An Outpost for Parchment and Hides
TALAS was about to close for its annual summer break, and Kimberly McClure made sure to get there before it did.
She had driven across Brooklyn to this industrial block of east Williamsburg to pick up a couple of leather-cutting tools. They get dull quickly, she said, and her project — binding a composer’s score into a handmade 15-inch-by-15-inch hot-stamped calfskin notebook — couldn’t wait a week.
Relied on by artists like Ms. McClure, 30, and professional conservators alike, Talas, an enormous loftlike shop, is the city’s most comprehensive source for bookbinding supplies.
Inside, an Italian greyhound peeked its slim little head out of Ms. McClure’s bag. “She’s looking for Zoe,” she said, referring to the puli that Talas’s owners, Marge and Jake Salik, bring to work.
The Saliks met while they were working for New York City’s child protective services. But they shared a passion for paper. Ms. Salik has a master’s in printmaking and calligraphy from Lehman College, and Mr. Salik’s first job, as a child, was at his uncle’s paper business in Manhattan. They bought Talas from its original owner in 1994. Now two of the couple’s three children work with them in the 25,000-foot, three-story former down-quilt factory, which they moved into in 2009.