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