Creating Bark & Rock

Bark & Rock began in our small Surrey workshop when managing director, Mark Gosling saw a gap in the stationery market for truly bespoke and luxury journals. Since our inception in 2018 our team have been perfecting the style and shape of our stationery items. After considerable time spent on Research & Development, Bark & Rock is now one of the only workshops in the UK making high-end journals from natural wood and stone material by hand.


Engineering luxury

Director, Luke Gosling spent months sanding down over 40 different types of wood veneers and treating stone sheeting. Luke explains: “We spent the first 18 months refining our process and ensuring quality was key, this included making sure the pages didn’t slip down, as that can be annoying; ensuring the spine could move easily but be sturdy enough to last a lifetime and engineering our own fittings to integrate the refillable paper together with the cover that can be as thin as 2.8mm.

“Working with these wood veneers is like working on a piece of art.  It is challenging because no two pieces are the same. The craftsmanship all comes down to the detail and we now have something that we are really proud of.”


Wood crafting

Master-trained wood technician Tamas Gal, who is originally from Hungary, learnt wood surface treatment techniques from various local masters before starting a career in the UK with an exclusive parquet flooring company. Then he came across Bark & Rock and realised he could really put his wood and carpentry skills to the test, overcoming challenges to ensure the books are of the utmost high quality. He comments: “I am captivated by journals and notebooks, and really think traditional books should be made fashionable again. Every book we make is made with such patience and care.”


Perfecting the process

Without giving too many of our secrets away, each book can take up to four days to make. We start by selecting bundles of veneer to find the best grain patterns. With the bark, for example, each bundle has 24 leaves, from which 12 books can be made. The first stage is to avoid the bark from splitting, so the veneer needs to be soaked and left under pressure to dry.

The process then moves from cutting and bonding together to sanding, laser cutting and spraying with very specially sourced, ecological oils before final drying then the internal papers and engineered fittings are assembled.

For a list of our luxury, refillable notebooks and journals see our shop here.