Helsinki ended up being just the thing I needed – a special artists’ book treat followed by solitude and new neighbourhoods to explore on my long walks. A change in scenery often helps us rearrange the self. And as a result I’m also in dire need of a new journal! The floral journal I made for myself has now been in use just over a month and there are under ten pages left for me to fill with my tiny-ant-handwriting (reserved for journals and anxiety-ridden teenage-letters). I think I’m going to stick with the same size and binding for the next journals, since one of the reasons this has filled up so quickly is the lack of excuses for carrying it with me everywhere I go. And given that I apparently go through a journal a month, I might as well make a few in one go. Easter plans: sorted.
For the rest of you, I already have some new books in stock. These are just a tiny bit skewed – on purpose, of course. These notebooks have 100 dotted grid pages each and a diagonal pattern long stitch binding. Even the slightest change in the expected can be a powerful design element.
The endpapers in this trio vary from gold print to solid to printed handmade paper. My personal favourite is the combination of teal bookcloth and teal-striped golden brown handmade paper.
I should already be focusing on some fine binding projects, but no such luck. Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator. Perhaps that’s not entirely true, as my reason for putting off the fine bindings is the flurry of interest in other matters. It’s not like I’m not creating new work, it’s just stuff that is less dependent on deadlines. Soon I’ll cut into that luscious pink leather. Soon, I promise.
Just listed in the shop: a dozen new bullet journals in a dozen colours and three different long stitch style variations. I only made one in each colour, and you know the drill: once a colour has sold out, it’s gone & the next lot of bullet journals will be something different. Another reason for you to rush off to shop is that I’m leaving town for a week come Monday morning, so, any orders placed after Sunday morning won’t be heading out until April 11th. My birthday present to myself is a week in Helsinki: museums, libraries, poetry, artists’ books, long walks, and tons of photos. While I visit Helsinki fairly often, I never stay long enough to visit more than a handful of places, and I always end up running out of time or energy. This trip should solve both problems and get me out of the home town rut I’m in. I’ll probably flood my Instagram feed & stories with photos of Helsinki, so do follow along if you’re interested. For those fully uninterested in stuff that’s not books: I will be posting artists’ book stuff next week as well! I have finished my #areyoubookenough bookbinding challenge piece in time, and you can see it very soon on Instagram, and there’ll be a post here on Monday as well.
Back to the bullet journals after the tourism side step: like I said, I switched things up a bit and did three different variations of the long stitch binding. The loopy chain stitch kind on the yellow and orange journals I hadn’t done in a decade but I do like it a lot.
Dotted grid pages, as always – the best kind of pages for bullet journaling:
My personal bullet journal is a life saver this week: fighting a cold most of last week left me horribly behind schedule on many things, and going away for a week on Monday doesn’t help either. So, I’m cramming in long work days this week, writing mega long to-do lists, and giving myself a pat on the back every time I finish a task. V has seen me only in passing this week since I’ve been holed up in the studio so much. One evening he stopped by (yeah, we both work at home, but my studio is at the the opposite end of every other relevant part of our home, so he needs to purposefully come and greet me), sniffed my hair and told me I smelled like home (can I get an awwwww here?). The sweet smell of home was quickly narrowed down as I had just finished sanding a stack of book board. Your homes may smell like cinnamon or lavender, but at our place, we prefer friction and dust…
Today I’m going to finish off with a quick recommendation for pretty much everyone who likes to listen to stuff as they work: the brand new (and brilliant!) S-town podcast kept me company while I glued the covers for this lot – nearly seven hours of amazing storytelling that was so good I got pretty distracted at times and forgot to keep that glue brush going. Which obviously isn’t that great when you desperately need to get work done, but I’m telling you – it’s worth it!
I’ve been in a suspiciously good mood lately and itching to make something quite different for a change. This beauty of a book is the result of it all. I often wish I could marry my love for bookbinding and mixed media better, but as a bookbinder I’m usually too obsessed with durability and functionality to make it happen. But since vellum as a material is very durable, I decided in this case I could be a bit frivolous with the rest of the book.
The spine is cut from a 19th century document with both printed text and handwriting. (These legal documents aren’t rare at all, so please don’t be terrified by my chopping up of history.) I’ve used some reindeer vellum (or more accurately parchment, as vellum is a word traditionally reserved for parchment made out of calf/goat skin) in the past, but I’ve never been quite satisfied with how greasy it can remain after all my attempts at degreasing it. The reindeer vellum isn’t made for bookbinding purposes, so properly degreasing it as it’s made is most likely not a priority for the manufacturer. So by repurposing these old great quality vellum documents I get to make something beautiful out of something now practically useless, and as this vellum has lasted for 150 years in great condition, it’s bound to last a good while longer if treated well.
The covers are made out of lovely greenish-brown waxed lokta paper I brought home from London. I can’t decide if it looks more like leather or stone, but in any case it has a lovely soft, almost velvety feel to it.
More about another bookish mixed media project on Monday already! I’m working on an editioned artists’ book in a very untraditional format.
PS. Don’t forget today’s the last day to apply for the one-on-one bookbinding feedback opportunity I’m offering to two lucky bookbinders on Instagram – check out this post for details! I have already received a dozen applications, but I’ve yet to check out anyone’s work with feedback in mind. Having early favourites would only make my decision harder come tomorrow!