The Hobart

Local Lad Rob Flehr

by Stephanie Williams
Local Lad Rob Flehr

Where in Hobart do you live? North Hobart.

What’s the best thing about Hobart? Hobart feels like a place where anything is possible.

And the worst thing? Rental prices.

Tell us a little about your work? I run a small bookbinding studio in central Hobart, specialising in hand-bound journals and marbled paper. Sustainability is important to me, so I source my materials locally or from other small-scale producers and busi­nesses. Where possible I use recycled materials, whilst keeping to archival quality.

How did you get into bookbinding? Growing up, I found something inexplicably magical about old books. I was particu­larly fascinated by books like our family bible, with its large metal clasps and gold tooling. Book binding runs in my family and something I’m passionate about reviving. It has been a lifelong obsession. As COVID-19 began to hit, I made the most of lockdown to practice my craft. Like many people, I became unemployed, which in turn made me eligible for the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS). Through the NEIS program I was able to develop the skills to turn my craft into a viable business, which is now my full time work.

Your books are very detailed – they’re not your run of the mill journals. What is the market like for bespoke bookbinding?

The market for fine booking is very diverse. It ranges from simple well-made journals to more ornate, customised books, albums and marbled papers for special birthdays, anniversaries and weddings. My main clientele is a mix of local and interstate professionals who value small-scale/ high-end production with detailed customisation. I, myself, desire books that are beautiful yet very durable; being designed for high levels of use. These values are at the core of my practice. My current turnaround for commissioned books is 6 to 8 weeks, however this can vary depending on the level of complexity.

What’s your dream project to work on? To be honest I’m really content with what I’m doing right now – working in my studio every day in the pursuit of perfecting my craft. As circumstance permits I would love to travel a little to learn from Master book­binders to further my practice.

Where can readers find your work or talk about a project? I have a small collection of books available to purchase at the MONA shop, however the full range of my work can be followed via my Instagram @rflehrbindery. Consultations at my studio are available by appointment.

I’m inspired by… Master craftsmanship. There’s something in the precision of traditional hand-crafts that is hard to replace. From the intimate knowledge of each material that is worked with, to then how that material comes together with technique to make a finished work. The whole process of the making. There’s so much incredible beauty to learn about.

What do you love doing outside work? When I’m not making books, I love writing in them! Calligraphy and illuminated texts have always been a passion of mine. There’s also nothing quite like yoga after being hunched over books all day.

Where’s your favourite Hobart eatery? We are so spoiled for choice when it comes to places to eat here in Hobart. Some favourites are Shoebox Café, Bar Wa Izakaya and Faro Tapas at MONA.

Drink of choice and where do you head for it? I really enjoy wine. Cool Wines has the most incredible selection.

Guilty pleasure? I collect amber.

What do you never leave home without? My lucky rabbit foot.

I’d like to travel to… the UK, France, Scandinavia.

If I didn’t live in Hobart I’d live… in New Zealand or Wales.

Favourite Hobart secret? The Hobart Gem show

Quote to live by? “Seek wisdom that unties your knot. Seek the path that demands your whole being’’. -Rumi

Where can readers find your work or talk about a project? I have a small collection of books available to purchase at the MONA shop, however the full range of my work can be followed via my Instagram @rflehrbindery. Consultations at my studio are available by appointment.

Love this

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Exploring Tassie These Winter School Holidays
We know that staying indoors with the family isn’t always fun. And while it’s obviously cold outside, you’re only a puffer jacket and beanie away from being comfortable and ready to explore. There’s lots of family fun to be had in all sorts of weird and wonderful places across the state these school holidays.
Sand Surfing on the Peninsula
The half-day walk to Crescent Beach in the Tasman National Park offers so much- including epic sand dunes for surfing and incredible views.
27 Hobart Friends Get Snipping For One Off Wine
The borders were declared shut in Tasmania on the 30th of March, 2020; the first stare to do so amid the COVID- 19 pandemic and hard lockdown of Hobart followed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian Food + Peppermint Bay Bar and Bistro
Nepalese food is a comfort in our house. Having spent much time trekking and mountain climbing in Nepal as a younger man, Nepalese food is something I always love to go back to.
That’s DR Hannah Gadsby To You
From Smithton to Netflix and the Emmys stage, Tasmanian stand up comic Hannah Gadsby has forged an unlikely path. Following on from the massive success of her shows Nanette and Douglas, Hannah brings her new show Body of Work to Hobart this month.
PODCAST: Incat founder Robert Clifford on why electric boats are the future
Robert Clifford is the founder of Incat, a Hobart company building fast ferries for the world. Always looking to future opportunities, he has identified where Hobart sits in the next wave of transportation. For more of this interview listen to The Hobart Magazine podcast.
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?
Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.
Hobart Chefs: When The Obsession Becomes Real
Tasmania’s brand as a foodie haven is cemented. But within the local hospitality industry there are those who love to use local produce...and those who are next-level obsessed with it. We spoke to a bunch of Hobart chefs who are top of the game when it comes to fostering relationships with local farmers and growers.
Did You Know Australia’s First Female Doctor Was Hobartian?
Tasmania, despite its small size and population in comparison to the mainland, has produced more than its proportionally predicted percentage of significant figures and heroes of Australian history. 
Return Travellers Adding Pressure to Hobart Housing
For all of us 2020 was a year like no other, punctuated by rapid change and plenty of new challenges. For vulnerable people in Tasmania, including people facing homelessness, those on low incomes and those facing increasingly higher rents, it was very challenging. We are seeing a growing demand for homes in Tassie from international travellers returning home, people moving for work and others seeking the lifestyle that our Apple Isle has to offer.
Magazine
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
August 2022

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!