Women’s histories


I went to a local Vintage and HandMade goods fair at the weekend. If I’m going to buy something I want it to be a little unusual, so I now have a beautiful lino-cut print of a running hare for a particular spot on my wall that’s been waiting for something. And an unusual ceramic vase in sea and sky blues inspired by an Icelandic harbour. And this hand-made journal, in all its tatterdemalion glory.Journal

Here’s part of the inside as well. A leather cover enclosing pages and pages of different types of paper, ribbon, scraps and whatnots. The wonderful woman who makes these journals calls them Knicker Drawer Notebooks:

What’s a Knicker Drawer Note Book?

Memory book? Pillow book? Keepsake book? Journey book? Quiet Thoughts Notebook? Story prompt book?

Creative space? Costume support? Commonplace hoard? Sensory texture book for physical therapy?

Perhaps a unique and personal book, made to hold an item that matters, the item that expresses you, and you alone?

Or just about the most fun and whimsical personal book you’ll ever own?

A Knicker Drawer book is all of these: it’s a beautiful place to keep the precious things of your everyday experience, whether they are daily jottings, fragile letters, your youthful billet doux, an old journey ticket, memories of good and bad times, a card from a time you want to remember, your poetry, or the heirloom recipe in grandma’s handwriting. (Or even, ahem, the receipt for the hotel room you’d rather keep quiet about.)

You can see more examples of her work here, and oh how she’s rekindled my interest in journalling and journal-making.

The reason I’m writing about it today is because of one particular use for these journals which she showed me: a repository for old letters, a written history of a long-dead woman’s life, not forgotten if preserved between the pages of one of the notebooks.

On International Women’s Day, let’s remember those generations and generations of women and their hidden histories, preserved in memory and sometimes between the pages of a special book.

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