Ars Obscura – Seattle, Washington - Atlas Obscura

Ars Obscura

In this subterranean brick arcade, a small shop continues the ancient practice of bookbinding.  

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Down in the empty brick arcades of the Grand Central Building basement is the Ars Obscure Bookbinding and Restoration Company. Inside the small shop, the centuries-old profession of bookbinding is alive and well.

The operation is festooned with hanging leathers, excitingly chunky metal presses, and a host of other equipment that hail from a distant time and place outside the quotidian and modern. If you’re lucky, the quiet owner may be in and working. A small selection of notebooks and other handbound items are for sale, but the shop also specializes in restoring and binding historical works and grimoires. Also, there is almost always a bouquet of free, magnificently marbled paper bookmarkers for visitors.

Know Before You Go

This shop is located in the basement of the Grand Central Arcade building. Best to enter through the doors on Occidental Square and go down the stairs into the large central arcade. It's right next to the Grand Central Bakery.

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August 28, 2019

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