March 30, 2009

Native Wood Artist Journals

My wooden artist journals are made of native wood harvested from my father's farm in Missouri. I grew up with woodworkers. My father is a cabinet and furniture maker, his older brother is a wood turner who makes the most beautiful wooden bowls.

I grew up hearing the sound of the saws as my father worked and the smell of fresh cut wood. This is why my favorite scents are woody Sandlewood and Cedar.


Some of the wooden journals I personalize with a hammered copper or brass plate with the couples names or whatever sentiment they choose for their cover.

The journal above features a labradorite stone that I imported from South Africa. It took three months to receive my stones once they were ordered. But, when they arrived it was a special day for me as I unwrapped each one and thought it was even more beautiful than the one before. They are perfect for the journals the natural gemstones seem to go well with the wood.

The metalwork plates are secured in place with tiny artisan nails. A screw seemed to finished some how - too uniform. Each nail is slightly different giving them character and interest.

I am working on another batch of journals that will feature metalwork plates with JOURNEY, DREAM, BLESSINGS, etc. for the covers.
This oak journal with a labradorite in the cover sparks blues and greens in the light. The honey color of the oak seems to bring out more green in the labradorite stones.

Most of the journals I have sold lately will be used to contain wedding photos. One such couple will be using their journal for polaroid photos that will be taken of the guests as they arrive for the wedding where they will sign in under their photo creating a very unique guest book. What a great idea! Now, this guest book will be kept and treasure for generations, unlike traditional guest books with handwritten names.

Another couple from California will be using their wooden journal for wedding photos that they will secure in place with photo corners - like vintage photo albums. I love this idea, as I have never liked the photo albums from Hallmark, etc. They are too boring and just not special enough for wedding photos.

I think the journals would also be nice for 25th and 50th Wedding Anniversaries to hold photos of the couple together over the years or to just hold the photos from their special day. A nice gift for a graduate to commemorate their special day, etc.
I always use handcrafted papers for each section of the books adding a nice organic feel to the pages that are bound in individual little booklets. Can you tell that I am in to details?
The books are bound using the Ethiopean coping method with waxed linen from Belfast, Ireland in natural tones of brown, black, rust and green. Each section contains 10-12 pages each, making the final count around 75 - 100 pages.

A finished group of artist journals that have all found new homes and are lovingly cared for by their new owners.

It's nice to know that my journals will be around for a very long time for future generations to enjoy and beautiful enough for your coffee table. It's also nice to know the wood from the trees have become something very special.
Another type of handcrafted paper for the journals in chocolate and metallic gold.
A rough cut piece of red cedar just before sliding into the planer.

The whole process begins with a trip to my Dad's wood shed where we select pieces of wood for the journal. Then they are planed in my work shop, run through the table saw to trim the edges square. My Dad has an entire barn filled with various types of wood that he has harvested over the years from the family farm. Whenever we need wood for a project, Dad takes us out to the barn to select the pieces. I think he is pleased that his children enjoy woodworking, too.

Once the wood is selected, I then look at the wood and maximize every possible inch of the wood so that there is as little waste as possible. I just can't bear to throw pieces of wood away, it's so beautiful and has taken years to grow into a tree large enough for boards to be made from the wood.

Once they are marked for cutting, they are cut to size with the chop saw. Then it is off to the router where the edges are made smooth and rounded. The holes are drilled down the side with a drill and then they are sanded smooth.

The wood is sealed and protected with a natural stain so that the true color of the wood shines through - it's like magic how the wood glows after being hand rubbed and sealed.
More journals in process made from red oak, oak, maple, red cedar, and black walnut - this is my latest batch of journals.

They are now ready for acid free artist grade paper that I hand cut to fit each journal individually. My husband often says that it would be easier to cut the journals to fit the paper. Even though he is right, I just can't do it. I just can't bear to waste the wood and I like the varying shapes and sizes that result from cutting the wood in a conservation method.

It's a long, painstaking process that I enjoy. It's a labor of love for certain and I am already thinking of the next batch of journals that I am dreaming of creating.

1 comment:

Lee W - The Way I See It said...

Lovely post- all of the flowers, and the up-to-date house photos!