Featured Exhibitor: Biblio Boxes

Bibilo Boxes creates custom-made clamshell and lidded boxes as well as slipcases for preservation of antique and fragile paper items. Proprietor Phil Carling's own appreciation and history with historical and antique works lead him into the world of preservation.

“I figured the best way to [preserve and save] was for individual people to make customized boxes,” Carling said.

Decorative Lidded Box

With handmade papers and archival quality materials, Biblio Boxes not only protect objects but also showcase their value and beauty. Each box is made personally by Carling based on the customers specifications and object needs. Carling is also available to assist customers in choosing materials for their box.

“Sometimes folks need help getting a feeling for materials,” Carling said. “We’ll use the item itself—the nature and colorization of the thing—to develop the individual choices for the box.”

Currently, all Biblio Boxes profits are being donated to New Hampshire’s Portsmouth Athenaeum in support of their work preserving antique books and manuscripts.

“My interest is saving things people care about, saving these fragile paper items,” Carling said. “I don’t need to make money off it.”

In addition to making archival boxes, Biblio Boxes offers restoration and stabilization services such as spine reinforcement or repair and paper replacement. Carling also creates various paper-cover items such as jewelry trays, pencil cases, and photo storage or files boxes.

“I just can’t throw away paper,” Carling said. “[Handprinted paper] is so beautiful, so I make little things out of it.”

These paper boxes are some of Carling’s top sellers at book fairs.

“People like to buy things that are interesting and maybe mean something personal to them,” Carling said.

“It’s nice to be able to talk to people and give them something they can use to contact me again and say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s the guy that makes the boxes!’” Carling laughed.

Carling is looking forward to the return of in person book fairs.

“[Book fairs are] where I have the opportunity to meet folks who understand what I do,” Carling explained. “People who want to save and preserve things that means something to them.”

Clamshell Box

Phil Carling’s archival boxes and other paper items will be on display at the Northampton Book fair during the first weekend of December in the Northampton Community Arts Trust.

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