The fat envelope that came in the mail got tossed on my desk so I could make the cranberry sauce and the best sweet potato pie I’ve made in three years in time to eat it on the same day as the turkey. It wasn’t till hours later that I could open the envelope. It contained Cloth, Paper, Scissors’ new issue of Pages, the magazine for art journaling and book making.
Pages has 144 pages of bookmaking, binding, inside pages, art journaling samples and cover ideas. There are names you will recognize, like Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, Jane LaFazio, Traci Bunkers, Lisa Engelbrecht, and Kathryn Antyr –all working through projects I’d like to make. I found myself settling in with the magazine, something I don’t often do.
And then, settled in, I saw Raw Art Journaling reviewed favorably. Be still my heart! My favorite quote from Jenn Mason’s review is this sentence “. . .you don’t
need to be able to write or draw to experience the benefits of journaling, and then [Quinn] goes on to provide projects and chapters that back up this statement.” Yes, it’s wonderful to read that the editor could see what I wanted the book to be.
Even better, on page 11 and 35 are my 35-mm slide-mount journals. One of them is made with braille paper–it has a real message that can be read by both sighted and blind people– and the other one is a collage. I had sent in the images so long ago that I was surprised when I saw them on the pages.
OK, this is sounding self-referential, even to me. But it’s been a hard few weeks. (I tend not parade the charnal house side of my life on my blog as readers may be eating breakfast. And I prefer to figure out what I’m supposed to learn from the mechanically-separated-meat part of my life before putting it in my blog.)
Seeing something you haven’t thought about in months can be a jolt. I suddenly realized that I have missed collage and missed doing work in series. The joy of series is that you get to work on the art of the piece instead of the details, which are decided on at the beginning of the series. You get to chew on the interesting problems and solve them–dig for meaning.
I spent hours this weekend in the studio, working. I’m not showing the results here because they are still in the mechanically-separated-meat stage. What does that mean? It means I’m making a big mess and haven’t found out all the answers, although two pieces are in the book press and I’ll be able to check on them in a day or so.
Here’s the meaning part I’ve learned. I moved away from collage for the worst possible reason–because I was looking for something new and fresh that would prove to me I was an artist. And after this weekend, I remembered how much meaning there is in collage, because collage can be as new as the artist who makes it. It can be used in journaling, to tell a story you can’t quite write yet. Or to tell more of a story than you know. And that’s where I’ll stay for a while.
Thanks, Pages, for getting me back to the studio and back to work.
–Quinn McDonald is a writer and art journaler who works out her life in a small studio that’s also a guestroom. She is the author of Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art.