25 Students, 4 Journals, 2.5 Hours!

20 page pamphlet I put together of
the 4 Journal Techniques being taught
4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″
I’m nothing if not optimistic.  Here’s what happened.  A few weeks ago the Administration of a community arts center asked one of our local book arts teachers if she would teach a one day journal making class the first day of their Teen Artists Camp. She couldn’t and put out the word to see if someone else was available.  Heck, I wasn’t doing anything – I sent some pictures of my books along with ideas for the class and was selected (of course I could have been the only responder 😉 – any port in a storm my Mom used to say).

I met with the Administrator and learned more.  The Teen Artist Camp is a four week, daily, intense arts camp for teens.  To gain a spot in this camp the teen had to submit a portfolio, resume and attend an interview to be selected – these kids are serious!   

Design Ideas:  The Administrator selected four books she liked – asking me if I thought the teens could make four similar journals in 2.5 hours.  She assured me these were serious art students – I said “Heck Yea” – with a little pre-prep.

Here’s where I – and it WAS all me – went into overdrive.  I was given 5 pads of 80# 14 x 17 drawing paper they had on hand and a budget.  That was my jumping off point.  From there any consideration I had in designing the journals centered around them being large enough to warrant opening and drawing in, easy enough for them to be made in the allotted time, must contain basic book making skills and be within budget.

I didn’t want to do too much of their work (I know what it feels like to walk away from a class wondering if what you made is more yours than the teachers).  For the most part (because of work space and time) I prepared the books to the point they would learn scoring, folding, sewing and gluing.

If I did not own a Japanese Screw Punch and a Genesis trimmer , I promise you, my goose would have been cooked on day one of prep work!

This is what I came up with – all are at least 7″ x 8″ when closed and  7″ x 11.5″ when open:

While the kids settle down from lunch and get used to me speaking and teaching we’re starting out with…

Journal #1 – Rubber Band Bound (my favorite):  5 sheets ea plus cover – Scoring, folding, cutting.  The cover is made so it has outer pockets and folds closed – to protect the journal pages.  When open each page gives 14″ of drawing room AND they can easily replace or add pages.

Journal closed – back cover extends
around and into the front cover.
Journal Open
Journal #2 – Pamphlet Stitch:  6 sheets ea plus cover – Scoring, folding, punching holes, sewing.  The covers are colorful Rail Road board (light color so any drawing done can be seen) .  Again, they have 14″ of drawing space when open.
Purple-Accordion, Yellow-Pamphlet Stitch

Box containing prepared material for the
pamphlet stitch and accordion books.

Journal #3 – Stab Binding:  20 sheets ea plus cover – Folding, sewing (scoring and holes were pre-punched due to the number required).  They have a choice of color for the cover.  The top cover slides under the sewn edge keeping the sheets protected.  The sheets fold open for a drawing space of 11.5 inches.

Assembled book – not sewn.  Each page opens
out for a larger drawing space.  The bag to the left
contains string for sewing, needles and Popsicle
sticks sanded to a medium point to use as bone folders.
Prepped books divided by fives so I
could keep track.  The book on the left is a demo
I made using the cover of the paper pad, adding
previous art work and papers.

Journal #4 – Accordion:  3 sheets of 7″ x 14″ paper glued together and folded to make the accordion, the cover is Lokta handmade paper (doesn’t have a grain) – use of corner jig (I made one for each of them to assist in accurate corners) gluing and assembly.  I left this messiest and most likely to go wonky journal for last.

Last:  I put together a small booklet outlining the materials and technique for each book in the class as well as suggested book and Internet resources.


It’s taken a week of prep but it’s been worth it.  Class is Monday afternoon.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I realize this ain’t nothin compared to the amount of work and number of students our professional teachers handle every day.  But for me – I might as well be in hiking boots on my way up Mount Kilimanjaro (some day I’ll tell you about my boot insurance).