Monday, January 25, 2010

Filling your handmade journal - part 2

Yesterday I showed you photos of the process of making a journal by tearing watercolor sheets, folding and then sewing the signatures together, and gluing those signatures into a book cover. Today - let's start filing your book!
First, I find it essential to have inspiring materials all around me - rich watercolors and watercolor crayons and a jar of water to start with:

Then paint the page - start with water, add the paint and some crayon, you can go back over the crayon to blend in the lines.

Then when the paint is dry (this might be next day - or you can use a heat tool to speed up the drying) assemble a pile of wonderful images. Magazines, ephemera, stamps, personal photos and photocopies, wonderful papers, all these things should be right in front of you to inspire you. Tearing strips of some of your wonderful papers (think wrapping paper, oragami, handmade joss papers) can help you make a border around the pages.

I have just added my sewing machine to the work table - so here I am showing you how to sew a few images on first. This really adds wonderful texture to the page. Maybe add one or two to each, and even the stitched squares that show up on the opposite side are cool.

Some of the sewed images before more collage:

I like to glue the loose threads with a touch of white glue - it will dry to invisible.

Then you are going to glue on more bits, and finally, the marker. Words, of course, might be an important part of your journaling process. I like to use letter stamps for the big words, then I often trace around the edges with marker to pop them out. I also think making marker lines around the photos helps hold them to the page and make the whole collage look more finished. For me, more is better, clutter doesn't bother my eye, but you stop when you feel done. The funky layers of images and color help my words flow at this point, and I just feel inspired by my own exploration. It's not about making something you will frame, it's about getting your feelings on the pages. So just enjoy! If you do too much and feel the page is crowded, next page hold off a bit. and with this heavy watercolor paper, you can go back with paint over the images if you like . . . . you might be adding these bits and pieces, marker doodles and lines, words and thoughts, for days and days to come on these pages. This is why I show you a different finished page here - soon, when the "lire and red" page above is done, I will post it here for you to see. So you'll have to come back.
and do remember: Fun Fun Fun -- anytime you get to play and express yourself, how is this not FUN?

and here is the cover of my latest journal, showing you how I use photos, a stamp, and lots of marker to get words and images to fill the pages. I often work many of the collaged parts at my studio, then I can take the journal with a set of markers to the coffee shop, or on a trip, and fill in the words and doodles in a leisurely and contemplative way. I can think of no greater joy than to make a journal like this, start it off with some paint, add some basic background images, then take it on the road to add local ephemera, doodley words and squiggles, and lots of ideas. A long train trip? Journal Heaven!

“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time.“ --T.S. Eliot

["E la fine di tutto il nostro esplorare sarà arrivare dove abbiamo cominciato e per conoscere il luogo per la prima volta."]

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