Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Custom Piece: The Deer Skin Journal

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine asked me if I could make a journal out of deer skin. “Why not?” I said, thinking it would be similar to leather, but thinner and maybe more supple. When I looked inside the bag she gave me several weeks later, I found myself to be holding a bag full of the scraps of home-cured, fur-still-on deer skin that were left after the hunter had made a vest out of the skin.

I’ve spent the time since then looking at other books, journals, etc., trying to get an idea of what to do with the mismatched scraps. On Sunday, I finally bucked down, pulled out the scraps and some bits of matching leather I already had, measured it, turned it upside-down, wrapped it around a text block, photographed it, and generally brainstormed. What came out of it was a rather attractive and original journal that perfectly fit one of the ~5”x7” text blocks I had already put together.
I used two pieces of the skin that matched fairly well, one for the front and one for the back, and then used a piece of supple light brown leather for the spine.

I sewed the headbands by hand, which I’ve decided is one of my favorite things about binding, and it’s especially cool because it’ll keep this journal strongly together.

The paper I used for the end pages and flyleaves is the same map paper I used to make my friend’s journal for Christmas. I do love it, but it’s a little too weak for the job of end pages, really. It folds and buckles, but that's actually kind of cool too because it makes the paper look even older.

I’m really pleased with the way the journal turned out in the end. Just a couple of final touch-ups to make sure that fur is going to stay where I put it, and it’ll be ready for its role as wedding gift to the hunter groom. :)