Tea journal workshop feeds love of play

I was happy to join 12 other creative people recently at the stunning new paper store in Banff, Alberta: Gingko and Ink Atelier.

LINDA COTE-Class poster

For me, taking workshops is the greatest form of play. This one was taught by my friend, Joan Gregory, an accomplished collage artist (I featured two of Joan’s cards on my blog about my inspiration wire). For this workshop, she taught us how to make a handmade book — her confessed form of play as well. Her theme was a tea journal, and she had two of her own beautiful journals there to inspire us.

Gingko and Ink is an amazing paper store, just opened in Banff (Alberta) earlier this year, and the owner Niccela Churchill has a passion for bringing in artists to teach different paper crafts: card making with the iris paper folding method, calligraphy, and more. And, Niccela runs Snail Mail evenings where people can enjoy using old typewriters while creating fantastic mail art. (Check her Facebook page for details.)

LINDA COTE-Gingko exterior

Her store is a delicious trip through the paper arts of many different countries: Japan, Tibet, Mexico, France, and more. I could spend hours combing through the tactile paper delights, and the lovely displays in the store. If you are in the neighborhood, it is a must-see shop!

LINDA  COTE-Gingko interior

LINDA COTE-Gingko and Ink1

LINDA COTE-Gingko and Ink

For our evening workshop, we met on two Mondays. The first evening, we selected our papers, made our signatures for the book, and picked out a bamboo cover.


Joan (shown above) is demonstrating the ways to fold the pages into nested sections that create envelopes, pockets and other perfect embellishments for the journal.

The first evening was a combination of instruction, play and conversations with like-minded artists. And, of course, a tea journal course would not be complete without tea and cookies! We then took the books home, to work on them over the coming week.

LINDA COTE-colourful papers


My selection of papers unfolded (above) and folded into signatures (below).

LINDA COTE-Tea Journal Workshop

Niccela was a lovely host. Every so often she would quietly appear with a little paper surprise for us to take and integrate into our journals. These are stamps on different Chinatown entrances across Canada that she handed out.



Fellow artist, Deborah Sears pulling together some of her own handmade papers and working out the sizes for her journal.

LINDA COTE-TeaTea and cookies were a delicious snack on a cold, rainy night. The next three photos feature Joan’s Tea Journal, and a rough idea of where our projects were going.

LINDA COTE - Joan's Tea Journal 1

LINDA COTE-Joan's Tea Journal2

LINDA COTE-Joan's Tea Journal3

The second evening, we brought in our journals, ready for stitching into a book. Some people had most of their journal completed (“It’s so addicting!” one artist exclaimed) while others — like me — had completed only a portion of the 100+ pages in the book.

LINDA COTE-Ks journalAbove is a photo  of some pages from the artist beside me, along with the linen binding thread we used to sew the books together.

LINDA COTE-coverThe covers were made — ingeniously — using a bamboo place mat and wrapping it around the signatures. Below are a few sample pages of the inside of my journal.

LINDA COTE-Tea Journal B

LINDA COTE-Tea Journal A

LINDA COTE-Tea Journal C

LINDA COTE-Tea Journal D

And, here I am, obviously enjoying myself! I still have till more to do to complete my journal, but this is the start of the Thanksgiving long weekend in Canada. It’s a perfect project for blustery October days in the mountains.

LINDA COTE-happy play

Speaking of Thanksgiving, one of the things I am always most grateful for is the vibrant arts community in my neighborhood that gives me ample ways to play!


9 responses to “Tea journal workshop feeds love of play

    • Hi Deb! Yes, it was great. And it certainly could be used for printmaking! I have long wanted to combine bookmaking and printmaking. Need to find some time for that!

  1. Pingback: Heron print tells a story | Musings From The Studio·

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