Sunday, March 7, 2010

For the love of J♥urnals

So, it's March & I'm keeping my word for a blog a month... *ta-da*
I know (Edie Falco) Nurse Jackie says, 'only magicians and idots say ta-da' but I just love saying it; I find it it fits lots of situations...

This months blog entry will will focus on my love of Journals. I have a slight obsession with those papery delights. I love them in all their forms: writing journals, dream journals, secret diaries, travel journals, watercolor journals... anything that has lovely paper in it! 

When I see an adorable blank book I think art & freedom of expression!
I want one and I want to make one. 
I see potential! 

I had my first secret diary when I was 7, it was pink and flowery with a lock & key! 

Dear secret diary, I love you! You are my new best friend...


I continued to love journals over the years. I took a one-day book binding class in Minneapolis, in 1994 has opened up a world of artistic expression to me. My skill and creativity improving with each one one I make.

Since then I've moved around. A lot. In 1996 I ended up in Grand Marais, MN for a couple years. What an inspiring a place to be an aspiring artist! The fresh air, the Sawtooth Mountains to the north, to the south Lake Superior and on it my favorite North Shore coffee shop The Java Moose! Out of interest, during my two year stay, I used to bicycle up & down Hwy 61 to my many jobs. Dylan eat your heart out! Once I biked from Grand Marais to Hovland and back, surely even Dylan can't say he's done that... My favorite place to eat breakfast was called South of the Border. My next favorite place to eat was The Naniboujou. I also got to enjoy the festivities of Rendezvous Days, once, in Grand Portage where I tried moose burgers and saw my first Pow Wow... happy days!

Oh right back to blogging about art ;) I did meet some local artists and dabbled in watercolor, sketching, I even made a few journals, during this time. 

As you see, in this photo, I kept one of my journals. 

I nearly filled it, too, during my time up north. I also made three others and someone was interested in buying them. I bitter-sweetly sold my handiwork. I had never before sold anything. I hadn't thought about it, really. Just making them seemed enough, parting with them, however, was a new emotion for me.

I continued moving around & the chaos of moving had me pushing my skill of book binding, and art in general, further into boxes until I was just not making any. For years. *sigh*

Travel is good inspiration. New places, new jobs, new friends, new ideas, new experiences - getting married in 2003 was definitely new for me! Of course, getting married was a catalyst for another move. To Wisconsin. In 2004. 

Since then we've made it our home. And, I've been searching for a community of artists to be inspired by. I've met quite a few wonderful people. But, I'd like to speak briefly about one lady I was lucky to have been able to meet, Carol Mularkey. I've had the privilege to take a couple of refresher drawing classes, with her as my teacher, at the Center for Visual Arts (CVA), in downtown Wausau. I was hoping to take more classes from Carol, sadly though, she has passed on. You can read a tribute to her, on the CVA website --> here.

One thing I learned from Carol is when we learn a skill, like drawing, the expression of that skill is the expression of our identity. We shouldn't shy away from making art that doesn't look like everyone else's. We should embrace the uniqueness of our abilities, our vision our art. Listen: A while a go, I was sitting next to my friend Donna Klimek in a lecture class. I had my lap top along and I had a screen saver of different inspiring art with some of my sketches playing. She could pick my drawings out every time! She said they were distinctly me. So that was cool to see the truth in Carol's wisdom.

The last time I saw Carol, two years ago, she offered me some sort of oniony paper that some one had given her... It's not really onion paper but it is a bit yellow, toothy and translucent. I've been been trying to find the right project for it but didn't want to "ruin" the few sheets I had. 

Do you ever feel like that about paper or other supplies? You don't want to use them because you're afraid it will not turn out how you had hoped and then you feel like you've "ruined" the paper or your supplies? I wanted to use the paper gift from Carol for something special.

I also must remember to channel Shiva more often! 
In order to create you must destroy... 

So I've been meditating upon these lovely sheets of paper and hoping for the right project to come up. And recently I thought to myself, why not try making mini journals? That way I could get the most out of what little I have. I decided to cut down some of the papers Carol gave me and try my skill of book binding and attempt making a mini journal.

I started with the standard four pages, in each signature, mini pages in this case. 

Once folded in half, they makes 8 pages... If you count front & back that's 16 surfaces to write on! 

In my mini journal there is a total of 200 pages. Counting the front & back of each page, that's 400 blank surfaces to write on! 

Lots of room to fill it with inspirations!

I hand stitched each signature together then gilded the edges.

I cut corrugated cardboard for the cover & scraps of fabric to cover it with. 
Lastly, there's the need for decorative end pages. 
I hand carved a piece of lino block and then hand stamped them myself!

I took about 3 hours to assemble.
I think it was a great idea to create a mini blank journal.
And best of all it tickles me pink! 

It's so little and chubby and it fits in the palm of my hand! 
What bliss! What joy! 
So, I made another....
I'm excited to make a many more...

Actually they're rather easy to make. So, here is where my first tutorial will come into existence... if you're so inclined: 

My love for journals and stationary (possible future blog topic?) started when I was a girl and has grown along with me. It certainly is a healthy hobby and rewarding to make something with scraps of fabric, thread, glue and whatnot from around the house. It's like totally recycling! 

I actually use more than one journal at a time! None under lock and key like my first but I do have one for ideas, one for dreams, one for drawings etc...

I made a small one for lists. 
I take it along when I shop. 
 It's cute, see!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a great read!