Saturday, September 15, 2007

How About Some Fabric Covered Journals? Linda's Review of Fabric Art Journals by Pam Sussman

Several years ago I decided to make fabric covered journals for my twin granddaughters. They were in junior high school at the time and I wanted something a little different as one of their presents for Christmas that year. So, I decided to create the journals.

Foolishly I didn't take a picture of them, but I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed making them. They were nothing like the journals I'm about to tell you about. Mine were crudely covered three ring binders, but they were pretty all the same.

When I saw the book Fabric Art Journals: Making, Sewing, and Embellishing Journals from Cloth and Fibers (Quarry Book)  by Pam Sussman during bookstore shopping trip with my Mother it reminded me of the crude journals I had made so I decided to flip through it.

There is a quote from Pam Sussman on the back cover that says, "Fabric books simply beg to be touched and experienced through the hands as well as the eyes." I couldn't agree more.

I might add that sometimes the fabric journals become works of art all unto themselves and beg you to just look at them. Like other works of art - to touch them you might just ruin them.

Since I am a lover of anything made with fabric whether it is a bowl, a box, a quilted landscape, ATC's (artist trading cards), floral fashions, dolls, baskets, altered art, etc. I knew that I would like this book.

Pam's book covers the basics of creating fabric art journals and then embellishing them. It includes 8 projects - 3 for beginners, 3 for intermediate journal makers, and 2 with advance binding techniques. Templates for the 8 projects are found in the very back of the book.

In the section on the basics of fabric art journals you'll find information on fabric journal tools, fabric journals versus paper journals, hand sewing versus machine sewing, accurate measuring and cutting, pressing, choosing fabrics and thread, inner support, basic sewing stitches, and basic edge finishes. Basically, everything you need to know to try creating fabric art journals.

In the embellishments section you learn about tea-dyeing fabrics, painting fabrics, adding words to cloth pages, image transfers, applique, art quilting, easy embroidery, eyelets and other hardware, button, fancy edges, fancy closures, beads, and trims. Each page is filled with pictures and/or illustrations as well as how-to's or step-by-step instructions.

In the fabric book projects section Pam shows you with step-by-step illustrations how to make a muslin journal, concertina journal, button-bound book, tape bound journal, fabric-stitch journal, house box journal, coptic-bound journal, and dream journal.

Flipping through these sections I found myself thinking that I could make that or wouldn't that be a wonderful gift for so and so. I wanted to try all of them. Then again, if you know me, you know my desire to try everything and anything crafty is much larger than the constraints of time. I need to clone ME.

In the back of the book there is a Gallery chapter filled with pictures of fabric art journals created by other artists. They are all unbelievable and you really need to see them for yourself. The pictures are beautiful, but I'm sure they don't do some of these fabric art journals justice. They truly are works of art.

During this shopping trip after a while my Mother appeared and asked me what was taking me so long. I showed her the book I was looking at. She was intrigued and wanted to see some of the projects, too. We both loved them all and agreed that we should at least try making one or two, okay maybe three of them. The problem is how to choose. We love them all.

If you are looking for a challenge and looking for something that is truly unique then you should try your hand at making a fabric art journal. I'm sure if you gave it to someone as a gift that it would become a family heirloom.

Of course, if I could clone myself I'd make all of the fabric art journals in this book and many, many more. They are just so unique and so pretty. Pretty little works of art.

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