Shibori Indigo Journals Made From Fabric I Hand-Dyed with Indigo

Here are some of the beautiful journals I created using the skills I learned in two of the workshops I took in 2018 – Shibori Tie Dye workshop at Aya Fiber Studio in Stuart, Florida, taught by fiber artist Jane Callender and the Making Book Cloth Workshop in Asheville taught by bookbinder Sara Brooks. I love challenging…read more

Blue Waves French Link Journal with Golden Thread Detail

This lovely blue waves french link journal combines two of my favorite things: fancy stitching and decorative paper! I combined four different types of decorative paper in this book, a blue and gold florentine pattern made in Italy, a blue waves pattern and white flower pattern both made in Japan (this pack of five chiyogami…read more

Twin Journals Made from Colorful Japanese Chiyogami Paper Inlays

One of my favorite things about living in Florida is how bright and colorful everything is. No one blinks twice at an aqua or coral colored house, or my crazy purple hair. It’s interesting then, that one of my all time favorite bookbinding materials is this super colorful and vibrant Japanese Chiyogami paper since having…read more

Coyotes and Bears, Oh My! Handmade Journals Made From Recycled Paper

I created these wonderful laser-engraved journals featuring a fearsome grizzly bear and Wiley coyote almost exclusively from recycled materials. The covers are 100% recycled book board, and the inside unlined pages are 100% recycled. The only thing that isn’t recycled is the waxed linen thread that I used to stitch them together, but even that…read more

Washi Tape Journals with Ladder Back Coptic Stitch

They’re back! In 2015 I had the privilege of having my handmade journals included in Charlotte River’s book Little Book of Book Making: Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Beautiful Handmade Books. Doubly cool was that one of my journals was featured prominently on the cover of the Spanish-language edition called Cómo hacer tus propios…read more

Unlined Journals with Marbled Covers and French Link Stitch Binding

If you look back on my Indigo and Gold Branches French Link Stitch Journal post (that’s the journal pictured below in the middle) you’ll notice the beautiful blue, green, gold and black marbled paper that I used on the inside end pages. I can’t pretend to have some kind of top-secret source for that gorgeous…read more

Shimmering Hand Painted Fish Journal

Many years ago, one of my favorite types of books to make were hand-painted ones, but with the discovery of Japanese Chiyogami paper, I got away from that for a while, but now that I have the amazing Glowforge laser cutter, I’m back at the hand-painting game! This fish journal is a great example of…read more

Teflon Folders vs Bone Folders – which one is better for bookbinding?

I’m pleased to announce I have a limited number of teflon folders available for sale in my online shop at RuthBleakley.etsy.com. Read on for more information about what makes these bookbinding tools so wonderful and different from regular bone folders. What is a Teflon folder, anyway? Well, a traditional bone folder is a thin stick…read more

Shibori Tie Dye Class with Jane Callender at Aya Fiber Studio

To celebrate my 33rd birthday on March 22nd, I made a special week-long trip to Aya Fiber Studio in Stuart, Florida to learn stitched Shibori tie dye from world-renowned fiber artist and author, Jane “Cali” Callender. Her book “Stitched Shibori”  is not only gorgeous to look at; it also provides lots of practical instruction about…read more

Honeybee Journals Make a Great Gift for Beekeepers

You can buy this bee journal in my online shop 166 pages, unlined, lays flat when opened I created this journal in honor of one of our most important pollinators – bees! Did you know more than $15 billion a year in U.S. crops are pollinated by bees, including apples, berries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, alfalfa, and…read more

Feature Friday: Abby Try Again Photography

Abby of Abby Try Again photography craptures a dreamy, old fashioned look in her beautiful photos. She shoots on film, using vintage cameras, scenes of everyday things which are given new beauty when captured by the eye of an old camera (and seasoned photographer!). Here’s an interview we did last spring: Tell us about yourself Abby! Hi…read more

Marbled Papers Galore!

I’ve gone off on a tangent from bookbinding into making marbled paper, popular in the mid to late 19th century as endpapers in leatherbound books. Marbled paper is created by floating diluted watercolor paints onto a marbling “size” – water thickened with carragean (a type of seaweed) extract. The consistency of the marbling size is…read more

Featured Friday – MollyJey Papercuts

Mollyjey has beautiful handmade papercut dioramas in her Etsy shop, mostly in white with small touches of color. She was born in Locarno, Switzerland , a gorgeous mountain valley village on the southern border next to Italy – she then went to Florence, Italy where she studied Industrial Design and Communication. She speaks Italian, French…read more

Feature Friday: Joey’s Dream Garden

I can’t remember how I first found Joey’s Dream Garden, one of my favorite shops on Etsy, but I instantly fell in love with the adorable kitty and bunny brooches that Joey Ramone (no, the artist not the singer) is so good at making. Joey also offers gorgeous embroidery patterns, pretty hairclips and totes embellished with…read more

Octopus drawing sequence

I made a special accordion book about a year ago with a little red octopus in it – I documented the illustration so you could see the layers of ink go on. I love using drawing inks (I used Windsor-newton inks in this one) because you can layer them to make really rich colors –…read more

Travel Journal Made out of Repurposed Pants

I was recently commissioned to create a journal for my friend Matt’s birthday – made extra special because in the years past he’s commissioned me to make seven different books that he’s given out to friends – so I finally got to design one for him. (click here to see pictures of me making this…read more

Birthday Book in the Making

Here are some pictures of the process of working on a special commission of a travel journal – The plaid book cloth is actually a pair of favorite shorts the recipient had to regretfully consign to the rag pile – not any more! Now they’re immortalized as a book’s cover. The toggles are antique brass –…read more

Teaching Suminagashi at Clark University

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the Book Arts class at my alma mater, Clark University where I was a guest artist and taught the class Suminagashi marbling. The class went really well – twelve participants marbled over a hundred sheets of paper! Check out the gallery to see some lovely suminagashi in progress…read more

Front page on Etsy!

Check it out, one of my accordion books, illustrated by my friend Christina, made it to the front page of etsy the other morning!

Intermediate Bookbinding Class

I think it’s finally time to write up a post about the Falmouth Community School Intermediate bookbinding class! On the wake of the Beginning Bookbinding Class, six intrepid bookbinders continued on to learn coptic stitch binding. Our first class we did a type of paper marbling called Suminagashi where we created papers with neat black…read more