Threading through Times – KrisShop x SPD Collaboration

Since 2019, SPD's bookbindery, part of the SPD Sheltered Workshop programme, has begun binding journals with upcycled fabrics. The team has worked with various brands such as BODE and Muji [...]

What comes to mind when one thinks about upcycling? Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is when discarded objects or materials are reinvented to create and transform them into useful products. The process, to some, may seem tedious and time-consuming when all one needs do is to throw the litter away, but doing so could leave adverse impacts on the environment.

As a result, many businesses are now incorporating upcycling as a part of their efforts to go green to stay relevant and offer sustainable solutions to their consumers, and SPD is no different. Senior communications and outreach executive, Melissa Tan, finds out how SPD stays relevant on the sustainability front.

Since 2019, SPD’s bookbindery, part of the SPD Sheltered Workshop programme, has begun binding journals with upcycled fabrics. The team has worked with various brands such as BODE and Muji Singapore.

Handbound journals made by SPD bookbindery craftsmen from collaborations with BODE and MUJI.

Binding books with different fabrics is a test of artisanal skills given the different textures – some lightweight and irregular, others brocaded, substantial and lush.  It takes an artisan who have honed more than 20 years of bookbinding skills to handle each type intricately.

SPD’s bookbindery currently houses seven experienced craftspersons who specialise in book restoration and binding journals with specialty fabrics, take on different roles like trimming text blocks, sewing the books together, and gluing and pressing book covers. The craftspersons, having honed their skills from decades in creating and restoring hundreds of books, pride themselves on delivering quality artisanal pieces and even imparting the know-how through bookmaking workshops.

Master craftsman, Mr Gan Boon Leong, imparting his knowledge to enthusiasts at a recent bookmaking workshop.

Most recently, the bookbindery has partnered with Singapore Airlines (SIA)’s KrisShop on a new upcycled collection with its batik cloth used for its distinctive sarong kebaya uniforms.

“We are heartened to have KrisShop on board with us in their sustainability initiatives. This partnership speaks of perfect timing of the upcycling movement, and celebration of our craftsmanship. It is also a marriage of two important slices of heritage found both in the motif of the kebaya and the essence of the grit and strength our bookbinders possess.”

– Rachel Loh, senior programme executive, Sheltered Workshop

Handbound journals covers made with upcycled fabric from SIA.

The notebooks are available in all four colors of the kebaya – blue, red, green and purple. The last three colours are limited edition of this series given the sheer limit of fabrics. Each journal is finished with rounded corners, bound with 100gsm ivory-coloured pH-neutral paper, plain or lined.

Get your hands on the limited edition notebooks here!

If you would like to be part of our upcycling initiative, write to us at

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