Tuesday, March 31, 2009


A friend once described me as a brambly, overgrown sort of woman. I really like that description. I try not to impose rules on my journalling which makes unruliness the order of the day/year/century. This year, especially since last summer, I seem to be feeling more and more chaotic. I have a lot of different journals for different things, from reading journals to my chronological "americas-test-kitchen" free-for-all experimental do whatever I please journals. I like to work within constraints, but I've just (thank you, Ianto) had to slap myself for trying to impose rules on myself again. A few months back I thought of the idea of using bill and junk mail envelopes (especially patterned safety papered windowed ones) for journal pages. I made covers out of used manilla envelopes and used a zutter machine to bind them together. It was a pretty amateurish attempt, the holes are less than perfect and I didn't trim them at all. I've used layers of crackle paint on the cover to make it look like an old cabinet door that had been repainted several times and abused and left out in the rain. Then I started gluing pieces of handbills pulled off of Hawthorne SE and 21st NW wooden power poles, the more weathered, the better. I used Uhu for awhile, but it didn't get magical until I switched to Yes! which added just the right amount of stiffness for pages. I tried to utilize the windows as well. It was looking just raunchy (not a bad start) and then I started adding borders which pulled the open pages together. Some of the borders are wide strips done with Copic markers, some are the computer feed hole strips pulled off of invoices, and whatever else I might come up with. I liked the idea of repurposing the materials. But then the inevitable conflict arose of when to say enough is enough. I got there today. It can't be entirely repurposed material unless I want to alchemically turn something into glue and something else into paint. So, I'm going with the tide on this one and just feeling the direction as it occurs.

I'd considered finishing volume seven (which requires binding) first, but it's just become an arbitrary constraint. So, I've been painting and wiping (Juliana style), and utilizing my collection of nouns in it, getting ready for another layer. I'm not exactly sure what the next layer will be. I ran out of paint halfway through, I could either use another color or get more, but when I started writing in purple Caran d'Ache neopastel, I kept writing even when the painting ran out, and even on pages that didn't have anything glued on them, so it will be interesting to see what happens on pages that get the order reversed.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mindful Textillian

I had a quiet hour this morning and spent part of it layering sewing pattern piece tissue in my journal. The paper is very fragile and Yes! glue is the consistency of honey so it was a slow, deliberate process. I found myself silently chanting a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quote that I find timeless:
All things must change, to something new, to something strange.
It was a pleasant and mindful process which is something I love about journaling. I've begun doodling flourishes, lines, and other things with extra fine markers just for the slow, mindful process. I love the feeling. I love the way things feel both tactile and physically. I am a Textilian. One of things I like to glue into my journals is rose petals (an idea I borrowed from my beautiful daughter, Bhride--first you convince them to art journal and then you borrow their ideas). If you flatten them (unabridged dictionary works for me), then gluestick (oh, holy gluestick) them down, and do not put any thing over them (I tried botanical glue, it did not work) you can touch them and they are like velvet on your page.
Lately I have been laying paper on paper, and I love how it stiffens like paper mache. I love the feeling of the starchiness. I could glue pages together, but it doesn't really appeal to me (one day it will--I just haven't found the right situation thus far). I've been mulling over how to add fabric to my pages, so far I've used ribbon. But I tend to go for a grunge look that I haven't figured out yet for fabric, maybe tea dying and iron burnmarks, spilled coffee and bits of lace, apron pockets and hankies. Or just a book for swatches and a magnificent cover. A fabric fondle book of sorts.
It amazes me how much just spilled out of my head just then--putting ideas down tends to make them morph and grow.