Review by Laura Cameron
Although I managed to get in on the Hippo Noto Kickstarter, I couldn’t possibly wait that many months to try Tomoe River paper (!!), so I went ahead an ordered a Crossfield Journal from Nanami Paper ($24).
The Crossfield Journal I purchased is actually the second edition of this journal. The journal is A5 size, so the paper measures 8.3 x 5.8 inches. The journal has a flexible semi-stiff fabric coated cover and is threadbound, with lay-flat binding. This means that when I open the Crossfield, it lays open nicely. The journal is filled with graph lined white Tomoe River paper and lots of it; 480 pages. There are two end pages, and both are in ivory. There isn’t a bookmark in this book. The Crossfield comes with a kraft slip case that is printed with some of the journal specs. Finally, the package includes a sheet of blotting paper. All of this is crafted in Japan.
When I ordered the Crossfield I actually had a purpose in mind for it. After watching Azizah’s video about how she samples her inks, I wanted my book to be an ongoing journal of the inks I try with different pens and nibs. To that end, I tried to experiment with a variety of techniques.
I was pretty impressed with the Tomoe River paper. For the most part, I was splashing large dots of ink on the paper and, of course, those bled through to the other side. But I was consistently surprised at how the thin paper (52 gsm “notebook” paper) didn’t bleed through on “regular” uses – when I used a pen or dip nib to write the name of the color on the page or play with the ink in other ways. Several times I tested a pen just by writing a page or two of text and those pages showed no bleed through. The pages did ghost though, and quite a bit. If you are intent on using each and every page of this journal front and back, this may not be the best book for you unless you’re sketching with a soft pencil or some lighter use. Finally, I would note that on the pages where I was heavy handed with the ink drops there was rippling, like the paper had gotten wet. On the pages where I had just written normally, I didn’t experience that.
I’ve included a sample of pages that I’ve been inking in the Crossfield, as well as a shot or two of the backside of the pages.
Overall I’ve been very pleased with this journal and plan to continue using it as I grow my pen and ink collection.
Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.