Making Art Journals: Journaling and Binding
From the Cloth Paper Scissors Team, by Barbara DelaneyWhether you're new to art journals or someone who has always had a journal (aka the diary of your youth), an art journal takes on many roles. Both new and seasoned artists have expressed the importance of keeping a journal. Some people use a journal as a to-do or memo book. Others use a handmade journal to write down things they hear or see that touch and/or inspire them. Some artists try out ideas, products, and techniques in their journals. And still others have a separate journal for each of the above uses.
In the January/February 2013 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, Artist Julie Fei-Fan Balzer speaks to the importance of keeping a sketchbook (or journal). Julie happens to be one of those people who works in a number of journals at the same time, and often more than one in any given category. Julie never gets rid of her journals, as she says, "It's fascinating to see the changes or even be re-inspired."
Julie's tips for how to make an art journal:
- Don't buy a new journal. A new, empty notebook or journal can add to the pressure to create.
- Fail gloriously. What's the worst that could happen? More importantly, what's the best? You might just discover something amazing along the way.
- Leave your expectations behind. Embrace whatever comes your way. Grab hold of whatever seems to be working [for you] and run towards it.
- Choose a daily project. Try to make art every day.
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In the Summer 2013 issue of Pages, you'll find a number of approaches and great art journaling ideas.
Artist Kelley Spurgeon says her custom journals are "a place to document my life, good and bad, experiment, and fulfill my need to create on a daily basis." Kelley has a mixed-media approach to art journaling and says she uses everything in her stash. Her journals are colorful and inspiring.
Some of Kelley's recycling tips for your handmade journals:
- Think twice about throwing away paper products. Glue them to your journal page and paint over them for a thick, sturdy page.
- Give an old book a new life as a journal.
- Buy something new that you don't know how to use. If you find you don't need it, don't like it, or don't want it anymore, donate it!
Once you have established your journaling style, you may want to venture into making your own custom journals. Whether you recycle covers from a hardcover book; create unique covers from papers, metal, or leather; or just want to bind individual pages to create your own special journal; you will want and need to venture into the world of journal/book binding. Artists use everything from CDs and drink coaster to etched metal and driftwood to create interesting covers, and they use a variety of journal binding methods.
Here are some journal binding options:
|Journal/Book Binding from Sharilyn Miller||Journal/Book Binding from Gina Kim Lee||Journal/Book Binding from Joan Ragan Kallay|
- Sharilyn Miller, one of the artists from the Summer 2013 issue of Pages has a beautiful binding using the Coptic Stitch (seen above, left). She offers detailed instructions and illustrations for the Coptic Stitch on the Cloth Paper Scissors community.
- Gina Kim Lee has a wonderfully simple method for binding individual pages (Pages, Summer 2013). Create an accordion-folded paper the length you need, place the individual pages between every other fold, and then stitch them in place. See her binding in action above, center.
- Kari McKnight Holbrook offers simple binding techniques, using rubber bands and chopsticks or pencils, tape, and ribbon, in her Cloth Paper Scissors workshop DVD: Backgrounds to Bindings.
- Joan Ragan Kallay teaches the classic Japanese Stab Binding in Pages 2012. An example of her binding can be seen above, right.
Whether you use a spiral-bound notebook, stash individual papers in random ways, or create elegant, hand-bound journals, journaling is a wonderfully creative endeavor. Find what works for you, grab some creative art journal ideas, and enjoy the adventure.