Monday, 15 October 2012

Little Leather Book

After over a month of non-creativity because of family and health issues, I suddenly find my mojo mysteriously returning, much to my joy! This morning my hubby gave me something he’d picked up on the sale table at a charity coffee morning he attended recently – he said he thought he ought to buy something! When he gave it to me, I was entranced. It is a little hand-made leather book, filled with blank pages made from hand-made paper with delicately coloured leaves and petals embedded in it. The book measures about 6 x 4.5 in, and the leather cover has been decoratively punched in a pretty design on the front.

The book is secured by a green elastic cord which is rather worn, and anyway doesn’t do the book justice, so this will be replaced, probably with some more leather thong, probably tied with a decorative knot. I have a feeling this elastic may not be original. I may also embellish the flap a little, perhaps shaping the edge and adding some more punched holes.

The book has been bound in a decorative fashion, using thin leather thongs which have been arranged in an artistic design on the spine.

The back of the book is quite plain. I love the warm rich colour of the soft leather of the cover, and how soft and tactile the whole book feels.

Here is a picture seen from the top of the book, showing the six signatures of hand-made paper bound into the leather cover.

The inside of the cover is a lighter brown, the suede side of the leather, showing the punched holes.

This is a picture of the book open between two signatures – you can see the inside of the spine in between.

This shows the book open within a signature.

Opened in the centre of a signature, you can see the thong binding, stitching the pages together.

Here is a detail of the gorgeous hand-made paper which makes up the pages. If you look closely you can see the imprint of the linen where the paper was pressed while wet, and also the fibres, petals and leaves which have been embedded in the paper.

My plan for this little book is to use it as an art journal – to fill it with different drawings, paintings and designs in various media, but in general not completely to obliterate the intrinsic beauty of the paper. In some cases, pages may need to be cut near the binding and removed, to allow for the thickness of any added art work. This hand-made paper is pretty absorbent, and I am not sure how well it will take paint, markers or ink, so some experimentation will be needed, using pages that have been removed. Nothing will be wasted – any removed pages will be used for other projects.

My first step was to embellish the first page by tracing through the punched holes in the cover, and heat embossing the shapes with gold, which then shows through the holes. This would give me a starting point for further embellishing, in a rich, dramatic way, and would also echo the design of the cover.

Here is the first page with the shapes traced in pencil, ready for embossing.

I used my embossing pen, and heat embossed with gold embossing powder. Unfortunately, because of the absorbency of the paper, the embossing ink dried so quickly that not much embossing powder adhered to it, and when I heated it, it went rather dark. I had to go over it twice, and in places, three times, before I got the effect I wanted, and after all that, it was a bit lumpy looking!

Here’s a detail.

When you close the cover now, the gold embossing shows through the pierced holes, which looks a lot nicer than the white paper showing through (see the first photo).

I decided to embellish this embossed design, using a sepia drawing pen. The first step was to outline the embossed shapes to sharpen them up a bit, and then I started filling in with some zentangle-type doodles and borders. The final effect is quite rich and oriental looking.

My original plan was to add some rich colours, but on reflection, seeing that it would be opposite the somewhat subdued-coloured inside cover, I decided to add some Frayed Burlap Distress Ink around the edges and leave it at that.

I wonder who made this delightful little treasure, how old it is, and how it came to be discarded on a bring-and-buy table. Funny what people throw out, isn’t it!


  1. What a lovely book! It does make you wonder who made it - a lot of thought went into it. Pleased you are feeling better!

  2. Shoshi, this little leather book is gorgeous!!Love what you are doing with it!I reckon if you or I were at that coffee morning, there'd be hardly anything left on that craft table!!The leather can be "fed" with saddle soap or beeswax or lanolin.I was looking at your little ATC the other day, and at first I didn't realise it was drawn by you!Beautiful.

  3. What a lpvely little leather book, I love what you have dne with the first page. Glad to hear your mojjo is returning. Bestw ishes, Cindy x

  4. what a beautiful little leather book

  5. You are just so darn clever, Shoshi! Love what you did with that page! How sweet of your husband to buy you the book. He knew you'd find a use for it!

  6. Wow what a super find your hubby came across. It is really beautiful. I cannot imagine why someone would dispose of such a thing but it has made it's way into the hands of someone who can amplify it's beauty with amazing art. The first page is testament to that. Looking forward to seeing more of your creativity :0)

  7. That is a beautiful book! Love what you've done too. Glad to see you around again and hope you continue to feel better.

  8. This book is really lovely. What a find. Your husband is well trained. LOL
    Missed you on WOYWW lately.
    Glad you are feeling better and creating again. I had that flu virus and I have been away in Europe at a crafting event so I know life gets in the way sometime.


  9. Wow, what a gorgeous book - if that doesn't get your creative talents flowing I don't know what will! I love what you've done so far, you are doing a fab job on it and I hope you'll keep us posted as you continue working on it! What an eagle eyed husband you have!

  10. Wow, what a fabulous little book. I would definitely have been attracted to this if i'd have seen it on there too. What a good find and a good eye your husband has - you must have trained him well!!! lol.

    Whoever let that go really would be kicking themselves if they saw what you are doing with it - but then, they wouldn't have the fabulous things in like you have now. Their loss is definitely your treasure. I'm definitely going to track the progress of your journalling. You might have realised that I'm working backwards through posts and only came for woyww (why?) - i've added myself as a follower so I can keep up to date with all of your wonderful creations, particularly progress with this wonderful little book of surprises!

    Paula x x x


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