Thursday, August 2, 2012

That Travel Journal Again

As I prepared for my visit to Los Angeles a few weeks ago, I sorted through bins of the blank books I have made in hopes of finding one I would like to use as a travel journal. They all stared at me. Not one was willing to travel. I would have to make a new one.

I rummaged around in a bag of discarded book covers that a friend gave me, and picked two covers that seemed durable and possibly waterproof as well. After trimming the boards to a size that would fit in my backpack, I wrapped one edge of each board with decorative paper, tore and folded a couple large pieces of Stonehenge printmaking paper for inside pages, stenciled some of the pages with black gesso, and set about binding the book as a Coptic with paired needles (pp. 181-183, Making Handmade Books). I used a different color thread for each needle and tied the paired ends together inside the first signature. 

I have found that traveling light and limiting my supplies helps. Here is what I pack for a plane trip:
  • Faber-Castell Artist Brush Pens, variety of colors (waterproof and lightfast). These are brush markers.
  • Pencil and white plastic eraser
  • Pigma Micron Pen Black, .05, .005 (permanent ink). These are pigmented fine tip markers.
  • Avery Permanent Glue Stic, 0.26 Oz, Clear (acid-free, photo-safe). The best glue stick that holds for any length of time.
  • Handmade journal with hard covers and thick paper: printmaking papers such as Stonehenge or Lenox printmaking paper (250 gm/sq.m) that will hold collage as well the pen drawings.
  • A small rounded-end scissors or a hole punch (optional)
  • Some waxed linen thread wrapped around a small piece of cardboard (optional)

Since I was driving to L.A., woohoo! I could also bring my sharp and pointy tools and other favorite media. I carry the sharps stuck into a wine cork. All my tools fit into a Medium Art Bin. Additional tools:

Some thoughts came up way back in March, when I visited NYC (posts of some of the pages here):

  • Take your time. Use one page for each event such as museum visit, hike, dream, or dining experience. Don't try to cram a whole day into a page. The book you've brought probably has plenty of pages that you won't be able to fill, anyway.
  • Think about and try out three kinds of lettering styles; use one for titling, one for emphasis, and one for the events of the day.
  • Cut or tear out parts of printed ephemera such as paper bags and take-out menus and use a few interesting pieces instead of trying to use everything.
I was ready. I had a tote bag that was just the right size and that felt satisfyingly full. I had envisioned drawing, writing, or making designs on the black gesso with the gel pens (I was thinking of Tico and Gond Art), but that didn't happen. Instead of a travel journal, I ended up using the book as a notebook and writing the mini-stories that would become the basis for my new mini-fiction blog. So it goes.

There are many artist/writers who are very good about keeping and making lovely travel journals. Two artists I admire in this department are Judith Serebrin, who makes illuminated journals with small paintings and calligraphy, and Andie Thrams, who makes painted nature journals.


Patricia Anne McGoldrick said...

This book is beautiful!

Friends of Redwood City Updates said...

Thanks for the shout out about my work Alisa! I think ttravel journals are the most fun. What a beautiful and informative blog! Best, Judy

Alisa said...

Hi Judy,
Thanks for dropping by! If you ever post pages of your journals online, please let us know!

Meanwhile, we can see Judy's haunting and beautiful sculptures here: