The Red Journal

Oh, The Red Journal, as it is now ‘officially’ known.  The cover is all painted canvas, with at least twenty layers of acrylic paint, acrylic inks, and water, until I finally found that balance my heart was seeking.


The red journal is a hand-made, hand-bound journal, filled with hand-made Nepalese papers.  The binding is a simple pamphlet stitch. At this point, there is no closure–nor will there be until I complete the journal, most likely.  That seems to be how I am running things at the moment.

I have no idea why when the Stardust journal was finished I picked up this journal and had to prepare it t be worked in.  I already have a hand-bound journal, the butterfly coptic (as I call it) that I have been working in.  And yet…as soon as that itch struck, out came this journal (one of many made about the same time and just sitting there in a stack waiting to be used at some point in my life).


Now, here this red journal is, calling to me.  Ever since the varnish (a high gloss–what was I thinking?) dried on this thing, I have had it in my hand, flipping page after page.  Stroking the paper.  Pondering how to work the textures, how to work the colors, how to maintain the integrity of these gorgeous papers–while still allowing myself work through what I need to work through and use these papers as the backgrounds for art journal spreads.


What am I going to do with this journal?  How am I going to work in this journal?  What is the intention behind this journal?

My intention right now is to stop doing things the way I have been taught and go back to before I knew what “art journalling” was–when I doodled and pasted and collaged and sketched and all sorts of things.

My intention is to — stop relying on pretty.  Stop trying to make everything pretty.  Stop trying to make everything fit into the molds I have been taught to create.  And this while trying not to cover up the whole pages, trying to keep some of that gorgeous hand-made Nepalese paper visible.

How do I work on this paper?  My intention is to seal the pages before beginning to work on them.  To prep the pages.  I can’t use gesso.  I can’t use any ground that adds color.  That defeats the purpose of keeping the colors, patterns and textures of these papers intact.  I don’t want to use gel medium, at least not on every page, because not all the mediums I like to use respond well to it.  I am starting my first spread using the clear gesso that I made.  The one after this, I think I will try just glue-all and see how that does.  I do have gel medium and I will use that if the glue-all fails me.  The clear gesso on the initial spread–it dulled the gold paint on the paper.  Now the gold isn’t reflective or shiny anymore.  I used the wrong glue when I made this stuff and depending on how heavily I put it down on the page, there is a slight haze to it.  Which I don’t mind–except when metallics are no longer metallic.  And this is the first time this has happened–the first time I used it on metallic anything.


I am already loving this journal.  To help seal the very front page and the very back page to the canvas–even though I had already glued the pages themselves down to the inner canvas, I used some decorative tape, with an airmail type pattern, with lots of travel stuff on it, just on the edges.  I had to glue it down to make it stay.  The tape stuck down to the paper, but not really all that well to the canvas.  Regular glue took care of that.  I love that the tape is journey tape.  That it starts on the very first page and ends on the very last page.  This journal is a journey.  All my journals are journeys, but this one is a seriously intentional one, one I am aware of, one I wish to have more control over myself.



I then took three other decorative tapes.  One I used on all the centers between signatures.  Then, I alternated the other two tapes on the centers of each signature, where the binding thread sits.  All the other centers of spreads I left alone.  I’ll see what wants to happen to them and with them as I come to them.

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I have all of this ready.  I have all of this done.  I am not certain on how to keep the integrity of the background page, but I will find a way, somehow.


I wonder…what is this journal going to do to me?  Upon what journey am I embarking?  What am I going to learn?  What am I going to release?  What am I going to embrace?  Where will I be once I come to the end of the journey with this journal?  I wonder.