Saturday, March 3, 2012

Accordion Journal Experiment

First page in the newly made journal. 
Sketch using Sharpie pen and Grumbacher watercolor.
I have been making accordion style journals this winter to use in an exchange project with my students and yesterday after school I taught several students some bookbinding basics and an accordion journal is what we made.  The after school binding session was planned on the fly so we had to make do with some of our binding supplies but I was able to find nearly everything we needed in my classroom.  We used mostly recycled materials including scrap matt board as covers and we painted old mailing envelopes (the large tyvek type) as decorative papers.  One element that was not recycled was the paper for inside the journal, we used Canson Edition paper, which is a paper I have never used before.  
Now it was a risk on my part to go on a paper run to JoAnn's and I knew that when I went but I was in a rush and it was the closest shop that might have art paper, so off I went.  Of course they did not carry any paper that I had used before with any sort of success in an accordion so I was going to have to experiment with a new unknown paper while teaching a book structure and hope for the best.
When I was there shopping for paper I had three important qualities I was looking for 1) sturdy smooth paper that could be used for both pen and watercolor sketching and hold up; 2) a paper that was going to take a fold with the grain and not crack as well as hold up in an accordion structure; 3) a 22x30 sheet grained long so I could use all the measurements from a book I have made before and not have to do new book making math on the fly as well, and the Edition paper seemed to meet all of these qualities best so it got purchased and used without being tested first.  
I am happy to say the paper risk paid off.  The paper took folds well with no cracking ( I am still watching for them as the book wears in) and after using the first pages this afternoon to sketch it seems like a pretty good paper for both pen and watercolor.  I do not think I have just found my new most favorite paper but it works well and I am happy for that because things could have gone terribly wrong considering the circumstances surrounding my using this paper for this book in the first place.  
A couple of notes on the paper itself.  It is a paper made for printing so it does take a while for the washes to dry.  I noticed that even my pen lines took a bit to dry and I had some pen bleed as I began to paint in my orange, although after finishing the color it is not noticeable in the least.  It is buckling a little bit, not badly like some papers but know that after applying watercolor the page is not perfectly flat anymore.  I intend to continue using this little book as my journal and I will repost any new findings about the paper as they become evident.
My students were happy to learn how to make their own books and excited to try them out at home once the glue dried.  And I am happy that the paper worked so their experience making a book was a good one and I am really relieved that it works for pen and watercolor, being that is what many of them were hoping to use the book for in the first place.
 Journal closed, showing the painted
cover and elastic strap to keep the journal closed. I used watered down acrylic paint
and a scrap of matt board to make the design while the paint was still wet.

 Two more views of the journal standing and open on the table.
The first page with the blood orange sketch from the top 
of the post is just peeking out.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for wonderful info, Suzan. The instruction really inspires me to try to make my own accordion sketchbook.