her father in 2013 and kept the tradition alive. Even though she holds a degree in agricultural engineering, the love for this job and the workshop where she has spent her childhood and school days has been instilled in her. She made her first cover under the tutorage of her mother Marija back in elementary school and has continued to acquire new skills and knowledge afterwards.
“I spent my entire schooling here, so I learned the tricks of the trade only to be completely up to the challenge when I took over the craft. Although I am of another profession, fate would have it for me to take over from my parents and give my personal contribution. People have precise problems they want to have taken care of. For example, if a book falls apart, we’re one of the very few people that can help them. We also have book lovers how live for books and with them and clients like that are our favourite crowd. They’re the ones who recommend us. Social networks and the internet are very powerful tools indeed, but a traditional recommendation still makes a huge difference. We also have creative workshops we started organising since the Night of Books. The visitors loved them to bits. We are the only bookbinding craft that takes part. People get an opportunity to familiarise themselves with how books come to be. This year we’ll continue doing that and we look forward to projects like these”, Ivana explains.
When taking over the craft, Ivana was adamant to preserve the tradition in a workshop where they still operate machines some of which are fit for a museum.
They’re cherishing the tradition of cutting by hand, making custom-made covers, hand sewing, hand gluing to this very day. But as new technologies and knowledge come to the picture, they can use paper to make anything that comes to your mind. In addition to standard products and services provided by their shop, they have interesting personalised memory cards created and successfully launched by Ivana, much to the customers’ delight.
“What I love about this job is that every day is different, clients determine what I’ll be doing. This gives me the much needed fast pace and a chance to get creative. The best thing is when I get positive feedback from satisfied customers and when I come up with new projects to familiarise all interested parties with what we do here. This kind of crafts requires a lot of love and patience. Most of the time you can’t even put a price on the effort and handicraft so we can definitely say that loving what you do is the main driving force”, young craft owner Ivana says.