Arounna Khounnoraj - Bookhou

Meet maker extraordinaire Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou!

Describe what you do: Bookhou was cofounded by my husband John Booth and I (Arounna Khounnoraj) in 2002 to showcase our individual and collaborative work. We are a multidisciplinary studio that emphasizes natural handmade materials and small production pieces. 

Where do you live? Where do you work? I live in a downtown neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada.  We have a storefront where we make and sell our work, with our home above the store, very mom and pop style.  The building is old but we renovated it with additions so that there is plenty of room for the family above and different studios below for all of our activities.

Describe a typical day for you: Usually I tackle the office work by answering emails and checking for orders. My mother who sews for us usually arrives a little earlier and begins her day working on any outstanding items. Once I've finished on the computer, I'll coordinate with her on what we need to do for the day. Typically, that involves some cutting and printing, fulfilling orders or building up stock. In the afternoon I tend to focus on special projects, prepping work for social media and photographing work in the afternoon sun. After meal time with family and the kids are off to bed I try to find some quiet time to work on my own projects that are not production based.

Name a book that you read recently and loved: I don't know if I can say one book in particular but I have read a number of books lately on living and caring for plants. Our building faces south and the light is quite good. I started with one or two plants and before too long it became a small indoor garden. 

Favorite snack: I like a lot of Asian snacks,  anything salty like rice crackers. 

Favorite color combination: I like fall colours, earth tones and muted colours like you get with natural dye. I'd probably put any of these alongside a warm grey.

What is your most treasured possession? I would probably say that my scissors are the certainly my most protected possession, as important as they are. But outside of my tools, I'd say perhaps my books. After graduating from art school, I worked in a bookshop that specialized in books on all forms of art and crafts. There were rare publications and the back wall had a huge Frank Stella painting. I started a collection of books then of all the artists and crafts people I admired.

What is the best piece of advice someone ever gave you? My mother-in-law grew up on a farm and would tell me lots of useful adages. Generally, they would be along the lines of 'not sweating the small stuff' or 'this too shall pass', both of which are good to remember on those days that seem far too long.

And finally, where can we see your work? Website and instagram @bookhou

The original piece behind her Biquette blanket: