Lighthouse Journal Page

This journal spread was a joy to make. It combines so many of my favourite things. A few weeks back I posted about a new handmade art journal. This is it and these are the first pages I’ve completed. I didn’t work on the very first page; I leave that for later, so this is a few pages in. The pages are cold pressed watercolour paper so I taped the edges and created a watery blended background with distress inks smooshed on a piece of acetate then pressed onto my pages. I added more ink with a paintbrush and stamped the Darkroom Door world map stamp into the wet ink. I wasn’t trying to create sky or land or anything in particular I was just working randomly with blues and browns.

Once the background dried I used stamps from another favourite, the DD ‘global postmarks’ set, again stamped in blue and brown but archival ink, not distress, so it wouldn’t dilute and blur.

On an extra scrap of watercolour paper I picked up some smooshed and diluted ink then dried it before stamping the new ‘word labels’ stamps so I could cut them out and arrange them over the page.

If you have been visiting my blog for a while you will have seen the lighthouse stamp before. The lighthouse is in Norah Head, on the central coast of NSW, not far from where my father lives and the Darkroom Door premises. I have visited there several times and climbed the lighthouse with my dad. You can probably see now why I chose the word labels I did. The lighthouse and the ‘this way’ arrows are stamped on tissue paper. This allowed me to move them around to work out exactly where I wanted them. The blurry world map stamping worked as a ‘reflection for the lighthouse image so that’s where it ended up.

When I am adding stamped tissue to a page I gently tear around the edges with the help of a damp paintbrush. For the lighthouse I cut carefully around the walls and light then painted white paint on the back of the tissue so it would not be transparent. Of course I splattered some water and some gold paint to complete the page.

As this was the first time I had used my new journal I was interested to see how the cold pressed watercolour paper worked. Nothing soaked through the paper to the other side and I took care to dab up liquid from the centre seam so there was not much bleed through there either. The 7″ x 7″ size gave me a little more room than the 6 x 6 journals I have been working in but wasn’t so large as to be overwhelming.

(Compensated affiliate links from Foiled Fox, Scrap n Stamp & Ecstasy Crafts)

Handmade Art Journal

A couple of weeks ago I posted photos and description of the handmade book with Coptic binding which I made as a participant in the November 5-Day challenge from the Handmade Book Club. I really like the construction and binding of this particular book so I made another one, this time with cold pressed watercolour pages and a gel printed cover.

The pages in this book are seven inches square so the covers are a little larger. When I went through my very large stash of gel prints I didn’t have two pieces large enough and matchy-matchy enough for my liking. Hard to believe I know, because my gel print collection now inhabits two large boxes. Knowing that I needed at least 9″ x 9″ prints I made a couple on rice paper especially for this journal. The pretty circle/tile pattern in the print is from a piece of embossed cardstock I have been holding onto for a very long time ‘just in case I needed it!’

I make my covers from the thick cardstock backs of watercolour paper pads. You can buy bookboard, but my stash of thick cardstock pieces is large and easily sturdy enough. I printed the cover patterns on rice paper which folds beautifully over the thick cardboard.

As you might have noticed from recent art journal posts, I’ve been creating in a 6″ x 6″ journal for my classes and at home. This one is just that little big bigger so I’m excited to get started in it.

Stay tuned to see what I put in this journal. I think it is safe to say some of the prints from those two big boxes will end up in here! Hope your day includes a book, in some shape or form.

Deep Rabbit Holes (another handmade book)

I have a friend who I met through art journalling and we like to share with each other the artsy craftsy rabbit holes we have gone down. I have been interested in handmade books for a while but only in recent years have I joined online classes to make some. It is a rabbit hole I intend to keep tunneling into! My first hand made book I shared in November 2021. I love how that first book turned out but as yet haven’t put it to use.

In November 2022 I started another one taught once again by the incredibly talented Ali Manning. Ali runs a bookmaking monthly membership program which is a luxury I can’t afford right now but she also offers 5 day book making classes three times a year. The book you see here was started during the Nov 2022 Coptic Journal challenge but not finished until late December because…life.

The beauty of the 5 day challenges is there is an instructional video every day, a live Q & A session and a team of people answering questions. And it only costs $10. This isn’t a sponsored post or anything like that; I just want to say that I love the timeframe and level of commitment with these 5 day challenges. I am looking forward to seeing what is offered in March. Anyway enough of the how, let’s talk about what!

The name of the book comes from the binding which you can see in the second photo. I used kraft paper for my pages, table napkins and dictionary pages to decorate my covers, heavy card from watercolour paper pads for my covers and bookbinding thread.

The size is 6″ x 4.75″ and some of the pages have tabs on them to divide up the book. The binding allows the book to sit flat when open which is nice. I am using it to practice drawing simple line drawings in black and white.

Since finishing this little book I have made another one following the same video instructions (once the five day challenge is over I still have access to the content so I can make more books). I was going to share the second one in this post but I will save it for another day.

Are you a bookmaker? What styles and techniques have you used. Would you buy a handmade book? Just wondering…

A Handmade Book

I have been wanting to try book making for a while but it has been yet another appealing idea that has had to wait. While I was waiting to try book making I signed up on Ali Manning‘s waiting list. Ali is a skilled book maker who runs the Handmade Book Club, a club where members learn, share and make. Before Ali opens the club for registration she hosts a 5 day challenge where you pay $10 and make a book by following her video instruction and daily zoom sessions.

Last time she offered the challenge I had too much happening. This time it fell on the same week I was launching my new class. I decided to sign up anyway even if I had to wait and make my book later. It has been a busy week and I soon fell behind with the book making steps. Yesterday after I hit publish on the last of the lessons in my new online class I had time to catch up. I’m writing this paragraph as I wait for glue to dry before I finish the last steps on my book.

As you can imagine I have quite a lot of paper at my disposal. When making this book it wasn’t a question of do I have the right supplies, it was ‘which of these lovely supplies do I use?’ I was hoping to make the whole book without having to buy anything new. I did need beeswax but that is the only thing I couldn’t find around here.

I don’t have book making supplies but I have tools, papers and random items that worked. One thing I have been saving for years is the sturdy cardboard backs of paper pads. I’ve culled the collection once or twice wondering why on earth I had so many. Now I know. Those thick card board pieces are covers for future hand made books.

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I covered the front and back of my book with beautiful paper from The Paper Place in Toronto. I bought the paper years ago with no plan in mind. It has Australian native plants illustrated and labelled. I used coloured watercolour paper made in Montreal for the neutral, green and blue pages. I bought a pad of it a few years back and have used it a few times for cards.

The vinyl straps are from my daughter’s stash; she makes bags, and the buttons are from my collection.

I won’t try and explain the steps involved in making it, that is Ali’s job and she did it brilliantly. The explanations and demos are excellent and she gave an extra hour a day to answer questions on zoom.

Another thing I enjoyed about this project is the scope for customization or personal touches. There are different ways to attach the hinges, to finish off the spine and of course size, colour and paper choices make everyone’s book unique.

Can you tell I enjoyed this project? It was just the change of focus I needed to keep my creative juices flowing.

Do you have a creative project wish list? Mine is long but exciting to contemplate. ( ‘I hear you calling me gel plate; I haven’t forgotton you!’) Let me know in the comments what you would like to try one day.

And remember you still have a chance to win a spot in my new online class. I will announce a winner on Monday. The lessons are all published and available now; I would love you to join me in creating Wreaths – Stamped & Painted