I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to stitch all my gelli printed pages together into a little art journal. So, at the weekend, I finally sat down to make my first journal. So I took out my little box of bookbinding tools which I had bought in London last year, and started with the first step - folding all the sheets in half with the help of a bone folder.
The next step was to put the sheets together into signatures, and then punch holes through all of them using a hole-punching tool (I used my lovely awl with its smooth and shiny wood handle).
I decided to use this beautiful red waxed thread instead of the simple white one. I just hoped that it would be long enough, as it was already cut.
I started with my stitching following the instructions from an online course I had taken last year. But the instructions were for three holes, and as I had punched four holes into my sheets, this was just too confusing to start with. So I got out my three books on making books. One of them didn't have the coptic stitch I wanted, and with the other two, I just couldn't make head or tail of it. I really like the design of Esther K. Smith's How to Make Books, but I gave up on the instructions already after step 2. So I googled stitching techniques for a video tutorial I would understand. This one seemed quite useful, but it started with attaching the cover to the first signature, and as I didn't have a cover, I just couldn't figure out the technique without one. At the end, this instruction was the one that worked for me.
When I bought my bookbinding basic tools last year, I bought both ordinary straight needles and curved needles. I had started stitching my journal with a stright needle, as the curved ones looked a bit scary, but some time after the second or third signature, I began to realise the advantage of a curved needle. It made the looping bit much easier, but in general still felt very akward to use.
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure if I did it the right way, but at the end, I had stitched all my signatures together, and although I hadn't tightened the thread evenly, it was all holding together and not looking too bad.
What I like about this stitch is that the journal lies flat, which makes working in it much easier, especially if you want to paint in it.
I decided to add a cover to my book, a wrap-around one, using the sheet of paper I had used to clean my roller on while doing the printing. I just improvised, and stitched it on somehow. It's not quite straight, and I'm not sure if I will keep it on.
So here's my finished little journal. I'm not quite sure yet what I'll be using it for. Not for painting, but maybe for noting down quotations and special memories and such. And I'll definitely be making more journals.