Behind the Scenes : Indian Journals

Since my teens, I have always been interested in Eco, Organic, Recycled and Earth-Friendly ways of living. The idea of saving trees slowly led me to foray into practical products made from recycled and handmade paper that could be used in daily lives.I also started to show keen interest in re-using and up-cycling leftover fabrics into creations of usable art.

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Indian Journals was thus born, and it has now been close to 8 years of it’s formal existence. Myself along with my little team happily create – what we call an “ever ready gift for all ages and genders”

img_4556It’s about time we take you for a little elephant ride to take you around our little workshop and tell you how this passion started from a hobby and developed into a professional business front.

” Indian Journals ” happily runs from my home based studio – an enabling work space that reflects my style and sensibilities and compliments my creativity and eco conscious values.

We begin with buying authentic handmade paper from very trusted vendors. This paper is locally produced and has stood the test of time. Our clients love the paper to write and sketch and their admiration is very evident in their feedback and reviews.

pic_0711aInitially, we used get the papers cut through a manual paper cutting machine at the same printing shop where we get the screens of the screen printed journals made , but since the past couple of years we are getting them pre-cut by our paper vendors – in the journal sizes that we make (mainly for saving time)

Also initially, we used to manually fold the papers in half and sometimes even had to partially staple them in place and put under weights for the fold to set in before sewing, but this process too is now semi – mechanized and done by our paper vendors. With increasing orders and a baby at hand, pre-prepared raw materials are a boon ! So now prefolded paper and top hard cover is gladly purchased by our trusted vendor.

Various bits of fabrics which are usually left over bits from the garment and home linen industries are patched. Most of them are embroidered and sequinned. This whole multicolored process is the most fun part of it all ! Plethora of colors are all over the place and each diary cover becomes one of a kind piece. A lot of times I get this question for sari journals – “is it possible to get 4 of these” or “that one is sold, can I get exactly the same one? “ And for once I am not sad to answer in a negatory !

These beautiful sari patched covers are pasted on a harder handmade paper – almost like a card board consistency. And the reverse has another sheet of plain handmade paper pasted on it, for neatness as well as added sturdiness. We then sew the sides with a multicolored threaded gauze tape.

And then the cover along with the folded stack of papers are hammered in the center, and two more equidistant  holes are made to flank the middle. With a long needle, and a center hold knot, the journal is sewn in with a special 5 colored twine which is very strong and looks great too. The journal is secured with double binding procedure.

il_570xn-460041101_j97dThe lose end of the thread is kept very long and used to wrap the journal by its girth almost twice. In the case of screen printed journals, the entire procedure is the same – except the fabric is replaced by a screened handmade paper on the cover.

This creation process is pretty simple and sometimes meditative. Journals after journals are patiently made , packed, photographed and stored in a clean pet free home.il_570xn-460040651_r0qr

Speaking of pets, I have a little human monkey ! My (now 21 month old) daughter Amaira. She is of course not allowed in the “manufacturing” room, but she does get to touch and ramble through the tightly packed journals when they come out to face the natural sunlight near our french window ! More than half of the images I take – have her fingers, or a toy, or a sudden flashing of her latest drawing. Thankfully I discovered a few handy photo editing apps that help me clean and brighten the images !

il_570xn-1089235512_gtqzTo be able to manage the growing business, family and at the same time keeping focus on design and marketing – I really needed a very reliable helping hand. Printed covered journals for instance was one of our product variants that could be produced in collaboration with a production partner. Francis Uncle – the heart and soul of Ideal Printlinks offered help in screening the covers of my journals when I was no longer able to handle everything all by myself. He is the owner of a print shop where we get the covers of our Journals done.il_570xn-973783894_s4zt

Over the years, we have done a variety of covers such as printed fabric, brocade zari, screened designs and of course the best selling patchwork sari styles. I even did brush painted and marbled covers once.

One thing is making the journals – the creative process, imagining how they will look and so on. Another thing is selling them. Completely different ball games and opposite spectrum’s of the mind at work ! I guess creative entrepreneurs really live it up 🙂

Since the inception till today, things at Indian Journals are constantly evolving. Be it the style of taking pictures, to the packaging, to the logo and to the cover designs. I feel positive change is always good, and the need of bringing in freshness and uniqueness to Indian Journals is always on my mind. Like for instance I had been envisioning to launch a new range of journals since 2014. The Zodiac Star Sign Journals were born in late 2016 – after a series of design and brainstorming sessions – mostly with myself and also with my husband. More on them in another post soon !

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We sincerely hope at least one Indian Journal finds it’s way to your home – and that you use it to express yourself in your unique way.

 

 

 

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Ophiuchus

I was a pretty happy and a content Sagittarius woman. And like one twelfth of the citizens on this globe – we were all grouped to the Sagittarius household and our “common traits” were passed down from generations.

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And right when I was getting my creative juices flowing to build a new range for Indian Journals to launch for this holiday season – bam ! Ophiuchus comes into my awareness zone. And overnight I became an Ophiuchus. Imagine spending a little over 3 decades believing that you belong to a particular star sign and then you are someone else now. It was like – a case of living in mistaken identity for this whole time !As if all our homies were now either to be retained in the Sagittarius fort or move to the not so newly constructed Ophiuchus Fort to call it home.

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Needless to say, I searched everything from its meaning to its origins to symbology , constellation , personality traits and compatibilities ! Most of what I used to do in high school for Sagittarius.

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The constellation is described in the astrological poem of Marcus Manilius: the Astronomica, which is dated to around 10 AD. The poem describes how:

Ophiuchus holds apart the serpent which with its mighty spirals and twisted body encircles his own, so that he may untie its knots and back that winds in loops. But, bending its supple neck, the serpent looks back and returns: and the other’s hands slide over the loosened coils. The struggle will last forever, since they wage it on level terms with equal powers”.

Later in his poem, Manilius describes the astrological influence of Ophiuchus, when the constellation is in its rising phase, as one which offers affinity with snakes and protection from poisons, saying “he renders the forms of snakes innocuous to those born under him. They will receive snakes into the folds of their flowing robes, and will exchange kisses with these poisonous monsters and suffer no harm”.  A later 4th century astrologer, known as Anonymous of 379, associated “the bright star of Ophiuchus”, Ras Alhague (α Ophiuchi), with doctors, healers or physicians (ἰατρῶν), which may have been because of the association between poisons and medicines.

Based on the 1930 IAU constellation boundaries, suggestions that “there are really 13 astrological signs” because “the Sun is in the sign of Ophiuchus” between November 29 and December 17 have been published since at least the 1970s.

In 1970, Stephen Schmidt in his Astrology 14 advocated a 14-sign zodiac, introduced Ophiuchus (December 6 to December 31) and Cetus (May 12 to June 6) as new signs.  Within 20th-century sidereal astrology, the idea was taken up by Walter Berg in his The 13 Signs of the Zodiac (1995). Berg’s The 13 Signs of the Zodiac was published in Japan in 1996 and became a bestseller, and Berg’s system has since been comparatively widespread in Japanese pop culture, appearing for example in the Final Fantasy video game series and the manga and anime series Fairy Tail.

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I was kind of excited about this whole “Shift” and started working on the brand new symbol for the Indian Journals cover. How could I leave out my very own “new” sign in the offering !

There were two symbols that were coming up in the search. However, I had to pick only one. More because I liked it and “related” to it more.

To know which symbol  I picked and what is going to be the cover like , please stay tuned. Oh by the way – any guesses for the new theme for Indian Journals !