On My Workdesk . . .

Note: Thanks for the 76 percent of readers who would read a newsletter. Another 11 percent said “It depends if I like it.”  So, it looks like I’ll be starting a newsletter soon. Stay tuned–I have to create a space to sign up and get the first copy together. Thanks for voting!  Congratulations Barbara I –you are the winner of Marney’s book!

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While I’m working on the Commonplace Journal, ideas began to bubble to the surface of my brain. Many of the pieces I work on are now looseleaf pages. Why?

Looseleaf pages

  • let you create more than one page at a time
  •  allow you to work on different stages at the same time
  • let you to turn the page in different directions while you are working.
  • give you more freedom in color choices–you don’t have to worry about pages that back up to each other and don’t coordinate
  • Don’t have a gutter or a wire  coil to work against
  • Let you separate private from public pages (important if you teach)
  • Encourage sorting through your work in ways that a book doesn’t
  • carry a smaller package of looseleaf pages to work on instead of a bulky book

The very idea of “book” is a closed object. We think of a row of spines, books closed in.

bookrowNow suppose you store your looseleaf pages in such a way as to invite opening, sorting, reading them, even cutting them up to recycle them into new pages. Now that’s a real art journal.

In the Inner Hero book (coming out in January), I have several suggestions on how to carry looseleaf pages. But the one I remember best from Middle- and High-School is the three-ring binder. It’s practical, it is meant to be opened. It lies flat (it really is lie in this case and not lay).

Binder1The big binder shape is a little awkward, but that’s where I started. I used a recycled binder, a naked one with no creepy plastic. Note that the outside edges are offset. That’s fine. When it’s full of paper, that will disappear.

Binder2Using, gaffer’s tape, I covered the space around the ring mechanism and the place where the Japanese Washi paper meets the book-tape edge on the outside. (You’ll see it in the next photo).  Gaffer’s tape is a woven cloth tape, very similar (but less expensive) than book-binder’s tape. I mitered the corners and glued the washi paper down.

Binder3Although this Japanese paper looks delicate, it can take a lot of abuse. It’s dense and tough. I glued it with PVA book glue, being careful not to stretch it, so it wouldn’t warp the cover. You can see the black gaffer’s tape that protects the join of the paper to the red cloth cover on the spine.

Binder4Using map pieces and the index for the atlas of maps, I created a collage for the inside covers. You can see the effect of taped edges on the left compared to un-taped on the right. I taped both sides to make the book look neat.

The first thing that went in was the 27- page quote collection I printed off yesterday. Then some other inspiration pages. For now, this is going to be the reference journal.

Coming up next: Smaller three-ring binder journals, about 7 inches x 10 inches. No, they won’t fit in my bag, but they don’t need to. I now carry looseleaf pages in my Monsoon Paper carrying case. (below)

papercaseI’ll be teaching Monsoon Papers and the carrying case on Saturday, July 13, at Arizona Art Supply in Phoenix. Save the date, details will be on my website soon.

How do you feel about using a binder to hold journal pages?

-Quinn McDonald is prepping four classes, one online and three in-person.