To Break or Not to Break? Segmentation of Creative Outlets

It’s time for a new journal. I’m getting to the last few pages in my last one and I’m writing less because I know I have less space and no replacement yet- no good! So it’s time to bind another book. Or multiple books?

Like I do when starting a project for someone else, I started by assessing what the end goal is. Aaaaand got very confused. The broad goal is to express myself- ahh how cliché and seemingly easy! The trouble is that I want too many things from one product (again, clichéd but real). My new journal is for writing. And visually brainstorming. And also for *hopefully* doing adorable watercolors while on my upcoming trip to the UK. And I would really like it if it had a little folder in the back, and if the covers were made with that green cloth I made into bookcloth…


 So here’s what the beginning of my brainstorm for the new journal/travel journal looks like, plus ideas for the teeny tiny altoids tin travel watercolor kit I’m working on (more on that later)

Building a new book- or any new artwork, happens in stages for me. The first is all small arrows and notes- brainstorming visually by hand, on paper. Then I take out materials, and I hem and I haw. Digging around through saved bits of paper and treasures helps a lot. Tonight I was briefly entering into this stage of the process for the new journal, but I kept running up against deciding on whether to break things up or not. Will this be the one journal to rule them all, that I use every day until my trip, use as my travel journal and continue to use after, or should I make smaller books of different types of paper- some watercolor, some drawing, some toned, and use them each for different drawing or watercoloring purposes while writing in a purely text journal?

Would it be possible for me at all to do a text-only journal?

Part of the package with this journal is designing how it will function in its completed state. I’m shying away from the scrapbooking aesthetic of assembling everything once I get back from the trip. I’d really like to be able to do pages that incorporate multiple elements, especially writing and watercolor- but I want different paper for those things. And what if I run out of room if I only bring little snippet journals of specific paper? I would be hosed! Do I feel like bringing an every-day writing journal, a watercolor sketchbook, and a drawing or travel-specific journal too though? No. Definitely no.

So with notes from bookmaking classes and How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith out on my desk, I’m searching for a livable answer. The travel journal example in that book, based on a concertina spine that signatures are sewn into, could be a great structure for me to use, but how to structure-or segment- the signatures?

Is this just what happens when working in multiple mediums? Or can there be a pleasing way to unite all of them? Any suggestions super appreciated!

Recall- Personal Archives and Building a Story of Self

It’s so easy to be blinded by present circumstances. In the post-grad struggle to find balance, and a career, things often feel too catastrophic to handle. What I realized I needed was a check-in with my own archive up to now, my own story. Just in my head, it’s difficult to cast back the net and pull up mid-August 2013, but with my journal archive, where I’ve collected my ideas for four-ish years now, I could find that in fact I was working on a 30-page paper about my experiences working with the First Nations Health Authority in Vancouver. That was a great internship at an even better organization, but wow- I’m so glad I’m not writing that paper right now. Another journal says that in 2012 I was in Vancouver, but struggling with body-image issues. Another says that last year (definitely better than this one on paper) I was on a boat up desolation sound eating apple pie I had baked with my mother from windfall apples. This took some time, and it would have been easy to just fall into old emotions and not take anything but nostalgia away from the exercise, but instead I found that I could see my growth when I looked back. I could see that over this past year, even if I don’t have an apple pie in my fridge at the moment, I have so many new experiences that have shaped me as a person. I can feel that I’m in a good trend- which makes it easier to keep going.

It strikes me that stories of self can be built in many ways. Mine up to now has been primarily through hand-written journals, but moving forward will fold this blog into it as well, and ideally more photos and drawings. How do you build a story of self? Tweets? The Facebook machine? Maybe your own blog or archived text message conversations- I’d love to know