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...
All dimensions indicate external dimensions of the closed book. Memory Books have 128 pages of heavy paper & spacers for inclusions; Guest Books, Journals & Sketchbooks have Mohawk Superfine Smooth 118gsm paper, usually 192 pages unless otherwise indicated in the product listing. Pagination can be adjusted a little for bespoke books, speciality artists' papers on request.
|A4 Large Portrait||12 inches or 305 mm||8.5 inches or 215 mm||1.5 inches or 38 mm|
|A4 Large Landscape||8.5 inches or 215 mm||12 inches or 305 mm||1.5 inches or 38 mm|
|A5 Medium Landscape||6 inches or 155 mm||8.5 inches or 215 mm||1.5 inches or 38 mm|
|A5 Medium Portrait||8.5 inches or 215 mm||6 inches or 155 mm||1.5 inches or 35 mm|
|A6 Small Landscape||4.5 inches or 114 mm||6 inches or 155 mm||1 inch or 25 mm|
|A6 Small Portrait||6 inches or 155 mm||4.5 inches or 114 mm||1 inch or 25 mm|
96 pages of Mohawk Superfine 118gsm paper
|One Size||3 inches or 76 mm||2.25 inches or 60 mm||20 mm or 0.75 inches|
60 pages of 130 gsm paper
|One Size||6 inches or 148 mm approx.||4.5 inches or 108 mm approx.||20 mm or 0.75 inches|
With Mohawk Superfine 118gsm paper
|A4 Large||297 mm or 11.5 inches approx.||205mm or 8.25 inches approx.||64 pages|
|A5 Medium||210 mm or 5.75 inches approx.||145 mm or 5.75 inches approx.||56 pages|
|A6 Small||150 mm or 6 inches approx.||100 mm or 4 inches approx.||48 pages|
|A7 Pocket||106 mm or 4.25 inches approx.||72 mm or 2.75 inches approx.||40 pages|
8 pages of Mohawk heavy paper
|A5 Medium Portrait||TBC|
|A6 Small Landscape|