A Very Curio(u)s Cabinet

Here is a sneak peek into the final stages of printing a notebook. On the left is the cover of “A Very Curio(u)s Cabinetwhich we cheekily labeled as the “0” edition of our footnotes™ brand because it is an individual notebook as opposed to a set.

Below you’ll see the “inside cover” which shows some portions that the outer cover does not. We had a lot of fun putting this together because there are a lot of Easter eggs everywhere for those who like to find little surprises in the details of things.

The hardest part in creating this notebook was definitely the artwork which took several days to conceptualise (what should we include, how can we leave that out, etc.) and then a couple of days to draw and then a couple more days to watercolour. We had to be really careful because there was no “undo” button on this artwork. Here, you see it after it has been digitised and edited and is now ready for printing.

As we worked on this notebook, we made sure that we stayed true to the system Swedish botanist, zoologist and physician Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) devised to help us understand the natural world better. See if you can spot them on the cover when you get your copy.

Linnaeus specifically chose Latin as the language for his classification system because it was widely known at that time and did not belong to any one country. Since he was a botanist, he started his System Naturae in 1735 with plants, but by 1758, his work had classified 4,400 species of animals and 7,700 species of plants. Everyone, not just scientists, sent specimens to Linnaeus for inclusion as this was the first time that a proper, scientific way to document the plant and animal kingdom existed.

You must remember also that everyone was in a collecting mania at that time, filling their “Cabinets of Curiosity” with odd things from all over the world as more and more ships from Europe sailed to the Far East and discovered plants, animals and minerals that they had never encountered before. Some animals were in fact so strange as to be unbelievable (like the platypus). Their skepticism is warranted though because many unethical people sewed together the parts of different animals and pretended that they had found a new species.

Today, we don’t recommend collecting physical plants, animals or minerals anymore given how much we’ve already taken from the earth. Instead, we hope you enjoy collecting curiosities you find by putting them into your notebook instead. There is nothing like a simple (or complex) sketch with personal notes about what it is and how you were feeling that will enable you to enjoy your find in the “Cabinet of Your Mind” for many years to come.

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