A More Complicated Art Journal

Dear Liza,

I love learning how to make new things! Auntie Bridget gave me a great book called ”Making Books by Hand” by Mary McCarthy and Phillip Manna which had lots of new ways to make books. At first they all seemed really hard, but the more I looked at them, I thought, “I bet I can do that.”

I have been collecting thin, stiff cardboard to use for the covers, and this week I started. First, I cut two pieces each for the front and back covers. Yes, two pieces each.

This type of book is called a “fixed spine”. Not fixed as in ‘repaired’, but as in ’not moving’. After cutting fabric for the spine and paper for the cover, I spread glue on the front cover pieces.

I used a nice nubbly blue fabric and a Portland map for the covers of the book. The gap between the two pieces, when covered with fabric, makes a hinge that allows the spine to be fixed and the cover to open.

As with most book covers, you cut the fabric or paper about half an inch bigger, so it can fold under so no rough edges show.

As I look at the pictures, I see that I am about one-sixteenth of an inch off with lining up my cover pieces. I will go ahead and see what happens.

I glued the cover, flipped it over, and glued down the edges on the inside of the cover. Here is how the hinge works:

Once the outside was covered and tucked, I carefully cut more pieces of the map, to be the inside of the front and back covers.

And, with some pressing, the covers will be ready for the next step!

So, the covers are now dry and ready to use, and I need to fill them up. Auntie Bridgett took me to a wonderful art shop called “I’ve Been Framed” down off Powell Boulevard. What makes it special is that it sells both new and used supplies. You can buy someone’s used art canvas for a few dollars, sand it down, and have some art practice for almost nothing.

Anyway, we found heavy paper for the pages of my book and a few packets of watercolor paper for the art I will be putting on the pages. We also found some thin leather twine, and a hole punching awl, for putting the whole thing together.

I will tell you about the rest if the book when I get it done.


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

4 thoughts on “A More Complicated Art Journal”

  1. I have been following your posts faithfully and enjoying each step. However waaaaay to much for me to comment on. Know that I am still here and lovin’ your activities, however I will not attempt to keep up with them. Only enjoy the results. Hugs, PeeVee


    1. Pee Vee – You could join our Zoom art and do some of these… check us out on Ruth Inman Art facebook page or RuthInmanArt.com on the Workshops page! We did a concertina book not too long ago, maybe Judy will post pictures of hers…


  2. There is no spine as you are thinking of it. Not one going down the back. The smaller pieces of the front and back are hinged with fabric. They will be stitched together, with the pages in between, once all the pages are done. Stay tuned!


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