flexible: galen leather a5 zippered folio
Some early mornings are so quiet that you can make yourself believe that you’re the only person in the world. Just a peaceful drizzle, splattering on the windows, the world cold and grey. Then, you make a steaming mug of coffee. Your insides warm up with every sip, your glasses get a little foggy. It’s still cold and dark outside, but some coffee and a little light to write under makes the silence something to be cherished, rather than to be dreaded.
Finding the “perfect” product that will fit how you use your fountain pens and notebooks might be daunting. To me, a well-curated collection is finding the balance between “OH SHINY” instinct and the sensible stuff asking “Does it fit into my lifestyle?” or “Do I need it?” Thankfully, I rarely get caught up in FOMO, simply because the things I like tend to be more on the specific side.
Though, I’ll get three more colours of Kaweco Sport please.
My collection is there for me to use it, so in part, they need to be flexible enough to fit into multiple use-cases. Sometimes, that’s a hard balance for me, especially with Galen Leather products. They’re easy to justify buying, they’re durable, beautiful and useful. How can you not want them?
When I first saw this A5 folio, I was in love. It would’ve been perfect to carry my journal around with a few pens. A single place to carry everything. Though, I was unable to justify the price, simply because I didn’t know much about Galen Leather products except from internet reviews. A few years passed in the meantime, I used multiple products from them and was never disappointed.
Then, during the last holiday season, my mother got the whole family the A5 folio in this lovely brown colour. Crazy Horse is a leather with a lot of character, it shifts hue from a deep caramel to an ochre, its use and age showing in every little scuff. You can imagine how excited we all were, usually there’s a lot of excitement around stationery.
I transferred all of my journaling supplies to there at the spot, going after a dream from all those years ago. Setting it up like all the pretty Instagram photos I’ve seen. One tiny difference though, my supplies are much simpler. Stickers, washi tapes, colourful papers all stay at home. So it felt a little empty and not used to its fullest potential. This folio has so many pockets to use!
In the end, I transferred my journal to a lighter notebook caste (also from Galen Leather), and put my school supplies there. It worked a little better with some post its, a notepad, sometimes bookmarks, some fancy pens and a pencil. Honestly, this was the best use-case for me. All my reading and writing supplies in one place, tidily together in my bag. No more searching through a huge backpack with only one pocket. Most of my classes were streamed online, so instead of going to a busy lecture hall with an hour of commute, I’d just go to the office or a library to work there.
At this point, it was in my bag all the time, and the built quality really shone through. It is just so sturdy. A little infuriating, as I want to give other folios a chance too, but because it works so well, I cannot justify buying another folio. The leather shows its age and use, though it always looks like it was used with care instead of just tossed into a black hole of a bag. There’s not a single thread out of place, the backing and the inserts are as strong as they come, even with daily removing and opening and closing of pockets. The only part I was a little worried about was the zipper, and my worries were unnecessary. That is the strongest zipper I’ve ever seen. After 3 months of constant use, where it gets zipped unzipped probably dozen times a day, it’s smoother than ever.
Galen Leather’s products look rugged in the best way possible. If you ever want to keep your pens and notebooks safe in a post-apocalyptic world, this would be the choice. Despite that, it still manages to look professional on an office desk, even people who don’t really care about stationery commented on it.
Now that the semester is over, I’m back to design classes that don’t require a notebook and a pen. I take notes on my computer and my planner is a Traveler’s Notebook, so the folio has taken the backburner for a bit.
A resting period, if you will.
It only has my blog writing stuff with my notebook, a pencil and some inked pens to jot down ideas and outlines. My journal is better off in the thinner notebook cover, as I found that I tend to leave the clips of my pens facing upwards and it leaves tiny dents on the leatherette cover of my Leuchtturm notebook. I don’t mind it much, though I’d still prefer that it was not there.
I’m sure that I will continue using this folio more intensively in the future, but that doesn’t mean it is not useful at the moment as well. It is flexible enough to accommodate different use cases, depending on what you need, instead of what the shape and layout of the folio dictates.
That is okay too.
Sometimes, the “perfect” product is the one that fits into your life perfectly at one point, then adapts to a different use as your life changes. The only thing that matters is that it brings you joy.
Thank you for reading.
Disclaimer: This folio was a gift, and was not sent by Galen Leather. I participate in an affiliate program, therefore some links might take you to a store's page. Please read the about page for more details.