Friday, September 27, 2013

On my Bookshelf

Today's book has to be one of my favorite bookbinding books and to me is the gold standard of how craft books should be designed. I must first say that I might be a little biased because this is one of my favorite authors that deals with bookbinding and journaling--Gwen Diehn. I have every book of hers that deals with these topics. Today's book is Real Life Journals--Designing and Using Handmade Books.

What is very special about this book is the way it is laid out. It is the perfect combination of techniques, illustrations, explanations, and examples. The book is divided into six chapters: Design Inventory, The Basics, Binding Instructions (putting the pages together), Cover Instructions (how to add the covers to your bound pages), and Journals Past and Present.

The Instructions and details are well done and illustrated. She includes two mini-booklets titled Choose Your Own Bookbinding Adventure and Bookbinding Essentials. What makes the book most successful, though, are the chapters associated with actual journals that she has designed.

In Chapter Two, she presents journals that she has made for clients. The beauty of this section is that she actually revisits the clients after they have had time to work in their new journal to see what worked and what didn't. I think that this is a brilliant idea. I have often wondered if my clients liked their handmade books after receiving the book. Did you like the covers, were the bindings too tight, did it lay flat enough for your needs, did it splay open when you were finished adding material to it, etc. It was beautiful for her to analyze the books and talk with the clients after they used it.

Another very successful chapter is Chapter Six: Journals Past and Present. The chapter presents profiles of people from all walks of life who journal and they discuss the process of journaling and talk about actual pages from their journals. The chapter ends with a gallery of journal pages.

Although I am a little biased, this book is very, very, very, very (yes that is a fourth very) recommended for anyone interested in bookbinding, journaling, scrapbooking, paper arts, and creativity--that's right, recommended for EVERYONE.

Full Disclosure: Neither Amazon., the author, nor artists have provided any compensation for this review. This book was purchased online without a personal perusal before purchase.

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