Tuesday, February 9, 2010

elastic thoughts

2-8-rubber-bands

2-8-elastic-thoughts

2-08-book-covers

2-8-books

2-8-open-book

2-8-stacks-of-books

do you find rubber bands irresistible? i do. i've made those dumb balls out of them, wrapped them around stacks of envelopes to feel and look efficient, wound them around rolls of paper to hear that satisfying snap, and i may have even zinged one or two across a classroom in high school. but i had never thought of using a rubber band to hold a journal together until i stumbled on the fabulous book journal spilling by diana trout. so that's where i've been this past week - lost in a creative explosion, giving my stacks of forgotten papers and rubber bands a new purpose.

the recipe is quick and simple. cut a piece of thick watercolor paper for the cover and 6 pieces of paper for the inside (just slightly smaller than the cover, so they won't peek out the sides), fold them over, and snap a rubber band around the spine. that's it. 12 pages or 24 sides in total, just right for an on-the-go jotter. the beauty of the rubber band, in addition to being such a wonderfully plebeian binding, is that it enables me to change the pages in an instant. when i find myself rolling my eyes at something i've written or drawn, i can chuck the page - or if i manage to consume it all, i can easily replace the filling and re-use the cover.

i tested a bunch of watercolor papers for the covers (too many on hand for my own good) and the winner was a utilitarian 140 pound cold press paper by strathmore. it is thick and durable enough to take paint and a rubber band without collapsing, yet soft enough to fold easily along the grain without the need for scoring. i cut my cover sheets into 6"x5.5" pieces to make a 6"x2.25" journal when folded - a little smaller than the size of a checkbook - but you can make them in any size. for the inside pages i used standard writing paper.

the most fun, of course, is the process of groovying up the covers before folding and binding. i used water soluble pastels for the background washes, prismacolor pencils for resist and layering colors, liquid watercolors for dramatic splotches, pieces of my inked/painted papers for collage, and microns for doodling and lettering.

i don't buy mixed-media books often but i'm thrilled i made the investment in journal spilling. it is stuffed with suggestions on how to turn everyday objects into journaling tools, and it is a very accessible, technique-based guide that lends itself to nearly any artistic style. the clincher for me is how diana writes - she is encouraging, positive, gets down to business right away, and is supremely funny. she recently did a great podcast with ricë about the book and you can check it out here. so, mixed-media artists, looking for a kick in the pants? you'll get it with this book. if you get sidetracked for a year making projects from it, however, please do not snap at me!

48 comments:

Bella Sinclair said...

OOH! This is a nifty idea! I just love it when you explode. The colors alone are enough to inspire. I think I must invest in a bag of nice CLEAN rubber bands. Mine are those wimpy blue ones taken from bunches of scallions. Yours look like they have great snapping action! BWOING

LOVE that tin of pastels, too. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! I'm sure Napoleon would not be happy to be called a Sour Lemon, though. HA!

jane said...

ok, i just bought it... thanks!

rachel awes said...

inspiring, superfun, beautiful aimee!! yahooooooo! love this! what a great idea...oooh, such pretty trees you made! & i just love the look of your writing. what a yummy looking pile this all makes. xox

Laure Ferlita said...

Can't wait to try this! Thanks for sharing the idea. Love your fun covers!

Diahn said...

what a wonderful idea! thanks for sharing it!

your journal covers are so lovely and inspiring - i think i'll go try my own...

Jeannine said...

Such a great idea and I love how yours turned out! I can totally see spending hours! days! weeks! entire seasons! making these. Now I just need to find some rubber bands (the kitties like to take them, see).

:)

tink-ink said...

Love your covers, love your Napoleon tin, LOVE the idea to be able to change out pages!

Clutterconqueror said...

You know, I just bought that book a few weeks ago, and I absolutely love it. It actually shows, very simply, how to the things I'm seeing other people do. I love that. And I don't know how I missed the rubber band thing. I'll have to go back and read some more...poor me:)

Shelley Malone said...

What a great idea!! I love little projects like this that I can get the kids to do too. This looks like it will be our next Saturday morning special... only I don't know if I can let them near my watercolour crayons. I guess I need to work on my sharing skills. And now I have one more reason to covet that book. You are a wonderful enabler!

Becky New said...

Inspiring as always!!! :)

Karen Blados said...

What a wonderful idea and it's perfect for the kids! They always want to draw in my journal and I've given them castoffs in the past, but now they can make this kind. Thanks for the great idea!

aimee said...

thanks all! the super thing about this project is that you can make it a 10 minute quickie or go all out and make them for months. if you already have the book, it's in the field guide section toward the end - there's a paragraph about it on the lower right hand side.

Tyggereye said...

This is great! I love oil pastels. these are gorgeous. I love that tin!!

