I like lots of visual "noise".
What I mean is that, although the IDEA of a minimalist lifestyle sounds incredibly appealing, in reality I'd go completely mad within a day. I need to be surrounded by colour, by interesting items and collections, artwork and books....they cover every surface several times over! I keep anything that fascinates me - retro toys, action figures, fossils, statues and models, shells, light-catching crystal clusters, feathers - ANYTHING that will distract, inspire and enthuse me somehow. I dunno - it keeps away the brain-demons and sparks creativity, even on the grimmest of days when the weather's mean-looking and grotty and light is bad and I'm feeling grumbly or ill.....SOMEthing will catch my eye and start me thinking down a new path.
Now....given that my entire home and studio are pretty much one huge inspiration hive, you'd wonder why I need an inspiration journal? Ok, well, ONE reason is that it's simply yet another excuse to have more books - and to MAKE those books, which is a hobby I do so very enjoy... Another is that sometimes I need to draw in my focus (no crappy pun intended) and narrow my view a little, otherwise my brain will swim with too much imagery and colour and idea-trifle and will get NOTHING done at all. It just sucks it all up and gets fat and lazy and won't produce anything useful at all! So - exercise my brain.... To this end, mainly, I have several books where I stick or draw or paint quick images, colour samples, patterns and ideas and i try to keep them a little more themed....Many themes = many books. I have some just for sticking down pictures of faces, hands, folded cloth - more for reference, in a way. I have books of poetry snippits or quotations or affirmations.... books of patterns and designs.... some of words and text shapes and styles. Each is helpful in its own way. It nails me to that path which is very often what I need.
Anyhoo, enough with the rambling... I've taken some pics of one of my journals. It was created during one of my whim-driven moments after watching The Vampire Diaries (silly awesomeness - magnificent yummy eye-candy) and I decided to make my own "Vampire Journal" to display in my study. It was really easy and fun to do. The cover:
...was made from a scrappy piece of thin card which I backed in a dark DCWV Heirloom paper with textured leather-ish design. I added some red mica paint onto it for that blood-splattered look and heat dried it. Then I coated it HEAVILY in matte mod-podge and left it to dry. Took a while. Had a sandwich. JUST before it was completely dry, I smooshed my palm into the glue, repeaedly, gently but firmly to allow to glue to take an impression of skin (kind of) and to make the ridges and folds in the surface. When it was completely dry I repeated the proceedure and allowed to dry again. When dry, I added some dark ink with a compact sponge, and some Treasure Gold 'Classic' gilding wax, then sprayed liberally with a satin laquer. It looks exactly how I wanted it to - like leather or hide - and it feels gorgeous.
For the inside I used a selection of papers I had spare from other projects - I folded and trimmed them into three signatures and decided to just tie them in with waxed linen thread. SO easy! Then I had some fun burning and tearing each page and splattering like a loony with more mica paint. I wanted it to look old and used and abused and it so does! Ha!
Such fun to do! I added a couple of altered, inked envelopes with wax seals and some feathers:
...and sort of immediately decided that this would be my book for the weird and wonderful...images, colours, textures that would spark ideas for spooky or surreal art...a jumping off point for allowing the quirky ideas to have some space to grow. I try and group images together, although I'll add to them at different times. I'll try out colours, various media, textures - all sorts of stuff!
(pic: vintage images and textures- crumpled, inked tag, irridescent feather, k& co cut-out vintage leaf tag with thin, heat-dryed layer of Glossy Accents stuck on to vintage French book page, A couple of cut outs from Graphic 45 and 7 Gypsies.)
(pic: a few printed vintage images (see The Graphics Fairy ) and a play about with layering paints and inks and glazes over a spare embellishment I had lying around)
(pic: I enjoyed the comedy of these images - I do see the one on the right as a drawing to inspire courage and inventiveness, whereas the other on the left is what happens when idiots are allowed to run free with their delusions! Bless 'em... Just makes me smile is all...)
(pic: being in a Wonderland state of mind. Choosing my colours for an Alice project which is still yet to happen. I think I like the idea of using feather imagery a lot.....I think)
(pic: Found the vintage image of the formation bees and loved it! Had to stick it in the book and have a couple of ideas to play with, but THEN found the Queen Bee lady! How awesome is she?!? She had to go in the book - love the costume and the vintage look)
(pic: I liked the colours - that's about it. Now and again I'll ad a thing - like the vintage fur snippit, or the rub-ons etc. The point is that this will give me an idea for SOMEthing at SOME point. )
The book's there as a means of collecting ideas REALLY quickly - and quite randomly. It's not meant to make much sense, or be planned, or even be pretty, it's just storing ideas for when I need them.
Adding layers and new bits and bobs can spark ideas for using words or phrases, which in turn can help kick a distracted brain into touch.
I know this won't be for everyone, but this book was SO much fun to make and it actually looks cool open on display, which is rather nice. I think it's important to find what works for you. Some people know EXACTLY what they want to do when they sit down to work on a piece, some people prefer to map out a concept from beginning to end. Some work through a sketchbook (I know I'd be stuck without mine) and some have scrap books or smash books or art journals - and some have a bit of everything! There's no right or wrong about it, in my opinion.Whatever's right for YOU - go for it!I don't know if you'll find this useful, or even interesting, but I hope that somewhere along the line it might be handy for someone. Have fun! - Shroo :)x
ps - yes, when it's finished I'll add some beads and charms to the spine. It's my treat for completing a book and not leaving a bajillion blank pages like I normally do because I get distracted or bored and make another book. Beads & charms = personal 'good girl' reward system!