Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One Month In

Large Purple Journal
 July was a very productive month for me.  I started work in my studio on July 3rd and completed 14 journals during the month.  Having my first order and sale were highlights, but my goals for the first month were broader than that.  I wanted to develop the binding style I would be using for my journals, as well as the sizes I would be carrying.  With a bit of trial and error I'm now feeling very comfortable with the binding style of my journals.  It's a coptic style that lies flat when open and I'm confident it is sturdy.   I've also pictured today each of the sizes I'll be making.  The large journal is 7"x10" and is an excellent size as a home journal.  The two smaller sizes are better as daily companions. 
Medium Teal & Purple Journal
The medium journal is 6"x 8½" and can easily be carried is satchel or bookbag.

 Small Teal & Purple Journal
The small journal is a wonderful purse-size at 5"x7".

I will also be making some linen pouches that will hold both the small and medium size journals.  This way they will be able to travel easily without getting worn. 

In addition to making the binding and size decisions in July, I also built up enough stock so that I feel ready to take samples to stores and open an Etsy shop.  There have been a number of expenses to get this project launched, but I need to make sure that there will be some revenue coming in to keep things going.  Making sure that happens is my primary goal for August.  I've already contacted a couple of places in and around Philly and I'm looking forward to presenting my books to them in the coming weeks.  I've also done some work on my Etsy shop, so that it should be up and running within the week as well.

First on my list of items I would like to purchase for the business when revenues start coming in is a new camera.  I don't want anything too fancy, but surely I can do better than the fuzzy effects I'm getting with my current camera.

Thanks for taking the time to check in with my new endeavor and I'd love to hear any advise possible for my new business, or perhaps camera recommendations. 

Listening to in the Studio - José Gonzalez

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sand Artist Jim Denevan

So here's an artist after my own heart with his spiral sand art.  I love the idea of people engaging with the piece. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Out in the World

Engaged Pair
For my second weekend in the studio I had the order from my co-worker to complete.  He was really happy with them and my books are out in the world.  Yeah!!

Listening to in the Studio:  Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett

Friday, July 8, 2011


First Handbound Journal

Last weekend was my first in the new studio.  It had it's challenges.  It took me a few covers to really get the feeling for the paste and paper again.  The details of hand-stitching also elluded me until I got one book under my belt.  But all and all the time was very rewarding and with a couple of books completed the hunger to return to the studio this coming Sunday is strong.

Above is the first completed book I made. At a petite 4 3/4"X6 1/2", it's just the right size for my purse.  I plan to make a small linen pouch for it so that it doesn't get too banged up.  I couldn't resist the paper with one of my favorite color combinations (and, oh yeah, all those spirals). 

I definitely wasn't the only one who liked the paper.  As I showed the book to co-workers everyone complemented the paper.  One person liked it so much he ordered two, one for himself and one for his new finance.  You heard right... I have my first order and first sale!!!!  Now I really can't wait to get to the studio on Sunday.  I could never have imagined that I would sell two books in the first month, let alone the first week of my new biz.  And the books will be used to record their thoughts and reflections during their engagement...something to look back on over the years.  Just the sort of books I want to be making. 

Still feeling that the universe is supporting me in this endeavor. 

Listening to in the studio:  The Kite Runner

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thank you, thank you, thank you

thankyou by janet_p
thankyou, a photo by janet_p on Flickr.
As my first post here indicated, starting this new endeavor is a dream come true. As such there are more than a few thank you-s that need be acknowledged already. First and foremost I need to thank Bridget (my new studio-mate). She has opened up her studio and her business experience to me in a completely unselfish way. Undoubtedly she's taking a risk, but again and again she has openly answered the questions I've asked, directed me to suppliers and offered me her years of bookbinding experience. Without her, none of this exciting new adventure would be possible.

Secondly I need to thank my family. They are very knowledgeable of my whims... and yet have been nothing but supportive of my decision to take on this new challenge. They've listened and offered advice. All this support has made starting this new business a little less scary.

I also want to thank my friends and co-workers who've also listened and been encouraging. They were also my polling pool for finally nailing down the name of my new business.

There are more thank you-s as well from the woman at the bank who helped me open my new business account, to the authors of the books I've read on the craft business, to my local coffee barista who smiles and asks what's new with the book making. I definitely feel as if the universe is open for me to pursue this and I feel very thankful for all the encouragement.

Currently listening to: Natalie Merchant - Kind & Generous

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dream Realized

Book made in 2005
Starting a new blog is a little intimidating for me, but I'm incredibly excited about the new art/craft adventure that I'm beginning.  Sharing the journey here is something that I look forward to. 

So where do I begin?  Starting July 3rd (less than 2 weeks away!) I will begin sharing studio space with another book artist, Bridget Morris.  She's the woman behind Bella Forte.  I met her a couple of months ago, and since she was moving into a larger studio, she asked if I would like to rent space from her and have the opportunity to use her bookbinding equipment.  At first I was apprehensive about taking on the additional expense and realized that it would require me to take my own bookbinding to a new level.  With some deep thought I realized this was not an opportunity I could pass up and that the work involved to make my love of making books into a business was something I felt excited about. 

I'm a long-time crafter, but I feel learning to craft handmade books was my entry into art.  Since learning bookbinding back in 2000 I've taken on many artistic interests, but I return to books over and over again and love the feeling I get when I create a special book that can hold precious thoughts, memories and experiences.  I'll be sharing that love of bookbinding here and other milestones in my new business venture.  I'll be sharing other creative endeavors here as well.  You'll probably also hear about the music I'm listening to, the books I'm reading, and other thoughts on life as well.  I hope to entertain and to connect to readers and look forward to hearing from you through comments.

As for today I'm not so patiently waiting for July 3rd.  I have a number of ideas for books I'll be making in the coming months.  I can't wait until I have books to share with you.   I've just about completed gathering all the supplies I need for the first few months.  Please check back to see my new studio and where I came up with the name Spiral Journey Studio.