Making your own journals can bring up a lot of fear is you are a perfectionist, but it doesn’t need it to be. Put aside your perfectionist tendencies, decide to make journals as an experiment and fill them with content that delights you, and a lot of the fear drops away.
The cover of Mutant 3 is watercolor paper on which I wrote in white grease pencil (also called china marker and tile marker). I wrote the phrase from one of Wendell Berry’s poems: “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.” After I wrote it, I dropped brown and black ink on the page, lifted the page to let it run, and spritzed it with distilled water to allow it to soak into the watercolor paper cover.
When I was finished, the ink, which saturated the paper, would run when wet. I painted the cover with Golden’s Matte Medium to seal it and give the paper a little more strength.
For the inside, I used Arches Text Wove, and finished it with a pamphlet stitch. There is an excellent tutorial on pamphlet stitch on Sarah Nielsen’s website if you want to know how it’s done.
This journal is going to be on the acacia tree–a very specialized nature journal on a tree that thrives in Arizona and produces gum arabic. I love the twisted way the trees look, and how the trunks have marks on them that show the direction of their twist to help artists draw them more easily. OK, maybe that’s not why they have the marks, but they are wonderful to look at.
You can see Mutants 1 and 2 here.
—Quinn McDonald is a writer and journal-keeper. She is also a life- and creativity coach for people who are coping with change or re-inventing themselves.