My Lexicon: A Circle Journal

Some time ago, I signed up for Diana Trout's Circle Journal online class and while it took me a bit to get around to watching all the videos, once I did, I was hooked.  Diana provides a nice, easy structured environment while encouraging play and experimentation.  I highly recommend this class:  it is reasonably priced, filled with step-by-step information and inspiration and once you join the classroom, the material is available indefinitely.

What Diana calls a circle journal, I know as a maze book but whatever the name, the concept is the same: a multi-spread book made from a single sheet of paper.  Decorate, fold, cut, fold, and then decorate some more.  This book structure also includes a pocket where one can store an additional page but my book did not take advantage of that feature.

It took me a long time to finish this class because I couldn't come up with a theme for my circle journal but finally it hit me: I wanted to do a little artist book about my personal lexicon.


A lexicon is a set of symbols or images that appears regularly in an artist's work.  The artist may or may not be aware of the existence of their personal lexicon but if not, it is easy to discover.  Search through past work and see what symbols repeatedly make an appearance.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about my personal lexicon and although there have been some additions in recent years (namely the fox and owl,) my lexicon has remained unchanged for over a decade.

These photos are presented in the order the book unfolds.  Although each page has a different topic, I united the entire book by repeating certain elements:  the black chevron stamp (from Pam Garrison), the numbered circle stickers, the hand drawn stars and tiny circles that run across the top of each page. 

On each page (with the exception of the spiral,) the featured symbol is drawn with black Sharpie and colored with Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels.  This also helps to make the book look cohesive.

I had a tremendous amount of fun creating this little book and once I finished, I promptly made two more books which are waiting in the wings for topics.  I have found that I find short-term artist book projects much more enjoyable than thick, endless journals.  I like the sense of accomplishment when I finish and the small books are easier to store or display.  I like to pile my artist books in a basket in the living room, inviting visitors to pick them up and interact with them.


iHanna said…
I love fold out books too, and have several waiting for ideas on my desk. Yours is SO beautiful, every step worthy of framing but enough as they are. Well done!
carol said…
I love your bird-page three. What medium did you use to get those great colors?!
Michelle Remy said…
Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels (without the water) for the bird and fluid acrylics for the background...
Love this so much Michelle. The fox page is awesome, I keep trying to leave comments but they are sticking. Your personal voice really is unique and I'm so glad you chose this theme for you book. Great idea and thanks for the shout out!
Nancy said…
What a wonderful & powerful book!!
I've not given any thought to having - or not - a lexicon, but I am certainly going to look through my work now. Thank you for sharing this book with us.
Terri Kahrs said…
Michelle!!!!! Your book screams "you"!!! It's fabulous!!! How I wish I could see it in person!!! Your colors "melt me" -- they ALWAYS do!!! Sending Hugs, Terri ♥
Cate Rose said…
I love your journaling. Those houses are so sweet.
I found your blog through Diana Trout's FB. I also made the circle journals but have not done anything with them. I love the lexicon theme and may just "steal" this idea. Thanks for sharing.