Loose-Leaf Journal Pages Holder

The idea of what constitutes a book has always fascinated me. Now that I’m doing loose-leaf journal pages, the ease of work has made me think of books in a new way. For a long time, I had trouble thinking of wire-bound journals as real books. Then I realized that wire-bound books allowed for more freedom than bound books, and did both.

Earth-rise from Mars. Poured acrylic on Archest Cover and watercolor pencils on  watercolor paper

Earth-rise from Mars. Poured acrylic on Arches Cover and watercolor pencils on watercolor paper

Working on loose-leaf pages allows you to work on several at once, without having to put wax paper between bound pages. You can also turn the page to keep the angle right, without working on a pile of other pages. And the binding becomes a metaphor for the attachment you have to the pages and how much you use them. You bind the books with attention.

Yes, loose-leaf pages could go out of order, but that’s why you put dates on them. And then you can put them in any order–all your red pages, all the collages, in date order, just happy pages, just serious ones. It’s a wonderful freedom.

So this weekend, I indulged in two of my favorite studio pursuits: poured acrylics and making covers for journal page collections. I’d already made the Monsoon Papers last week, conveniently enough. You’d almost think I planned these things.

Poured acrylic and paper mosaic. © Quinn McDonald, 2013. All rights reserved.

Poured acrylic and paper mosaic. © Quinn McDonald, 2013. All rights reserved.

Poured acrylics are simple. Or complicated if you want. I push mine a little harder. First I put down some PVA glue  (on deli or freezer paper) that dries clear, then instead of acrlyics, I use inks and acrylic glaze, stir them with the back of a paintbrush (or Starbucks stirrer, being careful not to lick the stirrer, again), and let it dry. Here in Phoenix that takes a day or so. Your results may well take a week. Once dry, you peel them off and put them on journal pages.

I like the effect of a paper mosaic with its rigid edges softened by a poured acrylic in the same colors.

Then, the folder to keep them in. Monsoon Papers, again, because it can look like leather or vintage metal. I’ve been pleased with the new technique that gives really deep, rich colors.

Here’s the folder front. I decided to sew this one and use variegated thread.

Monsoon papers, machine sewing. Folder,  © Quinn McDonald

Monsoon papers, machine sewing. Folder, © Quinn McDonald

Here’s the folder open:

Folder, open showing loose-leaf journal pages.

Folder, open showing loose-leaf journal pages.

The folder holds about a dozen loose-leaf pages sewn this way. It can easily be made to hold more by adding a gusset.

And finally, the back:

Back of folder

Back of folder

I made another one with hand-stitching, and a slightly different closure. I love the effect of a group of them. And the fact that I can use them to carry the pages around without bending the corners.

-Quinn McDonald is working on upcoming workshops. She’s solving problems as she goes along.


17 thoughts on “Loose-Leaf Journal Pages Holder

  1. What a greta idea – loose leaf pages in a beautiful folder. I am not sure what monsoon papers are but will now investigate. Pouring acrylics – another new thing for me. Thank you for posting Quinn.

  2. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been lacking in all creative inspiration for some time now this post has motivated me beyond belief! The gesso is out, canvas is drying between coats, book pages have been set aside to dry and I’m ready to slice up some wax paper to try the glue and paint patterns on it. Since I want them to dry sooner rather than later, I suspect I’ll chase down my old blow dryer which just might create some interesting patterns on its own. Thank you for helping me get my spirit back; I’ve missed it so much! Does it say something about me that I’m rereading what I’ve written, fearing that my old English teacher will rise from her grave and rap me on my wrists for spelling mistakes, grammar errors and not saying things concisely? LOL

  3. Delicious colours Quinn. I like the idea of loose pages held in a folder rather than bound as it would allow the viewer to take everything out and look at a sequence. I’m using a spiral bound journal and don’t really like it as I get paint in the binding and the wire interrupts a spread. As for pages in order . . . I have to date things as I bounce around all over the place depending what prepared background I feel like using.
    I definitely live up to my childhood nickname of Mucker sometimes, mucking around here and there with whatever takes my fancy, enjoying variety . . . it’s fun.

    • At first I panicked about the loose leaf pages, but oh the joy of working at will–starting two pages, and then letting them dry while I experiment with a third, it doesn’t work, and I cut it up for the fourth page.

  4. Quinn – the Monsoon paper holders are wonderful and the poured acrylic mosaic is fascinating- I didn’t quite follow that exactly, but I love the way it looks. Have you tried the technique you use for the Monsoon papers on fabric? If you have do you get the same results? It would be really cool if you did.

    • Pat, I’ve always used paper–Arches Velin. But it’s 100 percent cotton, so I’m guessing I could try it on fabric as well. I think the results would be different because the paper is crumpled first and that doesn’t quite work the same way with fabric. But a half yard of muslin should give me the answer next time I make Monsoon Papers!

    • Thanks, Bo. I’m particularly pleased because I know you have excellent book-making skills and good taste! These alternative folders create a special challenge and I’m loving it!

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