Since before we even met each other at ages twelve and thirteen years old, my friend Rebekah and I were writing our thoughts and dreams in our own private journals, pen to paper, every single night.
When we became college roommates in our twenties, journals and pens could always be found, lying directly next to our bedsides. (Along with lipsticks and packs of filtered Camel cigarettes!) For the most part, we kept our entries private, but I think sharing this powerful pastime helped to cement our lifelong friendship.
And I fell, hard, for my ex-husband when we first met at aged 17. (He was the first guy I met who kept a journal. And I thought that was pretty damn dreamy!) In college, he and I would discuss the works of Anais Nin, Henry Miller, Marguerite Duras and other autobiographical authors… then at the night’s end we would go and scribble in our own respective journals.
Journaling was, and is, such a huge part of my life, my relationships, my spirituality and my creativity… always providing me with a space for ‘becoming.’
And since high school, handwriting – whether in my journal, making lists, or carefully writing Arabesque Aromas’ perfumery tags, has been and still is my very favorite form of meditation.
Therefore, I was excited to discover two delightful artists-after-my-own-heart on Etsy.
Louise, the creator of Bibliographica, is a book binder & photographic artist based in New Zealand who specializes in making some of the most beautiful journals I’ve ever seen.
She uses recycled, reclaimed & vintage materials where possible, and quality artist papers. Each stunning creation is one of a kind. And I was fortunate enough to speak with Louise about her work late last month…
“I love to write in my journal, that’s how it all began really.
I’ve kept one since I was about 12 (although they are much more interesting in recent years… haha.) Old books have always fascinated me – since an early age – I think mostly for the energy they have. Books are so wonderful, people go out and learn & experience all sorts of things, and publish books to share the knowledge.
I don’t see my journals as finished projects… they are ‘continuums’… there is a dialect between a silent language, and that which is to come.
With miniatures, I guess this dates back to my pre-teens when I had Sindy dolls – I loved making things for their house, and even sewed them clothes! I’d be totally immersed in it, hours would go by. It was like Narnia for me. I feel that same kind of concentrative pleasure through my craft. Having come from a photographic background, in which I have a BA (Hons), I spent a lot of time in the darkroom, witnessing images from my mind’s eye appear in the developing trays. I used thick fibre based papers, that had to dry on racks, and loved to tone them in various solutions to create an aged effect. I can see now how this has followed through into my tea-staining of papers for my journals, the drying process…. it’s all relative.
Between printing in the darkroom I used to carry around a beautiful old leather journal which was made in Italy, my Mother gave it to me for my birthday.
I adored it and would write with miniscule lettering so to prolong its use. I always wanted to create one like it, and eventually I learned how – through a lot of trial and error. Along with a short evening course in bookbinding, I took a lot of journals apart and put them back together to see how they were created.
The little bibliothèque series I created was the idea of a miniature library… the contents of which is only limited to the imagination.
So it begins as a library without knowledge, but full of anticipation and possibility. I’m fascinated with what might end up in them. I also think there’s something really special, about opening a tiny box, and finding something inside. No matter how old you are, this always seems to create a sense of wonder. I love that we always carry that with us.”
More on Louise’s lovely work and on her creative process can be found via the links below.
I discovered Sparrow Nest Script just before Father’s Day… when she made my father a very clever and very endearing card. (I really regret not taking a picture of it!)
A Master’s student of English Literature, owner/creator Emily Poe toils in the beautiful Carolina mountains and finds much of her inspiration in nature.
“I have always placed a very high value on the written word; my parents read to me constantly when I was young, and I remember a sense of wonder and impatience as I gradually learned to decipher the strange combinations of letters for myself. Reading instantly became my favorite pastime, and I spent hours every day blazing through as many books as I could get my hands on. Eventually, I ended up majoring in English in college and going on to get my Master’s degree in English as well. Even today, I cherish rainy weekend days because they allow me to relax on the couch or in bed with my nose in a novel without any guilty feeling that I should be doing something else.
As I read voraciously in my youth, I also wrote in a journal almost daily. I loved filling up a notebook and getting to buy a new one–they were always plain, so I could use magazine clippings, ticket stubs, colored papers, markers, and other embellishments to decorate the covers just how I liked. Adorning the pages in a similar way, I pasted in mementos and bits of paper that would remind me of the moments I wrote about. My handwriting was always neat and precise, because for me, the words themselves were just another part of the journal’s beauty. The value of keeping a diary didn’t solely belong to the process of recording events and emotions, but also rested on the visual presentation of my inner musings–even if only I would ever see them.
Looking back, it makes complete sense that I ended up starting a calligraphy business, since my craft centers on the artistic and visually pleasing arrangement of words on a page. Calligraphy combines my love of words as conveyers of wisdom, or tools for telling stories, with my love of words as beautiful works of art in themselves. I count myself lucky that I can make my living this way, exercising my creativity and love for words daily and sharing it with others through the work that I do.”
Sparrow Nest Script can be found on Etsy