Leah said...

super duper coolness! love the simplicity of this and how everyone will already have the tools at home (who doesn't have rubber bands laying around?)

cindy said...

we have a ball of rubber bands in the office that is the size of a softball, it is so neat because lots of people have added to it. your projects are so good for us even if we don't get to the laundry or take a shower before 4 pm ;)!

RawArt said...

I live in the desert, and rubber bands don't last more than a week or so before they deteriorate. I discovered that ponytail holders (Yep, they come in colors and sizes) work really well, and you can mix and match the bands to the covers!
Thanks for showing us how colorful and fun this can be!

icandy... said...

These are FANTASTIC! What a great idea, those colors really make them pop!!
My brother is a KU grad and my son lives in Lawrence! We are in Atchison... small world!
OXO
Christina

peggyfussell said...

You and your good ideas! Ok, this one is going on the list....

Inner Toddler said...

love it.love the art too! and that little phantom sentiment - way to sneak that one in. you sneak, you.

aimee said...

the phantom quote is from a passage in labyrinths by jorge luis borges - one of my favorites!

thanks all for stopping by - great to see new faces! :)

Phoenix Peacock said...

Thanks for the the inspiration!

Holly said...

I do I do I adore rubberbands! My son is six and he hoards them!

Your journals are soooo happy! Such great colors. I'm going to have to get off the 'puter and make some of my own.

Pravina Studio said...

What a lovely idea!

I never seem to have a need for a rubber band, but I always have such a hard time just throwing them away! I am also fond of the giant rubberband balls myself...

籃球 said...

Since it is the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.............................................

aimee said...

i couldn't agree more, mr./ms. spammer...

lori vliegen said...

you make everything so fun....even rubberbands! LOVE your pages....but, then i always, always do!!! :)))

Carmen said...

What fun! I just love all the color you use... so uplifting and inspiring!

painted fish studio said...

how fabulous! i'm in love with this post and all of its pretty pictures.

nathalie et cetera said...

love the covers you made. thanks for the tip!

Nina Crittenden said...

Very cool, Aimee!

L'Atelier said...

what a great idea!
i am going to check out the book- but think i should not get one until next month- am so busy at moment no time to go off doing anything off the programm
i loooove your booklets and cant wait to see what else you will create next!

~Valentina~ said...

Super Inspiring!! :) Thank you Thank you for sharing!

likeschocolate said...

I like the tin. So cute!

michelle allen said...

you are just going to town! lovely colors, BEauTIful!

●• Thereza said...

yes, it's a cool way of binding!
i did bind a book with rubber bands a while ago.
great colour explosion!!

steve said...

Very inspiring post Aimee. This is great - the way you get creative and document it to share with us!

Le blÖg d'Ötli said...

Funny and lovely elastic thoughts ;) I like this idea...

la ninja said...

okay, I haven't read this yet 'cos I started misreading "elastic thoughts - do you find rubbers irresistible? I do." and thought to myself: "that one's just lost it again and I'm not sure I'm in the mood for this right now."

then I saw the pics and realised you're not writing about those sort of rubbers but still, I'll read it later. I'm sure it's riveting. :P

(where's your repurposed stuff, btw? I expected you to have tones to show us. no pressure, like.)

Aimee Cotton Bogush said...

Ooo, I just found you! LOVE your site and your art. Looking forward to exploring more ;-)

Christine said...

Thanks for the link, Aimee - She's great! I watched her video, and is just so inspired. Great stuff - thank you.
And I do like your watercolours! And now rubbered :-) I love it.

Have a sweet weekend :)

6512 and growing said...

I'm only an artist when creating with my children, but I do love coming here and getting a contact high off your inspiration!

xo
Rachel

Lynn Fisher said...

I love, I love, I Love all the color and fun you're having here...I'm running right out to take a look at this book!
As usual, great post and photos...I keep my crayons in a tiny tin too!

aimee said...

thanks everyone! i love that tin too, and never stopped to think that napoleon might not take to being called a sour lemon. no idea of its provenance or age - my college roommate passed it along to me years ago. perfect for pastels! these are the caran d'ache water soluble pastels/crayons - not sure if you can get them at michaels, but most definitely at an art supply store.

BT said...

What a brilliant idea, and so simple. I daren't buy another book, I have so many projects to start and too many books unread! I do have lots of rubber bands however......

Paula said...

I just stumbled onto your blog, such inspiration!! I LOVE that tin for your WC crayons.
Much Love

EMR said...

I love working with paper, and especially making little books. This is an easy but excellent idea and quick to make for a last minute gift. I have downloaded it and will link you to my blog. Thanks for the inspiration.

freebird said...

Now you can see people really do look at your links in case you wondered. I just got that book today as a Mother's Day gift from my son! I have to get off the computer to look through it and that just might get my fingers off this keypad! Thanks for sharing how you do some of your stuff. It is definitely appreciated.

Diana Trout {Nan.DT@verizon.net} said...

I love your blog! Full of color, fun and inspiration. What a wonderful spin you put on your books. Just fab.