The bookbinding post was so wildly popular that I decided to also include some images and tips from my journal-making experience.
If you’re anything like me, poetry is a great love, but not the only love. I also enjoy painting. For me, poetry is the waking art, the one I try for, the one I perfect. Painting, or other types of visual designs, are the absent art, the one I do to calm me, in persuit of ambient inspiration. For some people this ambient art is music, others just go for a jog. It made sense to make a space where I could do both, write and paint, in a non-invasive way. For that, I needed paper that would not curl under water-color or buckle under acrlic. So I needed a cold press journal. And I would have to make that.
Here are my thoughts on journals, now that I’ve made one:
1. Making a journal is personal. I get to pick the cover (paper used was from Paper Source, which just opened a store in Las Vegas) and make the pages from the type of paper I need. I wanted to have something I could paint, and so I didn’t need to spend $30 on a bound book or have loose sheets. I also got to decide how large I wanted it, which is something I always struggle with when choosing a book that always ends up having too many pages.
2. Building a book is like making your bed. It’s yours. I strongly believe that poetry is a vertical experience. We have an experience and then we write about it. But what if it was more than that. The experience was one you personally had, and then you thought about it, and wrote that poem in your own journal, that you made with your hands. First hand account on your own piece of art. It’s almost poetic and we haven’t started writing yet!
3. Poetry Gets Hands On. In my last post about bookbinding I talked about poems being very removed for me. I had forgotten how much I love writing things by hand. I miss writing and not typeing. I miss the permanence, even in draft form, of pen. It seems delliberate. It seems real. It also takes a hands-on experience to sew a book. There are awl punches and dangling needles and fidgety cardboard. It’s not always the simplest task, but it’s real.
I find that I write different things when I plan to paint beside them. My poems really do conform them to their space. I tend not to write onto a second page or go outside the lines. I wonder what that says about me as a poet, about what poetry does to the spaces it encounters.
So here are the numbers.
$10 for the pages and cover (all in one of those artist pads at Michaels) – I only used half of the pages, it was just too many once they were all folded.
$3 for the cover paper from Paper Source, they have lots of kinds
$3 Rubber Cement
$0 for the inner paper and the pocket (I already had some scrapbook paper, it was in a pack of cardstock paper)
$6 for the hemp string (Paper Source), but there were 100’s of feet of it, and I’ll surely use it again!
And I watched the same video by SeaLemon, which was helpful for the poetry book, and super great for the journal. (I used half of the paper, since water color paper is super thick when cold pressed).
TIPS: The video will not show you how to cover the book with paper. It’s super easy. Take the cardboard and cover one side with a thin layer of rubber cement. Let dry. Take the paper and also apply a thin layer of rubber cement and let dry. Bring together. The dry rubber cement will stick better and faster than wet glue or wet rubber cement. Repeat for inner side.
For the corners, cut the extra cover paper to 1″ from the board. Then fold in the triangle of the corner, sticking with dried rubber cement on both sides. Then, fold over the 1″ margin once you have applied rubber cement on both the board and the paper and let dry. You’ll be amazed! For the inside, I used a piece of paper 1″ shorter than the board in height and length, affixed the same way as the other paper.
Make sure that the holes are punched through the cardboard first and then later through the paper as you cover the sides. That way, you will have an easier time getting through the thick material, and it will be cleaner when finished.
That’s all for now. I hope you all make a journal and love it and fill it with hand crafted poetry goodness.
Keep Writing, Start Binding!