Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Sonnets Journal

Well, the 2016-2017 school year has come to a close...sort of. Next week, I'm off to a weeklong staff retreat to work on next year's plans. Every June the staff (and their families) go somewhere out of town to live and work together for a week so we can nail down schedules & plans for the fall and then have the rest of the summer to make those plans a reality. This year, the principal rented a fancy house a bit inland with seven acres, private lake, and pretty much every amenity you could think of. It is a working vacation but still...

Anyway, in my last post, I promised I'd start showing you the insides of some of the new journals I made recently. First up today is a journal I made from a small book of Shakespeare's sonnets. The journal is 5.5 inches wide and 8 inches tall. On the cover, I adhered a vintage French postcard I got years ago at a local flea market. I altered it a bit...added some rub-ons and a doodad. So lucky that it fit exactly inside the gold frame on the book's cover.

Now here's something you'd otherwise never know: I wanted to see both sides of that beautiful postcard; the address side is crazy lovely with some incredible handwriting in French. So I thought I'd be clever and cut a hole into the cover, just slightly smaller than the postcard so I'd be able to view both sides. That plan went well enough until I thought I needed to reinforce and protect the fragile card with some gloss varnish. Well, the old paper reacted funny with the varnish and the address side of the postcard sadly became unimaginably ugly. (The cover, you can see, held up a bit better.) So now, I had not only ruined part of the postcard I wanted to save but I also had a huge hole in my cover. If I had tried to pull the card off, I would've lost the thing entirely and my little "Sonnets" cover would've been ruined too so I chose to cover up the hole on the inside with a heavy piece of watercolor paper and some collage. And viola! Problem solved!

This journal is all about sketches & scraps, just bits and bobs that I glean from my stash and draw from my life. I've really missed journaling on a consistent basis so these little handmade journals are a place to dive back into that practice. Based on previous comments, I'm considering filming a short class on how I use old books to make journals. If I want footage to edit post-op, I'll need to somehow squeeze in filming this weekend or next...absolutely no promises but it is a good idea. I have so much to do between now and the 27th that my "to do" list might self-combust if I add one more task. However, I'm crazy that way so we'll see.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Journal-Making Frenzy in the Middle of Life Frenzy

I have just a week left in the school year (plus a week away at a staff retreat where our entire staff plans for the fall.) My surgery is scheduled for June 27. So I am caught up in a unique whirlwind of closing out past activities while outlining and creating future projects before I have to go into a two-month holding pattern for recovery from surgery. And somehow, in the midst of everything, I had an irresistible urge to go on a journal-making binge. I offer photos of my studio in disarray as explanation for my absence here.

My journaling practice, after many years of consistent, devoted attendance, now ebbs and flows. It isn't so much that I fell out of love with art journaling but rather that I fell in love with so many other things. Every so often though, I become consumed with a need to journal again. Maybe it is the current state of the country or the fact that surgery number 13 is looming or maybe it is just because I need to return to a practice that anchors and documents my days. When the chaos reaches dangerous levels, keeping a daily journal helps me stay in touch with the present. Journaling gives me something quiet and beautiful and inspiring to balance the anxiety, ugliness, and busyness.

I have been casually working in a variety of small purchased journals but I prefer handmade books when I want to journal every day. And I really, really love "junk" journals, books made with a variety of papers in all sorts of colors, textures, and sizes. I had several book covers in my stash that had been waiting a long time for the right project. (I gut the book block from small books with interesting or pretty covers.) I wanted to preserve the spines on some these particular "book husks" so I spent some time working out a binding technique that would allow me to insert a signature in papers of my choosing without destroying the existing spine. And once I got going...it has been almost impossible to stop making these journals.

I kept the original covers on three of these journals and added fresh paper to the other two. These are all small journals with a single signature of heavy duty papers inside (nothing less than cardstock but mostly 140lb hot & cold press watercolor paper.) I added a tab or edging on every page for lots of pops of color and pattern. In the next couple of posts, I'll share pictures of the individual books and their insides. The small pink and purple journal will be available for purchase as well.
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