Sunday, March 1, 2009

adding layers

pages 2 and 3 of my layered journal
This weekend I started experimenting with layered journals. I've been stumbling across all kinds of sites on the web with pictures of people's journals in process. Some of these have a very specific set of instructions for people to follow to create their own journals,such as Caspiana, but many are just fascinating collections of individual works. I'm not much of a direction-follower, myself, and I'd rather assemble my own prompts, so instead of starting at the beginning of a series I decided to make my book non-linear and to spend the weekend setting up the pages. I collected text from books I love, such as Paul Bowles The Sheltering Sky, Thoreau's Walden, and old dictionaries. I cut images from magazines I subscribe to. I printed out copies of photos I have taken. I collected materials from the little piles of "stuff" I like to collect on walks. I started pasting these into my journal without thinking so much about what order they go in, and only minimal attention to layout. I mixed up the clippings from the books so there is no linear relationship to the scraps of text. I left pages in between the inclusions, and lots of empty space for things to be added later on. I gessoed over the text with a thin layer of white, paving the way for the variety of mediums to be used in future layers.
The idea is that over the next few months I'll focus on an idea or a question and find a page in the journal that seems to correspond with it. Then, I'll add layers of writing, painting and additional collage. I think this kind of excercise works best with a specific focus, in the same way the commonplace books explore a single idea or book, and I'll be working on developing that focus over the next week. Right now I'm thinking about using the journal to expand my thoughts on my developing yoga practice and its influence on my creativity.
This was the perfect exercise for me this weekend, because I was able to work on it in small bursts between writing papers and curriculum, and then was forced to stop for long periods because of the gesso drying time, so I was actually able to get schoolwork done, instead of being consumed by the project. It's a sort of forced balance, which is good for me right now...

6 comments:

Rose said...

I love the idea of creating a journal like this! I have found Caspiana's tutorials great for helping me learn the techniques and I shall finish it off so it is a complete set but I am already finding myself drawn by ideas of my own. I also love the idea of creating a journal from scratch, binding and creating a cover. I really look forward to seeing how your journal progresses!

Wandering Alice said...

Thanks Rose. I've been thinking about binding my own journals as well. I made a larger book last year, and bound it with ribbon. But, I find it hard to open and close, so I'm trying to figure out a better way to fix everything together. Hopefully you'll post yours and give me some good ideas!

Lydia said...

What an astonishingly beautiful thing you started this weekend. I will look at the link and do some reading on this. I hate instructions too and in fact have unfinished projects because of that.
Nothing against the scrapbooking crowd, but that has no appeal for me. But thhis layered journal concept has a rather mystical appeal for me. (Now I need to get going on the cluttered room upstairs to make it a project/yoga room.)

deandean said...

hello..I'm a new follower.

Be visiting your blog from now on...

Wandering Alice said...

I agree with feeling somewhat mystical while doing this kind of journaling, especially when you discover that the words peeking through the gesso relate or enhance something you have written on top of them. I think this type of work really helps people make connections between seemingly unrelated thoughts, and I find that helps me push my other art and writing projects to the next level. Plus, it's kind of fun to play with all the random art supplies.

Chasing the Moon said...

I love this idea of journaling! It has inspired me to pull out my dream journal and get working on it again, but with a new vision.