I get my hands on the prototypes for the new Stonehenge wirebound journal.
Left: Two 9 x 12 and two 6 x 15 inch prototype journals from Legion Paper. Two have been altered by me and two, with labels, show their natural state.
If making books isn’t your thing and you are frustrated looking for a wirebound sketchbook that's hardy enough to use for a mixed media visual journal there’s a great new option for you. Legion Paper is now making journals using their Stonehenge paper.
Michael Ginsburg of Legion Paper called me several months ago to discuss my comments about Stonehenge paper, and journals in general. He actually listened to my requests for what I thought would be essential in a wirebound visual journal:
1. Hard board covers—nothing floppy or flimsy. Something stiff and substantial—even just naked boards would be great so people could decorate their own covers.
2. Thirty-two sheets, so that people working on only the recto page would have a sheet for a title page, and then one sheet per day for every day of the month (the longest months of course having 31 days). This would enable you to use one of these journals as a page-a-day journal and fit in an entire month in each volume.
3. No emblems, printing, and other decoration on the covers. (I find it really annoying to find a company name on my sketchbook.) I lobbied for a small, discreet paper label on the inside back cover.
4. I lobbied for smaller, more portable sizes, such as a 6 x 6 and an 8 x 8 inch square, and an 8 x 10 inch portrait size, which is the end of the world on portable size for me.
5. I lobbied for one of the darker sheets of Stonehenge to be issued in a book. I believe toned pages are wonderful for visual journaling and love working in gouache on tan papers (Rives BFK’s buff, Nideggen, Annigoni Designo).
Well I got almost all of that. Items one and two were taken care of completely. Additionally, besides the 32 sheets, each volume has a thin, white, paper endsheet at the front and back of the book which you can tear out or leave as a protective leaf between covers and text pages.
As for item three, there will be a wrap around label like the one shown on the prototypes in the photo, and a small paper label on the inside back cover. That much I got, but there will also be a small debossed “Stonehenge” logo on the back cover centered at the base of the cover. Since it is not going to be in an intrusive area, I can live with that.
I struck out on my size suggestions—the first journals will be available in 9 x 12, 11 x 14, 14 x 18, and 6 x 15 (which is a nicely dramatic landscape format or extreme vertical, depending on your tendencies). Ginsburg is still considering the smaller square formats for later.
As for the colors of Stonehenge that will available in this product—for now it will be the white and cream Stonehenge only.
The journals will be available in July, appearing at the following vendors first: New York Central, Wet Paint (in St. Paul), Jerry's, Artist & Craftsman, Daniel Smith, and Blick. So if you like to work large in wirebound books this journal is something you should check out.
I’ve written about Stonehenge paper in several posts earlier this year. (That link will take you to the most recent post on Stonehenge paper. At the end of that post you will find links to my other posts so that you can follow my journey with this paper.) My main reservation with it is I don’t like the way it binds up in casebound books. This wirebinding eliminates that issue.
In those posts I also discuss the paper’s working characteristics with different media. Pencil artists have long flocked to this paper. I find that pen work on it is great fun. While it is not a watercolor paper, you can paint with watercolor, gouache, and acrylics on this paper. You can throw collage at this paper. (And when you do, in this wirebound format you’re not going to have to worry about bursting your spine!) Will this paper have all the properties you need? No paper does. But if you want to keep a large visual journal with hardcovers (which are easy to personalize!) and text paper that will stand up to your creative impulses, then you need to give these journals a try.
I’ll keep nagging Ginsburg about the 6 x 6 and 8 x 8 inch options for those of us who really can’t lug large journals around.
As for the cover decoration in the opening photo—I’ll post a how-to when I come back from hiatus. I used various acrylic products, a blown up sketch from one of my journals, and yes, those are bookcloth corners on one cover. You can do whatever you want when you have naked boards!
Note: I’m was not paid for this review and my comments were not previewed, suggested, or edited by the manufacturer.