While teaching art in western Montana, in place of store bought sketchbooks, I would show students how to make their own journal to record sketches, vocabulary terms and art history lessons. I taught them Japanese stab binding because it is aesthetically appealing, peeking their visual interest, complex enough binding technique to challenge them intellectually and sturdy enough to survive the rigors of an active life.
A natural transition was to begin constructing a selection of journal styles; each featuring a distinct book cover using felted/dyed wool, leather or hand-picked papers. Quality paper for the signatures and the use of traditional binding methods; long stitch, Coptic and Japanese stab binding adds to their striking beauty. Finding paper, buttons or boxes in unexpected places is a bonus, knowing they will be incorporated into a journal at some point. The book arts brought together the sculptural, design and hand work I had practiced separately for years.
My journal designs fill dual customer requirements; to be functional and attractive. As for me I’m doing what is agreeably familiar and yet still experimental. I am drawn to artifacts which are utilitarian and yet radiate beauty. I enjoy the physicality of a book; its weight, touching the paper, and its smell.
During construction of my journals I image how the author will personalize the pages; documenting ideas, drawing from observations. It is interesting to consider what we chronicle and why we record one memory over any other. Reviewing what has been penned unfolds a personal story.
I have found that wherever I travel AUNT JOAN PRODUCTIONS handsomely constructed journals are well-received gifts.
Persimmon Gallery ~ Bigfork, MT
Ravalli County Museum ~ Hamilton, MT
Sappari ~ Whitefish, MT
Exhibitions / Sales
Handmade Holiday, December 7 & 8 2012, Bohemian Grange Whitefish, MT
The Gathering, September 29, 2012, Flathead Valley Community College, Kalispell, MT
HMA Benefit Auction of Miniatures, April 26-May 18, 2012, Hockaday Museum of Art, Kalispell, MT
Better than a Blender, December 10, 2011, Joan Ragan Kállay studio, Kalispell, MT
Kállay, Joan Ragan. “Resist Dyed Wool Book Cover”. Cloth Paper Scissors,
November/December 2012. #45: 72-76
Kállay, Joan Ragan. “Japanese Stab Binding: A Classic Bookbinding Technique”.
Cloth Paper Scissors Pages, Volume 2: 78-81
“Bindings Gallery”. Cloth Paper Scissors Pages, winter 2011: 75