Those Plain Black Journals

I was on the last few pages of my journal again. When this happens I tend to write smaller, and I cram a couple days onto one page. It's always hard to let it go. Maybe there's a gem in there I've overlooked? A memory or dream I'd like to keep grazing? 

It's inevitable, really. I face this every two years, give or take life. And every two-ish years I ask myself, Am I really going to buy a new plain black journal, again? 

There's a phrase you've probably heard if you were born after the 16th century, "like bringing coals to Newcastle." Like bringing a store-bought journal into my studio full of books. Yes, I could make one or use one I've already made. Meanwhile, the studio is filled with filled store-bought black journals; they are the only book that looks like that, and I know exactly what they are. So, I guess that's a good thing.

Blick art-supply store moved recently. Now it is even closer to my house. Since I hadn't seen the new store and I had a coupon, I went and bought the journal.

I've been customizing these to amuse myself and to make one stand out from another. I wrote a post about it in 2013. This is the journal that is ending, from late 2016- early 2018.

Something can happen when you are making a one-of-a-kind thing. (A 2017 post about that creative process is here.) Often, I go back and forth, liking and hating a piece. I try a technique and it doesn't look very good. So I work with it. It usually gets better. In this case, I stamped the cover, using a mallet with leather stamps, but it didn't stamp cleanly. I thought the silver pen would help it. But I used a different pen than usual, a Sanford Uni-ball Gel Impact that was juicier than the preferred Sakura Gelly-Roll pen. Instead of getting better, it got worse. Smeared. I was able to wipe it down with water, but it smeared again. Ugly, ugly, ugly. 

I woke up with a better idea. I would just strip off the ugliness: make a recess in the cover and glue something over it. You can see how to create a recess in this post for the tunnel book cover. It's also on page 217 in Making Handmade Books. Sharp knife. Check. Metal ruler. Check. Pencil. Check. Art for the recess. Ah, I could glue in the last scrap from the Ospreys* at night quilts. Tacky glue works for that. Just the edges. I like the raw cloth edge, but you could wrap a scrap around a piece of paper as a stiffener, iron fabric to some heat-n-bond or the like, or iron a hem in the edges first. You could also paint the exposed board before you attach the scrap or cut the recess just a hair larger, with no margin.

Next time, I'll walk to Blick. I wish all problems were this easy to fix. 

P.S. And thanks again for reading! I found the Gelly-roll pen as I was putting together this post. 

*If you want to join me in my obsession watching the Golden Gate Audubon Society Osprey webcam, Richmond (Richie), the male Osprey has been bringing sticks and defending the nest in anticipation of the return of a mate. He is often around in the early (Pacific Time) morning and late afternoons. If Rosie makes it back from South America, she should be arriving around the first week of March. Eggs usually laid beginning of April. Last year, the chicks hatched around Mother's Day in May. The Live Chatters are always happy to fill you in on the details!


Roberta Warshaw said…
I don't know too many other artists who can walk to Blick but I can as well......It is all too tempting! Whenever I tell my husband I am going for a walk, he says "have fun at Dick Blick!"
Alisa said…
hahahaha! big smile and a laugh, here.