A Balancing Act

I love journals and writing in them, so naturally they are a favorite thing for me to make as gift.  I love selecting the paper, the cover  and putting the book together.  It makes me smile that binding these journals is a perfect use for the warp ends that would otherwise be waste when you are weaving with linen.

At the art gallery, we have had a number of requests for journals with art work on the cover, so I made a small one.  Like many other handmade things, the materials are not the expensive part, it is the time that goes into them that is valuable.  As a result the cost of this journal is more than I would want to pay for a journal. I did some research and my price was on par with  most of the handmade journals.

The feedback so far is that lots of people pick it up, look at the price and  then set it back down, and then ask if we have any other journals.  I have been playing with the idea of having  a local printer do the labor for me.  They can print out the image and bind it in several different formats, all at a price that I would pay for a journal, but it no longer has the beauty of the hand bound binding and instead of a piece of original art on the cover, it is a print.  It is a balancing act, the balance between commercial and art.  Today’s art creative effort is for the test journal,  to see if I can achieve a balance that I am happy with.   I may have them bound with the background paper as the cover and then either cut the cover into a mat for a print, or attach a matted print.

Iris study Iris journal cover seamlessiris

I will be adding these seamless background textures to my flickr photo stream under a creative commons licence.


10 thoughts on “A Balancing Act

  1. Hi Rennata!
    Just yesterday i purchased a journal. I’ve been wanting to start a “proper” one. Of course I have several but mainly for sketching and practicing. Now I need to decorate the cover, thanks for the inspiration!

  2. That is a really frustrating connundrum, Rennata. I personally would prefer the hand-bound, higher quality journal that is already an art piece. But being relatively tight with money at the moment and knowing I might play with the journal in an irreverent way, I probably would actually buy the less expensive version. I typically buy mine from a bookstore or art store, though, not at the art gallery. (I wonder if the location/market audience has anything to do with the lack of purchasers so far?)

    I’m trying to support artists whenever I can for materials I would already be buying, though. It’s generally more expensive, but oh, so satisfying. Journals would seem to fall into this category. Good luck with your experiments to find a method of production that works for you!

    1. I think part of the reason we get people looking at the gallery is that there is not a bookstore or a art store in our city. That is a really sad statement until you realize that we live about 20 minutes from one of the largest malls on the Eastern sea coast with a huge Barnes and Nobles and a huge Borders.
      I may have to teach classes on how to make the hand bound journals. .

  3. It’s fun to read about your creative product development! Seems like you know your target market and demographic. I look forward to seeing your creative solutions.

  4. I agree that finding the right balance is crucial in being able to feel good about what you produce. I would buy the handbound journal with original art. Saying that though, maybe a good balance would be to have a few handmade from scratch journals for the discerning consumer (who had money:) and then more of the affordable ones available.
    Thanks for your comment on my blog, too!

  5. Oh, I agree it’s definitely a balancing act and difficult to resolve. With anything handmade and art in general, it’s going to cost more than the mass manufactured stuff. I understand some folks don’t have a choice, they have to go for the cost-effective choice. I think you just have to offer both options to stay in business but also true to your muse…because I will save up and spend for something I really want, but I still have to buy other inexpensive items for necessity!

  6. I love making my own journals – and I appreciate all the effort and time when I see the hand made journals. It is difficult to balance that at your gallery. Sounds like you are on the right track.

    thanks for the visit to my blog : )

  7. Thank you Tami and Linda.

    I will think of everyone’s supportive words as I make the handmade ones. I am going to have to keep looking on the bound ones, as I am not happy with some aspects of the bound ones.

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