Before getting all caught up in the opening of the Triple Threat Exhibit (see last few posts), I was busy making a linocut of a leaf cluster. I was about halfway through removing areas that will not print when I allowed another distraction to take priority. Another thing I've wanted to get to for awhile, another piece of fabric set aside for it - aside but not away, such that I wouldn't forget but instead be reminded whenever working in the studio, a nagging at my consciousness - another blank journal.
But as you can see, I actually have made two. While I will soon need another one for myself for my yoga journalling, I also wanted to make one as a gift for someone who has sustained a loss. A bit of tick tock on both counts, so it was time to get these done. This one received simple outlining of the sun-printed leaves, opting to keep the feeddogs engaged so the stitching would be nice and even. As always, amazed at how a little stitch can transform a fabric.
This is an African batik of sorts, another special piece out of my late friend's stash. Done on a slightly heavier and coarser fabric than what we generally work into our quilts, it is perfect for this sort of project. And it was about the perfect size, very little having to be trimmed off. I'm sure it started off as a larger piece, probably a fat quarter, but I have no idea what my friend might have used part of it for. I used to be more about what I could do with leftovers from my projects. Now I seem to delight more in having as little leftover as possible.
That fabric had been fused to a piece of eco felt cut the finished size of the cover - I thought it could use the extra stability the fusible would provide. A little trimming of the corners of the fabric extending beyond was all that was needed before turning them over the edge and fusing to make a firm clean finish. The other African batik fabric was even heavier so I just spray basted the felt to it and stitched along the black lines (another instance of the quilting not showing but definitely felt when handling the journal). Strips of fusible were added along the fabric extensions so they could be turned over the edge and fused.
Covers done, it was time to fold the signatures and sew them in. On mine, I used a #3 wt Perle cotton which glided wonderfully through the holes of both the paper and cover. On the other I used a rayon braid from an Oliver Twist "Two of a Kind" package and it was even better! I used that 1/16th hole punch on the covers for the holes near the edges but of course could not reach into the center holes with it and reverted to a large needle. I used fray check on the ends and knots of both as a precaution, even though they are made on the inside between the pages. Carefully chosen buttons from my grandmother's/mother's button collection and elastic loops provide the closures.
These blank journals still feel like I'm working through prototypes, frustrating in how long they take, how long I end up fiddling with them unlike the padfolios that I have down to a science. But I love them - the size, the feel of the soft cover in my hand, the variety of decorative thread or yarn that can be used in the spine, the lovely antique laid paper I'm using for the signatures. You know there will be more. But first, back to the previous distraction...