“We tend to feel uninspired
by looking at uninspiring things.”

“We tend to feel uninspired
by looking at uninspiring things.”

A conversation with Piotr from I Make Books

Piotr Jarosz, is an East London-based bookbinder and graduate of the London College of Communication's Book Arts & Design program. In 2018, he founded I MAKE BOOKS, a project merging artistry, craftsmanship, and publishing, specialising in photography portfolios and art books.

Favourite plant: the intricacy and engineering of Strelitzia flower

Current podcast obsessions: The Blind Boy, Lex Fridman and Huberman Lab

Current music obsession: Pandora’s Jukebox

What do you believe is the significance of creating unique, one-of-a-kind pieces as opposed to mass-produced product lines?

Generally, I believe the bigger the run and the faster produced, the less the quality in the final piece. Making something unique gives you - the maker - complete control and enough time over each step of the process, making it impossible for any fault to make it to the final product. That comes with using less material, which in effect creates less waste. Whereas the client gets an opportunity to own something totally unique, custom-made with often very transparent production process which is such a rarity in today's mass-produced world which at the same time promotes individuality.

You’ve participated in many collaborations in the past. What do you consider to be the key ingredient that makes collaborations not only successful, but also satisfying for all parties involved?

In my experience, I learned that the key to a successful collaboration is very clear communication and good balance. It is important for everyone involved to know their place by laying out clear boundaries for all parties and mutually respecting them. Then make sure you have fun. A good collaboration is in equal measure entertaining and challenging. Finally, I always advise people to predict the best positive outcome early on and be prepared in case it happens (for example, Tate reaching out to acquire your piece). It can get messy regarding ownership and friendship when big institutions get involved.

As a creative based in London, how do you believe the city's dynamic and diverse environment influences your creative process and output?

Being in London definitely creates opportunities to cross paths with other people in the most unpredicted ways that can end up being a significant plot twist in your memoir (laugh). On a more rational note - because the city is so dynamic and well-connected it makes it easier for you to get the necessary materials quickly, get them couriered over, organise a quick meeting, access some insane reference library/archive, etc. For a creative like me, London is like a well-oiled machine, and once you’re in it and figure out how it works, you just become a part of it.

How do you navigate the balance between pursuing your personal creative vision and fulfilling commissioned projects?

I feel like at this point I attract people who either share my vision or are inspired by it. My mission and aesthetic are quite simple and clear, and a lot of people seem to get it. That’s why, even if my creative input in a given project is minimal, I am most likely getting a dose of satisfaction with completing it.

Given the prevalence of creative burnout in today's landscape, I'm curious—do you ever find yourself feeling uninspired? And if so, how do you recharge during those moments?

We tend to feel uninspired by looking at uninspiring things. That’s why I limit my exposure to social media, which I find problematic and affecting me in all the wrong ways. I am lucky to be able to do what I love, so just that gives me enough drive to wake up in the morning, push myself and sometimes work long into the night. My sources of inspiration are books, music, movies, and interviews with specialists in any field, not just creatives. I love listening to scientists, historians, engineers… I get inspired by passionate people.

To avoid burnout, I consciously allocate downtime which I spend away from the studio or emails. That is usually spending time with friends, going on a solo bike ride, climbing, swimming or a weekend away. I get a lot of ideas during long-distance travels. I love travelling by ’slower’ forms of transport, such as train or bus. At any given time I have a planned trip I look forward to and that for me seems to be the best remedy to burnout.

interview: Iga szczodrowska