Saturday, 16 January 2010

On the Subject of Art Journals...

Well, Rinda, has been showing us lots of lovely pages from her Art Journal, at her blog here.  I have been meaning to re-start my Art Journal, which I used to keep a loooong time ago, but don't do right now.
I need to have some way of recording ideas and experimenting, before I start a project etc.  I also need somewhere to write notes, ideas and make drawings/sketches/diagrams for my bookbinding projects. 

So... as I am going on a Bookbinding Course next Friday (yay!), I thought I really should have a Bookbinding Journal/Notebook.  I looked at some books today, while I was in WHSmiths, finding a photo-display book (which they didn't have in 6x4 or 7x5, only A4, so I had to buy a slip-in photo album instead, but it's very nice ... more about this later).  Anyway, I looked at various notebooks and stuff, then thought that really I should be making my own. After all, am I, or am I not, a Book Binder?

So I did a quick re-purposing job on a set of plain book signatures that I salvaged from an old sketch book some time ago.  They were already stitched together and had glue all along the spine, which did limit the way I could bind them, but I have produced something I am pleased with:-

A 12" x 8.5" Bookbinding Journal/Notebook

This has hard covers, made of stiff boards, with some great marbled paper that I have had a long time (there's a little mini-book, with a Japanese binding, in my Etsy shop, that has covers made from this paper).

I really like this paper and it just seemed the best thing to use.  The little label on the cover was just made from a trimmed-off piece of the marbled cover paper, stencilled on the back, with the edges inked in gold.

The back is lovely... I was going to use it as the front (the benefits of plain paper inside!!), but I couldn't bear to stick the label over it, so I turned it round. Now I still have that lovely area of marbling, unspoilt and wonderful!

I have left the spine un-stiffened, so it curves round the book and allows just a little room for expansion, if I put any other bits of paper etc inside.  Because the four book signatures were already stitched and glued, there wasn't much option for leaving space to expand. I could've tried removing the glue, but I think it would have proved difficult as it was from a commercially produced book originally and the glue is mega-strong.  Still, it's nice enough and I dont think I will stick lots of bulky things into this particular journal. 

I'm pleased with this - not bad for an afternoon's work?

To return to the photo album.  I wanted to produce a Portfolio, showing all (or most of) the books I have made over the last year or so.  I tried setting up a mini-book on Snapfish, but they only do fancy stuff, with big wide borders round.  Also, when I did set it up, the edges of all my pictures were cropped off, leaving only about 2/3 of the picture showing. This wasn't much good, as I had already cropped and prepared my pictures and no-one can tell what a book looks like, from picture of just the middle bit! 

I did order prints of all my pictures, but I don't have a laminator, so I need to protect the prints in some way, also to present them.  So I have bought a plain, slip-in style photo album.  I feel this is rather admitting defeat, as I should produce my own book. On the other hand, I couldn't find suitable slip-in pages, to enable me to make my own photo book quickly.  There were some designed for postcard collections, but each page held two postcards, there were only 5 pages to a pack, which cost £4.99. To display 50 photos (oh yes, I do have 50!), it would cost me £25! Not a viable option. 

Some time soon, I may well make myself one of the "old fashioned photo album" books, such as I have, to order, in my shop.  However, I am short of time just now, so a ready-made album it is.  It's nice. It's plain red, leather-look stuff, with the word "Photos" in silver on the cover. The pictures are displayed portrait style, so many of mine will be sideways, but that doesn't matter really. Anyway, I like it and it will do nicely!

So that's my news...

D. was away last week, working in Stockholm.  They had SNOW there and the average daytime temperature was around -10 to -15 degrees Celsius (yes that's right, not an error!).  It was even colder at night. 

He took these photos:

These were all taken during the day.  the second one was at around 9am, when the sun was up. The other two were taken on his way home from work, after 5pm, but not very late.  He said that all the trees had a coating of white ice, like sugar. It's very pretty, but amazingly cold!

Of course, the Swedes are fairly used to snow in winter time, so they all get on with it, go to work, drive their cars etc.  No school closures because it snowed and froze! No factories closed because of a gas shortage!  I think the UK needs to get a bit more used to this - we may have more winters of snow and it's costing us millions every day, because we just can't cope. Maybe we should invite the Mayor of Stockholm to come and tell Parliament just how they cope in Sweden!

Anyway, he is home now and wanted to know what we had done with all the snow that was here when he went away!


  1. Woohoo! Good for you! Can't wait to hear how you use your bookbinding art journal.

  2. That is some beautiful paper! Good luck with your class!

  3. Love the marbling...look forward to seeing the journal as it progresses.

  4. i love ur new book, it has beautiful paper and i can see why u wouldn't want to cover that one sheet with ur title, it's so gorgeous. i think that a photo album is a m uch better idea for ur pics for the time being as u'll have so many more to add and who knows how big an album u would need in the end.
    i cant wait to find out what u make and do at the bookbinding course. it sounds like g8 fun. they have a course run by a london firm in wiltshire for beginners but it costs £200.00!!!!! i'd love to do something like that but i think that's a little bit too costly at the moment,
    Jo xxx

  5. I love bookbinding, but I'm a total amateur. You'll have to share a little of what you learn in the course! I love the book, the marble paper is simply stunning. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it!


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