Handmade journal goodness

Junk Journals

Some time ago, I had this idea to make a handbound special edition of some of my books – especially What Stars Are Made Of – and I was referred to Book Art Studio’s Dyed and Gone to Heaven workshop.

Well. It was not what I expected, and it revealed a love for scrappy bookmaking that had been hiding goodness-knows-where.

Last year, I made little handmade notebooks (that will be up in my Etsy shop by this weekend – promise!) and a couple of weeks ago I finally made the finishing touches on the journal I’d made at the workshop. I then made my own junk journal (named because they’re journals made from ‘junk’) to document my move to Dunedin, and then made one to sell.

Video: A flip-through of my personal junk journal.

The one for sale is called Humanis Corporis, which is Latin for ‘the human body’ and was inspired by some cool old images of the human body that I found online. I’ve tea- / coffee-dyed, and used some interesting old book pages from reference books, children’s books etc. There are also some sheet music pages, wallpaper, and plenty of decorative elements. It’s filled with pockets and tuck spots, and there’s lots of space for journalling.

You can view it on Etsy here – note that the price doesn’t reflect the quality, I’m just pricing low to start with as I slowly build my shop. I’m also taking custom orders, so if you like my style but not this theme, let me know and we can work something out.

A sampler of the pages #1

A sampler of the pages #2

Cross stitch hand-sewn binding.

Tortured writer solution: keep making art


The ‘tortured artist’ image has been countered time and time again, like in these articles by BrainPickings and Collective Inkwell, though in my research (aka. four-minute-Google-search) I also found backers of the stereotype, like here by Huffington Post and here byย Mental_Floss.

The idea goes that good art comes from suffering and pain; a chore that must be endured by the artist (who apparently has no say in the matter). The Huffington article goes so far as to say:ย Why should we invest in a work of art that was created without conflict, or struggle, or pain? Where is the challenge?

-There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.-

I painted a lot in high school, and intended to go on to study visual arts at tertiary level. I didn’t write creatively, but I eventually learned how to write a decent essay, and I often kept a personal journal.ย For both painting and writing, art-making was therapeutic and allowed me to process my thoughts and experiences. I understood the tortured artist idea to mean someone who feels suffering and uses art to process that.

My first trials in writing backed this up.

I had just been diagnosed with Depression & Anxiety, and there were a bunch of other struggles to boot. But I was enduring through this first draft despite the pain; feeding the myth.

In retrospect, it wasn’t the writing that was painful, but the process of learning how to write. I’d finished highschool, done a bachelors at university, worked for a couple of years… and now I was doing something completely new. Learning curves are named thus for a reason.

I’m now working on the draft of my fifth story, and by the fourth book I was thoroughly enjoying the process of writing. I was, in fact, having fun – none of this tortured artist rubbish for me!

Actually, book two was also enjoyable, but book three I struggled with, and for this writer itย wasn’t the writing, but the gaps in between. I’ve found that if I have too long a gap between creative production, I let the Voice of Doubt sneak in, and this makes writing (or painting) a struggle: while I’m trying to write my story, I’m constantly having this voice tell me to quit while I’m behind.

But while I’m in the story, in the painting, blissfully deaf to the voices, painting and writing are pleasurable activities; they allow to me to process, to explore, and to communicate.

The solution, of course, is to keep making art ๐Ÿ™‚

-Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.-