After following the youtuber jennibellie for quite a while, I was inspired to make my own recycled art journal. I feel like I don’t play enough with drawing and painting; pencils, ink, pastels, paints, etc. I recently realised I haven’t tried properly painting with acrylic paints since highschool, and I used to love them. I have a collection of a3 and a4 sketch books from my past attempts at studying design. I’ve always found the large-scale of a3 too intimidating, but that’s a really big stack of good quality paper just sitting there going to waste. Another youtuber, my favourite in fact, The Frugal Crafter, often talks about avoiding expensive materials because they make you feel hesitant to use, or rather to “waste”, them which is how I often feel and my materials go to waste sitting around gathering dust instead. But I love the idea of having a place where I feel free to experiment and learn, and am really pushing myself to work with my crafty abundance. “Use it or lose it”; I need to use them or give them to someone who will.
Anywho, so I roughly followed this tutorial for the cover and binding. I took a cardboard box that once housed some seriously delicious mochi balls. After flattening the box and gluing down all of the tabs for a little added stability, I covered it in some blue decorative paper and covered the interior with some black and silver paper. I put together five signatures of blank paper, mainly sketch paper, and three three coloured pages for something different in the mix. I bound the journal with a simple stab stitch, which you can learn from jenniebellie and also from Sea Lemon who has some great binding and hardcover tutorials. I pierced the signatures and cover with a thick, sharp upholstery needle and used a strong quilting thread to bind, adding blue, glass seed beads along the spine for decoration. Normally most book binding calls for waxed linen thread, but I was in a very “use only what you have” mood, I didn’t want to go out buying specific materials.
My first page is something that I kept adding to and working on here and there when I thought of it; I think it feels done but I might come back to it. It was a great chance to try some techniques I’d seen around youtube and to experiment with some materials, especially modelling paste which I’d never used before. It was almost entirely inspired by Vicky Papaioannou, her art journaling is awesome and amazing and I love it. And also definitely influenced by RachO113, her mixed media art is awesome-sauce.
I’ve already laid down the background for my next page, although I have no plans for anything beyond this, it’s just something I’ll play around and have fun with. I have a couple of beyond repair old books that I saved from the bin of a local book dealer, I really want to experiment further with using the lovely discoloured pages. I recently used the text pages as a background like this in a birthday mixed-media art piece for a friend of mine. I’ll need to remember to get some photos of it next time I visit her, I completely forgot to photograph it before gifting it, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.
The Frugal Crafter is preparing to do some mixed media art journal videos/tutorials which I’m really excited about. She’s mentioned on her channel before that she’s not an art journaler (hush, it’s a word now), but I guess she must get a lot of requests and questions about mixed media and art journaling, it is something that has become quite popular. I watch all of The Frugal Crafter’s videos anyways, even f I’m not wanting to make what she’s teaching, just because she has a fantastic personality, she’s really entertaining, and she has some great, inspiring ideas. She recently did a small haul video showing some materials she bought for her upcoming mixed media videos and the mixed media book she’s going to use has micro perforations so that you can remove completed pages. This is something I really hummed and harred about when thinking about art journaling, by doing the work in a bound book there’s no real way to display all of that work, and you can’t remove it or sell or frame which is an option I’d really like to have. I have a small collection of art and design pieces that I’d like to frame and display in my home at some point just because I feel good about what I’ve made. I feel like I wanted an art journal to play and experiment, not to make finished pieces, but if I do make something particularly nice I’m a bit bummed that I can’t display it.