Dutch couple reap rewards of historic region to establish conservation business
A life changes when one moves country and the decision to do so must not be taken lightly.
But so was the pull of the Atlantic lifestyle that Dutchman Benjamin van den Wetering and his wife Ineke Scholte, made the big move to the Ox Mountains of Tubbercurry at the turn of the millennium.
It is here that their company ‘The Ox Bindery’ now offers Institute of Conservators-Restorers in Ireland (ICRI) accredited conservation services to public and private clients.
Some might say the west coast and the artistic couple are a faultless match.
Benjamin, a former art school student, has also studied hand bookbinding and subsequently book and paper conservation in the Netherlands.
Sligo is of course notable for its rich history, particularly in literature.
So when Benjamin, who comes from a family of craftworkers, took an interest in the origins and craft of books it was written in the stars that he settle in the north west.
And as Benjamin and Ineke also now run their own Airbnb, they are also reaping the rewards of the West’s growing tourism market.
“We do have tourists coming for accommodation,” said Benjamin. “I would say Airbnb creates a lot of traction for our book binding business as these people often buy some of our books, but we are aware that what we do is pioneering in the area.”
He added: “Working in the west is rewarding and we get a lot of work done because of its quiet, the peace it offers and its low overhead costs.”
The company recently took part in a project funded by the Heritage Council under the National Lottery good causes fund.
The Ox Bindery expertly conserved various raw materials such as account books from an historic family boat yard.
The notebooks are now in the care of Sligo County Council Local Studies and Archives Section.
With the history of the Atlantic corridor being written every day, its preservation is in the finest hands at Ox Bindery.