I have been using a studio journal for many years now. When I first started dabbling in fiber arts, I just wrote ideas down on scraps of paper or printed out pages from the internet and had them all around the house. This turned out to be a very poor system! So I took an online course about using a studio journal from Sharon B. of Pintangle and have used a journal ever since. The classes that I take from Gail Harker also have me use a studio journal so I have lots of different ones now.
Choosing a journal is a personal thing. I have found that I like different sizes depending on how the journal is being used. If you have never used one before, don’t go out and buy the most expensive and prettiest journal you can find. Try using a notebook that you already have around the house. Many people get a brand new journal and then they are afraid “to mess it up”. Don’t treat your journal as an “art” journal. Every page doesn’t need to be beautiful. Use your journal as a tool. You may just use it to list what you want to accomplish each day, use it for sketching ideas or pasting in pages torn from magazines that catch your attention.
The type of paper in a journal will make a difference if you are planning on painting the pages or doing a lot of mixed media in the journal. I have found that either heavy weight drawing paper or paper that is made for a variety of media, work best for me. I do use a lot of paint in my journals as well as glue and sometimes even stitch. However, I do use a journal that has fairly thin paper and it actually still works OK as long as you aren’t distressed by paint bleeding through to the back side of the paper.
One of the best things I like about keeping a studio journal is being able to look back through my old journals. Many times, I have written down an idea that at the time either wasn’t deemed worth trying or just got forgotten. By looking back, I might find new inspiration from an old idea. The other neat thing is what I call the compost effect. You put all your ideas down in the journal, you add some things you saw online, you write down a quote or two and all of these kind of mix together, compost and bring forth an idea that might never have happened any other way.
So, do you use a studio journal? If you do, I’d love to hear how you use it, what’s your favorite type of journal, do you make a special cover for your journal or do you just leave it plain? Leave a comment or come join us over on the forum.