Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Everything Book: Allowing Life to Enter

With the reviews for The Journal Junkies Workshop popping up on various blogs and on, I've been thinking about what separates the Journal Fodder Junkies' approach from many that are out there. I think it boils down to one thing: We use the journal as an Everything Book. I know that I have brought this up in other posts, but I want to bring it up again. We don't worry about having "pretty" pages or finished pages or deep, thoughtful pages. We merely throw everything in there. It is a place to heap our thoughts, our ideas, our experiences, and our experiments. The depth, meaning, and completeness emerge and develop as the journal becomes that living document of life.

These two pages illustrate that point perfectly. There's the mundane - a key card sleeve from an Asheville Sleep Inn, a Burt's Bees lip balm package, and the doodles. There's the special - a flyer from a friends art exhibit (which I unfortunately did not see). There's the reflective and the deep - the truth quote and the list of reflections. There's the finished and the unfinished.

Many people get caught up in making these finished works of art for each page with deep themes and related imagery, and that's fine. Each person works in the journal his or her own way, but we approach the journal as a catchall - a place to dump ourselves, store memories, and process life. It is a special place simply because there is the freedom to include all of life - a scrap of envelope, a meaningful quote, a photo, or a random thought. And like life, the journal isn't always polished, complete, deep, and extraordinary. It can be messy, random, and unfinished.

So, I encourge people to break out of their normal journal habits, and try something different - try to bring in more of everyday life or try a different media or try a different mode of working. Allow the journal to reflect you and your life more.


tgarrett said...

I agree and love that part of your approach- Make it real. I introduced visual journaling to my collage class that started this week- Your book is right there as an important resource.

Kimber said...

Such a good point that I need to remember at all times. It's MY journal and not a work of art. It's for me to try things and experiment, record life and I don't have to like everything or make it perfect. Life is not perfect! Work in progress...always! Thanks for the excellent advice!

Cheryl said...

Wow! I thought I was the only one. I put everything in there. I use my intuition to tell me where to glue things or what color to paint.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I have to say that I bought your book a few weeks ago, and while I have not sat down to really go through each thing I really LOVE this book. I did a review on amazon about it and I said that I wish that I had this one when I first started art/visual journaling ( about 6 months ago!) There are several great books out there on art journaling but your book brings something different to the bookshelf, the mix of techniques, encouragement and ideas are great! I am learning to find my voice in my visual journal and I struggled a lot at first with how it should look, what it should be fore etc.. Again just wanted to say that I love the book and congrats!

Anonymous said...

I have a question. When you put movie ticket stubs in your books, how to you protect them from fading?

Eric said...


It all depends on how the movie ticket was printed. A lot of receipts and movie tickets are printed in a thermal process and will fade and darken over time. If that's the case, you could always photocopy or scan them first. But I just glue them in, and I don't worry about anything fading or anything being archival. That's not the point of my journal. Hope that helps.