Saturday, August 12, 2017

Making a New Accordion Journal

New handmade Accordion Journal, covered in fabric I designed and printed at Spoonflower
Finding just the right journal isn't easy, even with the multitude of styles available in art stores and business supply stores. For me, there are many factors: size, shape, weight and paper quality. For journals that I keep at home, weight doesn't really matter. But I have been looking for a little journal to tuck in my tote bag, one that I can use on my lunch hour or pull out when I have a chunk of unexpected free time.

Recently I found a journal making kit in an art supply store that looked just right. Small, lightweight, and since I enjoy the bookmaking process--fun to make. But when I opened the package, I was seriously disappointed. The paper was super flimsy, and no good at all for paint. The book spine was flimsy. There was no fabric or paper included to cover the book, and not much thread for binding. I debated about returning it, but didn't want to lose a couple hours going back to the store, waiting in line, and coming home.

So, I took the two heavy cardboard cover pieces and decided to make a new journal with them, using cardstock that I had on hand, and my own fabric as a cover. I cut a new spine from some heavy cardboard I had on hand, and cut a long, long rectangle to accordion fold and stitch my page signatures into. I used a method that I learned a few years ago in a class I took with Kelly Kilmer at Ink Pad NYC. Here's a link to another book I made with the method.

Step one was cutting the fabric and making sure I had enough to cover the edges and glue to the reverse side.

Next, I went to work on folding the long paper that would hold the signatures, I cut the paper to the size I wanted, put them together into signatures, and stitched them into the long folded paper.

The inside cover needed a book plate, so I chose some deli paper that I had painted and printed with one of Nat Kalbach's positive/negative art foamies. I also rifled through my scrap boxes and chose some paper and fabric scraps to cover the first page of the accordion.

Here's what the finished book looked like open and closed:

Now that I have made my new journal, I discovered what looks like the perfect little journal that I can use on my lunch hour. Artist Gwen Lafleur has a fabulous website with all kinds of unique trims, washi tape and embellishments. I have my eye on a little journal that is 8"x8" and has beautiful sheets of watercolor. Take a look at her website--the art eye-candy is plentiful and there are so many intriguing items it is had not to want it all!

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