art book reviews by Aisling D'Art

Making & Keeping Creative Journals

book review © 2005 Aisling D'Art
Making & Keeping Creative Journals by Suzanne Tourtillott is a visually inspiring book worth borrowing from your public library.

This book offers many projects for experienced artists who want to explore bookbinding. The book itself is very artistic. The illustrations include photographs suggesting remarkably creative directions for handmade books and journals.

There are also many formal and informal sketches showing how to cut art paper to create the pages, as well as many intricate, artistic binding techniques.

The book was an ambitious project and includes work by many respected paper artists including Gwen Diehn. However, unless you already have experience with bookbinding, most of these projects may be too difficult, even for an intermediate level artist.

I purchased this book and enjoyed it considerably before discovering other, more comprehensive books that better suit my approach to handmade books and journals. However, my work is more related to the paper than to the binding, per se.

If you already have confidence with bookbinding and want to explore creative options, this book offers more complex bindings than the average book in this field. You might have to buy several other books to get the same amount of technical instruction--and the variety of bindings--that are in this one book.

Also, the projects involve more complex signatures and embellishments than many books about handmade journals.

Serious book artists may consider this a must-own reference. If your public library doesn't own a copy of this book, it would be a good purchase to recommend. However, beginning book artists and many who are interested in keeping an illustrated journal will enjoy browsing this book and perhaps reading it, but there are better books to buy first.

PROS: Creative use of unusual materials in mixed media art journals, and a wide range of bookbinding techniques used original projects. This book provides a very professional and archival approach to making journals by hand.

CONS: Supply lists are often lengthy and include professional grade materials. Bindings are complex and illustrations may be confusing for beginners.

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For more book reviews, see my Independent Book & Product Reviews for Artists
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