Tuesday, February 9, 2010
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!