An Expandable Cross-Structure Journal

Cross-Structure Journal deconstructed front page

I have been keeping a journal since last fall that I wanted to keep open in its binding to accept extra signatures as needed. I wasn’t sure how many pages the journal would need. The only binding I know of that can be added on to sequentially is the cross-structure binding. Above is how it looks with only the front cover. The signatures are sewn as needed onto the tabs of the cover, which act as tapes. There are many ways to weave the two covers together; another example of this style of binding, but made with paper, is shown in this post. Cross-structure binding is one of my favorites to use, but this is the first time I have tried it with leather.

Cross-Structure Journal cutting back cover slits

This photo shows the other half of the cover, and you can see how the front cover was cut from the same piece, the tabs of the front and back interlocking like laced fingers. As the size of the book has swelled, I have needed to cut more slits in the covers to weave the tabs temporarily through the front and back to hold the whole thing loosely together. Getting everything lined up is important, so I have marked my lines with white low-tack artist tape, and using my heavy Starrett straightedge, a triangle with a metal edge, and a scalpel with a sharp new blade, I make the cuts equidistant from the edges and lined up with the previous slits.

Cross-Structure Journal cover front

Here is an image of the journal woven together, until the addition of extra signatures will have me doing this whole process over again. I usually add two or three signatures at a time so I don’t have to do this too often. This piece of suede leather served me for over ten years on my drawing board as a cushion for my writing paper, so it is marked with lots of ink blots and smears. Its newer incarnation as a book cover suited my intention for this book, part of which is to serve as an exploration of the next ten years of work and what that might look like.

Cross-Structure Journal first opening

Here you can see the first page opening and the stiff endpaper I’ve used to add body to the lighter suede leather. I will probably use some kind of strap to keep the whole thing together when it’s finished, and all of the tabs will be sewn down securely so the binding won’t be able to be altered anymore.

Cross-Structure Journal May Gilding

Here is my page spread for May, experimenting with some ink, colored Inktense pencils, and some gilding with palladium leaf. The journal is a record of a journey through a calendar year, so roughly every signature has its month, though some have more pages than others. There is lots of room for accommodation in this journal, pockets to stash bits of inspiration, wider and narrower pages, heavier and lighter, all manner of balderdash and meanderings. Such is the life of a journeyer.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Maryam 06/27/2011, 11:33 pm

    This is one of my favorite colors.

  • Annie 06/27/2011, 11:39 pm

    There is no such thing as coincidence I think! Just minutes before I read your post I was thinking about this binding and that I wanted to give it a try…..
    I love the look of this stained leather!

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