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December 03, 2015
This month I worked on a completely one-off, never to be repeated leather journal / sketchbook for a very special person. An artist-educator who herself works with books in their many forms including altered books and artist's books, a stationery addict who likes to write (especially on squared paper) and sketch, someone who loves colour and finds beauty in reclaimed and repurposed objects and materials. So this book needed to be colourful, richly textured and a bit quirky, too.
A surprise gift!
Every day I'm delighted by the diverse colour combinations my clients choose with my Bespoke Service, but to standardise my offering I usually make books with plain paper (Daler-Rowney cartridge - slightly textured, a warm off-white, lovely to write or draw on). So it was a real treat to spend time sifting through my collection of 'interesting papers', including pages liberated from old magazines and books, to collate a selection of pages to suit the giftee.
That Cleo Mussi porcelain figure had to go in! And the purple pelican from the 'Visual Culture' Pelican book cover, liberated from a Monocle publication, was also a must-have. Add in a moody blue page from a John Lewis catalogue and the colour scheme was decided: purple and teal.
Ready to bind, with Teal Irish linen thread.
Some of the repurposed paper had to be backed with cartridge as it was quite thin or had text on the reverse that I didn't want to see in the finished book. Add in some plant fibre papers, more cartridge and squared paper and the bookblock was ready to bind with the leather. I used the Longstitch with Linkstitch style - this is a 15th century German binding that's flexible yet really strong - great as a sketchbook because it allows the book to lie open flat so you can use the entire page width. Because it's sewn without any glue at all, it's super strong so you can tote it around for years.
Tying off the first two signatures (collections of folded sheets).
The eight signatures are now sewn through the leather cover.
The repurposed pages are employed as signature (section) dividers.
Spot the bonus colouring in page!
Bonus pen holder, too!
The finished book: Purple & Teal Leather Journal / Sketchbook.
I really enjoyed making this one-off book and can't wait to see how the pages get filled up over the years. There's nothing like a handmade gift to bring a smile to a birthday girl's face!
Look out for more Project blog posts...
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