{journal #12, test prints, & artful journals}

Inspired by the beautiful stitched journals by Traci Bautista and all the yummy posts of journals created in Mary Ann's most recent class, I decided to do something a little different for Journal #12.


Despite my deep love for spiral journals, making my WISH journal reminded me of the distinct feel of a hard-bound journal...those wonderful pages that turn like an old, loved book, the way you can run your hands clear across two pages....those wonderful attributes that distinguish a hard-bound journal from a spiral.

Don't get me wrong, I love my spirals. They're great for curling up with in a comfy chair or in smaller spaces; I often draw up my knees, fold back the journal, and work on a single page. But I wanted to play with something different.

I am in love with vinyl. I adore those cute Asian journals with the nice vinyl covers, how it feels under your fingers when you hold them. So, after playing with thinner vinyl for the WISH journal, I decided to use a bit of the thicker stuff bought to make another WISH one on #12.

And then, of course, there was the canvas.

test prints

Play is the best way to create art. After two failed attempts to screen print on canvas tote bags, my father and I decided to grab some canvas to test out a. the new squeegee we bought, and b. the amount of pressure and ink needed to successfully print each image (I'll go into everything I've learned about Yudu printing in another post.).

So we squirted ink and pulled images and mixed things together. Each panel was a beautiful rainbow of subtle color printing my own artwork and ink writing. There's defiantly a difference between painting directly on canvas and printing on it, just the feel and new realm of possibility. All the colors and places and repetitions.

Combining the test print canvas panels, a hard-cover journal, and a temperamental sewing machine, I created Journal #12, the test print journal. I've never really done anything like this before; as I mentioned, my sewing machine is temperamental and the bobbin doesn't really work right. Let's say you sew a straight stitch. Turn the fabric over, and you'll find a huge mess of twisted, looped fabric. I wouldn't sew any clothing or, well, anything that defiantly NEEDS to stay together with it, but playing with fabric for a journal? Sure.

This is what you get for $60 at Walmart.

There are several theories as to why this happens, the most prevalent being that, not knowing how to load it at first, I took the entire thing out instead of the small bobbin cover. This news taught me how to do it right and earned the machine a few whacks that successfully realigned it...kinda.

Suffice to say, whenever I want to sew with the thing, I need to do a few test stitches before using it on my actual piece.

Even after stitching for awhile (as it seems to be like my old car in the winter – you've gotta let it warm up a bit before it runs nicely), the thing would skip stitches when using the zig-zag. Which is okay, as this was an artful piece and not perfection.

#12 detail

A side note on perfection: it is very hard to let go of this need to make everything perfect, even with meditative art. Sometimes, you just need to let go.

I guess I'm like the old car or cheap sewing machine, too, because after working for a bit, I finally warmed up and started to lose myself in the creation of a fabric piece. Much like when I work on collage pieces, I just GO. Grab random pieces, cut strips and blocks, put things together oddly. I somehow bypass that part of my brain that thinks and let creativity flow through me.

These last two journal-making experiments have really shown me something new. I find I'm looking at creating journals, that, instead of being vehicles of art contained solely between the covers, I'm seeing the journals as pieces of art in their own right, beautiful creations that only increase their beauty by what I put inside them. I never put much thought into the journals I worked in; now, I find creating beautiful journals on their own is a grand new adventure.

the completed journal!

I may put some up for sale soon, as I did before the holidays. But long ago I learned that I have to enjoy the pieces I'm making or else, well, I'll never make 'em. I can't just roll out a bunch because I need inventory...I need to let it happen naturally. Then again, with all the fun I'm having, that may happen sooner than I thought.