Due to the usual holiday madness I was a little late picking up the Winter 2015 issue of Pages magazine, but I thought the journal-maker's instant fix would make a nice creative kickstart for the new year. I'm planning on making all my journals for 2015 -- no more being lazy and buying them from the store or Etsy! -- so I was quite interested to see what sort of inspiration they were offering.
It's an okay issue for the most part. This time nearly all the projects were fairly standard book-type journals (as opposed to past issues that explored making a journal out of a paintbrush, a fake piece of fruit, etc.), which will appeal to the traditionalists. I did like the Illuminated Tangles page project by Wendy Currier and Marcia Thornton Jones, which is a kind of fusion between Zentangle-type doodling and illuminated manuscript techniques. The steps of the project are explained very well, and the results are impressive. It's also a project basically anyone can do.
The techniques in this issue ranged from interesting to useful to scary. Making a book you don't have to sew or glue and assembling a simple pop-up were likely the best of the lot. Watercolor travel journalers will really love the piece on visual fieldnotes, while those of you who are interesting in less traditional journals will enjoy the project on deconstructed journaling. There are also some stunning journal pages showcased in the back of the issue that look as if they've traveled through time.
Because I'm a nut about old sewing notions I have a substantial amount of old buttons cards that I've never done anything with, and in this issue Mandy Russell shows you how to use them as covers for wee journals. The artist does use a Coptic stitch to bind the journals, so it's a bit more advanced in the technique department, but she has excellent directions and a couple of stitching illustrations to show you how to manage the binding. The scary project was one that involved cutting up and weaving strips from aluminum cans to make journal covers; while I appreciate the recycling aspect it definitely looked like an exercise in slicing your fingers to pieces. If you can't resist that one I advise you proceed with extreme caution and make sure your tentanus shot is current.
I did feel this issue is a bit light on new ideas, and I get the feeling Pages may be heading in another direction now. I really liked this magazine because it started out genuinely invested in real, creative book-making. In this issue I do see some signs (the results of a subscriber challenge, making your own "cozy journaling corner") that it could be evolving into another Butterfly people rag (and Lord, don't read the article about the scroll journal in this issue unless you want to cry all morning.) If the next edition is more of the same I think I might have to move on, but I'm hoping it won't be.