Friday, January 22, 2016

Random scrap paper collages

In this previous post, I explained how I like to create a Midori journal insert made of random scrap papers, trimmed and sewn into signatures with no organizing plan. When the pages are opened, the random combinations really do inspire interesting collages.

After inserting the booklet into my journal cover, I will add this and that (images, ephemera, stickers...) for a few days, until a page spread seems full enough of images and words. I try to leave some blank spaces for journaling later. To take this book of partially complete collages to a coffee shop or on a hike gives me a kickstart in creativity when I sit down to write.

I don't worry if the words I write complement the collage, although they often do.
I also open the book to any page to begin work, no need to follow the sequence of pages as they appear in the book. (A date stamp helps keep track.)

Most of these images were cut or torn from a National Geographic I happened to have on my desk at the time. Another trick I use is to NOT plan the collages, I simply take the pictures my eye is attracted to. When the left brain/control center/rational thought process is removed, I seem to connect more with the right brain/intuitive/creative/emotional side. The work ends up feeling more relevant and real than if I had controlled the process.

and here, some of the collages before I add more words:

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of 
arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid 
in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, 
and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"

--Hunter S. Thompson

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Mixed media owls with Tibetan thanka background

“Quand le hibou chante,
la nuit est silence.”

(When the owl is singing,
the night is silence.)

--Charles de Leusse

Monday, January 4, 2016

Journaling in a Midori

Japanese Midoris are a system for journaling which are well-made, compact and flexible, not to mention portable.  They have totally changed the way I journal . . .  I am now using them as my art journal, calendar, note keeper, to do list, etc.   My habit of only journaling in hand-made books worked for me for quite a few years, but I find now I need more flexibility and the Midori journal really achieves that. It's smaller, refillable, and a pleasure to hold.

The system is basically a heavy leather cover with elastics that can hold in any number of inserts which you can buy or make yourself.  I like to combine a few plain-page purchased inserts with some scrap/junk paper inserts that I make myself.  I also like to add pockets and clips to hold paper supplies and ephemera, so all I have to do is grab some pens, double-sided tape, and perhaps some inks and stamps, and I am ready to take the show on the road.  It's so nice to have a separate section for lists, reminders, and day-to-day tasks, and another section for calendar items, and a third for pure art journaling.

Here is my cover, and a few of the inserts I have already filled up.

To start making a junk-paper insert, I like to gather pages from the pile of large books from the thrift store.  I use a tear bar to tear out the pages, and pile them up in random order.

I cut the papers into 8 1/4" x 8 3/4" sheets using my amazing paper cutter, and I then fold them in half.
The extra scraps of paper left over make nice small pieces that fit nicely into the little pocketed folder I made in my Midori, useful for collage.
I assemble the folded sheets into signatures.  (It's nice to also include some blank papers so the pages are not all covered in images.)  A signature is just a stack of folder papers.

Once assembled, I trim the signatures' edge so they fit neatly into the Midori cover.

I use my sewing machine to sew the signatures (you can use a large straight stitch, or of course, sew them by hand if you prefer.)  I tie the thread ends to hold them together.

It's fun to see the random arrangement of papers; it kickstarts my creative brain to have some image or color to work with, so the collage doesn't start with a totally intimidating blank page.

I insert the signature booklet into the elastic band. I like to insert one junk page signature, along with two blank page booklets.  Since they stack, you end up with alternating sections of blank and picture-filled sections.

A page ready to collage!

Assembling my journaling materials and I'm off. It helps to use binder clips to hold the book flat.
Some ephemera, stamps, glue, pens, ink, and a page is done.

“A good journal entry - like a good song, or sketch, or photograph - ought to break up the habitual and life away the film that forms over the eye, the finger, the tongue, the heart. A good journal entry ought to be a love letter to the world.”
― Anthony Doerr

and more Midori ideas can be found at my Pinterest Midori Board

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Journal Letter

I recently organized my studio, and now my bookshelf full of journals . . . 

 . . . is right by my desk where I can see it.  Whenever I am stuck or bored or need a break, I can scoot over and choose a book to page through, and this morning, I happened upon a journal letter from 2008 that I made with a journaling friend, Laurel, then from Pacific Grove, California. I even got to fly out at one point and meet Laurel in person, which was a real treat. Laurel is a gifted artist, and her generosity in sharing her art was so cool and inspiring.

It was so fun knowing the pages I made would be enjoyed by another human holding the book in her hands, and not just shared on line.  and if I was stuck, knowing a person was awaiting my work also was a little kick in the pants to boost my creativity out of it's stupor. Connecting with another artist through mail and collage and art journaling is really a great way to start the year, if you are wanting to up your journaling commitment in 2016.

So here is the cover, and a some of the pages from our shared journal letter: