No, I didn’t make this journal. My beloved and partner, Kris, did.
Yep. He’s my star student. Kris has been binding books and journals since 2000, when we moved in together and I first taught him how. What Kris’s books lack in finesse, they make up for in monumental singularity. While I work mainly with canvas, fabric, leather, paper, board, and make small-to-medium-sized journals, Kris has tackled books with carved or inlaid hardwoods, copper plates, and makes books so big (and heavy) that some of his personal journals have their own special lay-me-down-here spaces on the shelves.
Since we came to Australia, Kris hasn’t made many journals—I am slowly selling off what is left of the journals with wooden covers that he made back in El Nido, Palawan (plus a few Australian jarrah ones that he made when we first arrived) in my etsy and madeit shops—though he has been doing more bookbinding than ever: he’s written and self-published three non-fiction books since 2007, and when he couldn’t find a local printer who could do the stitched binding by machine (Smythe sewing) for the second editions, he did all the binding himself, by hand…rather than settle for “perfect binding”, which basically just sets the cut edges of a book in glue (like they do for paperbacks), so that the book falls apart after a couple of readings.
So far Kris has hand-bound 650 copies of his books Monsoon Dervish, With Mermaid…, and Bicycle Dreaming. To keep the price down, he whittled the binding process to its absolute essentials, and there isn’t a touch of fancy or luxe in his printed non-fiction, travel/autobiographical works.
The other day, though, he started work on this lovely journal. The fretwork leather panel on the front of this journal was salvaged from a dilapidated little Indian suitcase that he found languishing at the Darwin dump shop. He punched and stitched the panel to some tan leather that I had on hand using linen thread. The book measures 13″ x 13″ x 1 1/4″ (330 mm. sq., about 35 mm thick) and has endpapers of old sailing charts for the Western part of Bohol Sea and Cebu Strait (Philippines).
I really, really, really like this journal! I think I told him a dozen times, today…but he won’t let me have it. *chagrined* He’s trying to raise money to go sailing later this year, so he hopes to sell this as a posh sailing log book to one of the swanky yachties around Darwin Harbour. *sigh* And I am too poor to afford my student’s work!
At least I was allowed to take some good pictures of it, and will have to content myself with gazing at these when the real thing is gone.