By nature, I am a total rule follower. I always arrive on time or early to appointments. In high school, I skipped class once and then felt so guilty that I went back and slunk into my seat during American History. And I always read a book from beginning to end even if I don't like it.
But look at this beautiful mess:
I’ve discovered something new that is helping me break all my own rules and if feels wonderful. Art Journaling.
This past year, after overhauling a photo album for my Auntie, I started digging the process of scrapbooking again. I did this a lot as a child and in high school.
On Friday nights, when my friends were going to high school football games looking for guys, I was home pasting pictures of “cute boys” in my scrapbook or hot gluing lace to pot holders.
A few months ago, while cleaning out my coat closet, I found an old suitcase full of art book binding projects from college.
Inspired by my bookbinding projects from school, and being a total fan of up-cycling, recycling and reuse, I had the the idea to make my own sketchbooks out of tons of old resumes, magazines and paper that I had collected over the years. I made three 5”x7” books with simple staple bindings on which to work concurrently. I started pasting. And drawing. And painting. And sewing. And I haven't stopped since.
In order to make these portable, I created a corrugated box to keep them safe while on the go.
I don’t regularly keep a sketchbook besides the ones I've been doing of Cookie, my geriatric bulldog.
Usually my sketchbooks are scribbled notes that I can’t even decipher after the fact, and rough sketches for ideas. I feel so pressured to make my entries “pretty” that I never even look back at the books themselves because of my inevitable disappointment in the page content. WAH WAH.
Right now it is 5:00AM. I am excited to journal. Today, I have an idea in mind for a page, but really all I've done yet is make coffee and cut out some images for later use. Slacker, I know. Rules, anyone? Anyway, my normal art journal routine is to grab a few minutes here and there and intuitively throw down some paint, images or glitter. I never work in consecutive page order and I always have two or three pages going at once. I often add elements to pages started months ago. It’s safe to say that any one page is never “finished” and I like it that way. It’s a very organic and liberating way of working.
And here’s the thing: I get so excited to “wake and make” these days that I regularly hop out of bed at the crack of me (Dawn, duh). I don't even know what I’m doing. I just have to create. My newfangled love for journaling excites and inspires me every day. Why? Because I am allowing myself to be free. To experiment, to play, to make mistakes, to make ugly art, and I love it all. My very neat and orderly husband probably feels otherwise, but, that’s another story. Bless his soul (and my mess).
You can call it a scrapbook, a sketchbook, a smashbook, an art journal or a travelog . I tend to think of my books as all of these rolled up together and I call them pure joy.
I think what I like best about journaling is that I am trying new things that spur ideas for other projects all the time. I was so into book binding this fall, that I decided to enter an exhibit: the Food for the Soul Train’s Tiny Book Show. I discovered this awesome team of creative people on Instagram and I'm so glad I did. The world needs more art, creativity and love and these ladies are doing a great job of sharing this stuff with the world. Check them out: www.food4thesoultrain.com
You know what? I'm so excited to share the practice of art journaling that I've decided to teach a mixed media class this winter at THE RICHMOND ART CENTER in Richmond , CA. My Portable Smash Book // Art Journal class is now open for registration.
Capture the memories of your creative life right now. Art journaling is about the creative process of pulling together color, words and images. It’s a personal mix of diary, memoir, travel log, notebook, scrapbook and sketchbook. So, why not create a book that is as unique as its content? In this workshop, we will create a beautiful pocket sized paper “playground” in which to wander, wonder and explore. Along the way, students will learn methods of binding, folding, and embellishing colorful blank pages in a truly liberating and meditative environment. Your only rule is to have fun. We will be up-cycling some supplies in this class and a list of the optional materials will be available online. Teens and adults welcome. $20 materials fee due to instructor.
▪ 4 classes
▪ Wed, Jan 20 – Feb 10
▪ 2 – 5 pm
I hope to see you there for a four week fun filled art adventure.
In my preparations for this upcoming class, I have discovered some great bargain places for acquiring supplies! I’m sure I'm late to the party, but, I want to share these with you just in case you are in the Bay Area and on a budget like myself:
Wow! have you been to this place? I was reminded of this warehouse store at a recent class I took at the San Francisco Center for the Book. SCRAP is a non-profit creative reuse center, materials depot, and workshop in San Francisco, California. SCRAP breathes new life into old objects and reduces waste by diverting over 200 tons of materials heading to landfill every year. You can donate any unused supplies to help support SCRAP's educational and community outreach porgrams, promoting creative reuse. This is a popular place among public school art teachers and is funded by the SF Department of Environment, the SFUSD, the San Francisco Foundation and members of the community. As if that all doesn't sound fantastic, I walked away with a large bag full of paper, notions and other doodads for only $4.00!
2. The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse: http://creativereuse.org
The Depot is another community art educator favorite as well as leading pioneer in the field of reuse. It was founded in the late 1970s by a group of Oakland Unified School District teachers for the purpose of providing ecological, reused supplies at low cost to educators with dwindling budgets and diverts over 200 tons of reusable material from the landfills each year. They accept a variety of donations and they barter as well.
3. Daiso: http://www.daisojapan.com
Daiso Japan is a Japanese dollar store. You can find almost anything here from food, to clothing, to cosmetics to ART SUPPLIES! Yes!! I purchased exacto knives. origami paper, glue, paints, pastels, rulers and tapestry needles all for $1.00 each. What a deal! And, there are several Bay Area Locations.
4. Joann Fabric: http://www.joann.com
Now, I have heard that this is not the best place to go for sewing needs, but I have found so many groovy items for creative use in their very messy clearance aisle: paper straws, yarn, buttons, and scrabooking supplies. If you are a coupon user, they always have great deals for those higher priced art supplies like canvases, paper and paints. Just browse their online coupons while you are in line to pay and let them scan your phone at checkout: http://www.joann.com/coupon
5. Dick Blicks: http://www.dickblick.com
This place has an abundant of pricey supplies as you may know, but if you get a preferred customer card (free) you can receive notices in the mail alerting you to special deals! I recently bought a block of Arches watercolor paper for 60% off. Thats the kind of high priced item that is worth buying at a proper supply store.
Do you know of any other Bay Area (or otherwise) treasures in which to buy art supplies at a bargain? I would love to add them to my list. Please leave in comments.
Thank you for reading! I hope you are making creating something wonderful today.