Friday, March 13, 2009

An Everything Book

A conversation that I had last night with Bean got me thinking about how people use the visual journal, and I think that many times people pigeon-hole themselves into a certain way of working in the journal - which is perfectly ok, and the journal needs to be what it needs to be for people - but often we need to give ourselves permission to do something different in our journals. Often times artists get caught up feeling like every page needs to be a finished work of art. Writers get caught up feeling like they need to have only their best writing in the journal, and everyone gets caught up in their habits and their way of working. For Dave and myself, the journal is an everything book. It is a place to create art, a place to capture memories and thoughts, a place to experiment with images, words, and media, a place to take notes and work out ideas. In short it is - to steal a Keri Smith quote - "A Portable Life Museum". To that end I wanted to say something about documenting our daily journey through this world, and give people permission to include the mundane in their journal.

Fodder is a great way to document our daily lives - even the mundane elements of our lives. Collecting paper menus, business cards, maps, and even chewing gum packs or a to-do list is a great way to document and remember our lives. The above image is a photo of my open journal with fodder already glued in and it's all about the recent Cincinnati trip. So, there is the boarding pass for the flight from DC to Cinci, the LaRosa's Pizzeria comment card, the Lost Coast Brewery coaster from Dewey's, the airline luggage barcode sticker, and finally under the Extra gum pack is the spiralling tree cutout that I made of Bean's tree she drew in my journal - which is appropriate since she grew up in Cincinnati right around the area where the publisher's offices are. On top is a bunch of loose fodder waiting to be glued in throughout the journal.

So, these items may not have any significance to others, but every time I see them, I'll remember bowling at the Strikes and Spares Bowling Lanes, or trekking over to the Kroger grocery store, or paying 90 bucks for an overweight bag at the airport because I had six large journals in my luggage on the way back.

So give yourself permission to include the mundane or make something ugly or just to be human and make mistakes. But in the end, it is you who will need to decide how to use the journal, and it will become what it needs to become.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Collaborative Journal

When I returned from Cincinnati, a pleasant surprise awaited me - the collaborative journal that I am doing with Bean. I eagerly opened it and was once again blown away by what she had done in it. So, I had to scan a few of the spreads to share. The spread above has evolved since I first posted it back in January. I am really liking the layers on this page and the solidity of the "vines".

This spread was started by Bean stamping the blue-green circles near the center with what appears to be a wine cork. When I had the journal in January, I added to it by tracing my hand, collaging in the map of Asheville, NC and the Burt's Bees package, and writing a bit. She then added to it by tracing her hand, writing, adding the color, and collaging as well. Since I have gotten it back, I've added a bit of red and black ink.

I started this two page spread by tracing the circle, and cutting the left half so now the left half is a door the opens onto the next page. I then collaged in the neon green paper, stenciled the words "I want to be here" in red ink, and stuck on the word "synchronicity". The rest was all Bean as she meticulously drew in the radiating design, added the color which appears to be watercolor pencil and colored pencil, and added the writing with pen and gel pen.

I am enjoying the collaborative process so much, and I am astonished with how our two styles are meshing. I like the comfort and permission to add to a page someone else has started - to look for those places that "speak" to me.

Once again, I thank Bean for her work, dedication, and inspiration.

Monday, March 9, 2009

JFJ Return From Cincinnati

Dave and I arrived safely back at Dulles International Airport on Saturday, and slowly we've been getting back into the routine. Cincinnati was great, and things for the photo shoot went smoothly. Working with editor Liz and photographer Christine made the process very easy and very fun. It's always nice to meet people who can appreciate our sense of humor.

But the week was a good behind the scenes look at the publishing industry. We met with sales, marketing, and design people and got a clearer idea of the publishing process and a clearer vision for our book. The next step in the process is to write captions for the photos we took and to finish up the manuscript.

So we thank F&W Media and specifically North Light Crafts for the opportunity to publish our book, and we thank Liz and Christine for all their hard work last week and for basically putting up with us.

The above photo by Christine Polomsky is our concept for our author photos. It is just so us.

Spring 2010 is when the book will be released. We'll keep you updated.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Full Circle Moments

Over the last few years Dave and I have had quite a few full circle moments, but none were as big as Dave having the chance to not only see an exhibition of the work of Dan Eldon, but also to meet Dan's mother Kathy. Dave was in LA last week for the College Art Association conference, and luck would have it that the exhibition was going on at the same time with a reception last Friday, February 27. That is where Dave met Kathy Eldon. (That's Dave with Kathy above.) Anyone familiar with our story knows that Dan Eldon was truly the impetus for the Journal Fodder Junkies, and it all starts with Dave hearing about Dan's tragic story and his amazing 17 journals. The Journey is the Destination, the book published by Kathy that contains pages from Dan's journals has been a constant source of inspiration and motivation for us. We are truly indebted to Kathy Eldon for sharing Dan's story and his legacy.
This is a view of the gallery at Santa Monica College where Dan's photographs, journal pages, and journals are being displayed through March 21.

For more information about Dan Eldon, visit the website.