HollyDeanArtist: Often Medieval in Mood: The Call of the Muse [Journal]

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Call of the Muse [Journal]

my first Muse Journal
I made my first Muse Journal in August of 2010 as a birthday present for a wonderful artist friend. After that, I was hooked. Since then I have made more than 30 Muse Journals and find it hard to keep enough available for sale in the studio. They are particularly popular as gifts and, I must confess, I have kept quite a few for myself :)

cover paintings in progress
I tend to create six or more Muse Journals at a time. The small canvas panel covers are ideal for exploring intriguing ideas with paint, collage, transfers, texture & whatever else my muse suggests. I once made a pair of strictly black & white Muse Journals as a commission, expressing the similarities and differences between two cousins who grew up as best friends.

gorgeous papers are wrapped around each signature for a beautiful exposed spine
Binding the mixed media art covers to the text block is a zen-like experience. Beautiful papers are chosen to wrap around each of the eight signatures, along with a complementary or contrasting coloured, waxed-linen thread. I use a Coptic stitch for a few reasons. I love the look of the exposed spine, it is a very sturdy binding and it allows the Muse Journal to lie flat. I really love this aspect when I am working in it. The paper-wrapped spines also create handy sections in the book!

this title looks like it's written on shards of slate
The final step in this creative process is naming the Muse Journal. I enjoy perusing my list of fantasy book titles, considering which will be the one to magically bring the Muse Journal to life. The title is added to the cover art in calligraphy or typography.

a grouping of Muse Journals
These useful & beautiful books are a labour of love - it can take a day or more to create one. They don't sell for big money - they are priced from $72 and up, depending on their size. I create Muse Journals because I love the process and the opportunity to combine my love of art & books.

collaged bits, calligraphy, doodles & scribbled ideas
I have one that fits in a large pocket that goes everywhere with me. I have a larger one always at hand in the studio. Four more await the call of the muse and my collection continues to grow. I will be teaching a Muse Journal workshop in 2012. They have become a passion of mine :)


  1. Beautiful, Holly! There is something about making a book from scratch that is so fulfilling...I love to hold them in my hands and to see others hold them. Magical.

  2. They are gorgeous, for sure. I think if more people find out about them, you will have to spend a good deal more time making them to supply the demand!

  3. @Julie: It really is a magical process. When all the pieces come together, it always amazes me that I have created an actual book. Even though I know that is what I am making :) I love to hold them too - they feel wonderful in the hand.
    @Deb: Thanks so much! It's true - I find it hard to keep any in stock and long for more time in the day. How about an eighth day in the week? I would love that :) One just for making Muse Journals...

  4. Wow! I am impressed!! These Muse Journals are incredible!!! I would love to take your workshop...but I don't think I'll be in Ontario anytime soon! But who knows!!!

  5. Thanks, Dave! You never know what lies ahead ;)

  6. Indeed! At the beginning of this year I had no idea that I'd be in Peterbourgh, Ontario this summer for a wedding...or that we'd decide to move to Michigan in two years!!

  7. This is awesome Holly... clever you.

  8. Thanks, Jo! I love creating these :)



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