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Sometimes I make journals in boxes. I pre-cut journal cards to whatever size I think would be comfortable to work with. Typically I have a specific goal in mind. I might be traveling with a new group of people and be unclear about how much drawing time I'll have so I'll want something portable. In such a situation I might not want to take a book to journal in because I'll only just get it started. (Note: this has actually never happened. It seems that no matter how big a journal I take on how short a trip I end up filling, or very nearly filling, the book; leaving just enough pages for some photos to be included. I think I have some sort of internal metering system that clicks in.) Other times I might have a notion that I'll do more collage than a typical binding will allow. Some journals which will be accompanied by "specimens" such as "The History of Lint" (red box, center back, with glass topped jars) can only fit in boxes.

I don't have many "rules" about these types of journals, but there is one rule that's a hold over from my regular visual journals: no pages get thrown away. It's sort of an invisible sewn binding that keeps me honest and hard working all the time.

Some journals start with a color scheme. I'll paint (and sometimes collage) large sheets of watercolor paper and cut them down. Other times I'll cut the cards to my desired size and then collage or prepaint them individually. My Door County Journal is the most serendipitous example of this. I left some 9 x 12 inch cards blank, but painted and collaged others. When I painted a yellow car I found I had the perfect background card to collage that painting to, and so it went the entire trip. I used all of the 25 cards that I took with me.

The State Fair 2003 journal required a box when I was done, so I made one using light weight wood used for model making. Of course I painted it to match the cards. The blue journal above began with the box. Painting the cards to match followed. "The History of Lint" is an altered cigar box. I had the samples and fitting them into the box actually determined the size of the journal cards. I would consider this more an artist's book/journal than a journal, as it deals with my thoughts and ideas about something that has already happened (my dog was dead by the time I put it together). For me a journal is an in-the-moment kind of thing.

Whether you're making journals or want to make an artist's book, the boxed approach has some definite advantages that you should look into.

You can see the complete contents of the Carving a Day Journal and the State Fair 2003 journals in my Journaling archives (Go to Fun, and select Journaling). For additional examples of what I call unbound journals which are not pictured above check out the Madison and Door County Journals in my journal archives. After October 2005 I'll be posting my State Fair 2005 journal which is also an unbound journal.


Artwork © 2000 to 2003 Roz Stendahl; All Rights Reserved
Photo © 2003 Tom Nelson; All Rights Reserved