The Volterra Journal is a new addition to our line. You’ll see it all over our social media feed since it’s one of our faves for traveling. It’s small and portable, and the square shape is great for Zentangle or other small sketching endeavors. This 5” x 5” journal contains 100 pages of eco-friendly, acid-free bamboo paper. It’s our most versatile, and is ideal for light watercolor, and for writing or sketching with any type of pen, pencil, or charcoal. (Note: this is definitely the best paper for use with micro-tips or fountain pens.)
In addition to our traditional “monk’s wrap” leather strap, this book has a vintage rosette/back plate from an old doorknob on the front flap. This is an antique piece with several layers of old paint that have been sanded and sealed. It is attached with hand-hammered copper rivets.
Leather can be a touchy subject for a lot of people, and I understand that…so I have put a lot of thought into sourcing. I select the highest quality oil tanned hides from a variety of sources that discard hides deemed “imperfect” due to scars, scratches, brands, stretch-marks…anything that they would have to work their big machinery around. Typically, the hides come from boot, belt, and handbag manufacturers, etc. I do my best to incorporate those “range marks” into my designs …and most of my customers appreciate the uniqueness that this lends to each book. I tend to gravitate toward the ones with imperfections..they have character…doesn’t that make things a lot more interesting!?
What can I say? The papers I use are incredible! I have spent the last 27 years getting this paper thing right, and I think you will agree. I have narrowed it down to 4 perfect paper options. They are all acid-free, archival, and hand-torn.
The three lighter colored papers are for the journals, and then there is the black paper and vellum on the right for photos. The first two papers on the left in the photo are handmade from recycled fabrics. And the 3rd paper from left is the bamboo paper, which is NOT handmade and therefore is a bit more consistent in texture. All three papers are excellent for writing with any medium nib pens, and will not allow bleed-through.
The Watercolor paper is the whiter of the two handmade papers. It is 100% cotton rag, and is designed for watercolor painting in addition to pen and ink. It is the thickest of the 3 journal papers so that one can paint on both sides of the page.
The Hemp paper is the more rustic looking paper. It is a blend of hemp, jute, and cotton rags, and is a tiny bit thinner than the watercolor paper. Since it is thin, it makes for a more compact book…and is therefore excellent for those wanting to scrapbook or collect memorabilia along their way, since there is more room in the spine for expansion.
The Bamboo paper, though not handmade, it IS earth friendly since it is made of 90% bamboo, which is a renewable resource! I usually recommend the Bamboo for folks with micro tip or fountain pens, and for those who use pencils a lot. It has a smoother, more consistent surface than the other two, but still has the lovely hand-torn edges.
The Photo Albums come standard with 52 surfaces of beautiful hand-torn archival black paper and with 52 pages of vellum in between those pages to protect photos from facing each other, and therefore they are better preserved for years to come.
Iona Handcrafted Books is a studio where old-world-style leather books are made by hand with no machinery….only hand-held tools. This is the way that I was taught in Venice, Italy back in 1993. And though I have experimented with expediting the process, the end product is always most beautiful when the leather is cut by hand one at a time…when the paper is torn to size by hand one at a time….and, when each book is stitched and trimmed and strapped by hand it becomes a truly individual work of craftsmanship.