Back to Loving the Studio

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

Center of page: my 35mm slide mount journal

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.)

The braille journal is in the lower right-hand corner.

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.

16 thoughts on “Back to Loving the Studio

  1. This is very exciting! I’m so happy for you Quinn.
    I’ve always wanted to try playing with slide mounts. I have a whole shoebox of them somewhere. I think it’s cool that you’ve made art that even the blind can see. I love that your projects seem to have a way of including people who might otherwise be left out.
    Best, tj

  2. Pages looks like such a great publication…I will be checking it out myself. I’m happy for your positive review; I can certainly understand the importance of that to you after all of your work, effort, energy, and heart in your book’s creation. Perhaps an even greater congratulations is in order for your return to collage. It’s my personal first favorite form of all time!! Enjoy the messy.

  3. Congratulations on getting your work out there in print and also the positive review. The magazine looks really cool.
    It´s even more exciting for us readers when we see work by people we have some kind of interaction with.

  4. Yay, you! Congrats on the positive review and having your art published in the new magazine. I’m eager to see both the new magazine and the new creations from your recent time in the studio!

  5. Congrats! Of course your book gets favorable reviews though … did you doubt it? LOL. It always surprises me when a person I identify as being an artist (you) has to still have affirmation of it. I guess it does make me think that maybe I am an artist (a newbie for sure), but an artist.
    Are you going to do the book making course over at ART? I am nervous if I can keep up, but oh it will be fun!

    • It’s not validation as an artist–but liking a book is a subjective thing. Not everyone will like the book. I know that and I’m OK with it. But a reviewer who doesn’t “get” the book and doesn’t like it can also cost me sales. And when you write a book, you do it for yourself. When you publish a book, you set it out to the world for others to understand, not understand, make fun of or love. And their choices effect you emotionally and financially. That’s always a risk. I’m thrilled when a reviewer gets it. I am going to do the book making course at ART. I may not always keep up, but I am thrilled to be able to have a practice group to show things to.

  6. I am very happy for you on a few levels, for the fab magazine review and press, and for getting back in your studio. I look forward to seeing what you are up to. Made a new book myself last week, it is curious why we don’t do that every day.

  7. Congratulations on being published in such a cool magazine Quinn, and on another great review. I miss my messy collage work too when I don’t do it for a while, like now. Hope there will time + energy for artmaking in my week – and in yours!

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