Why I Love Art Journals, Redux

Yeah, I added that last part because I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before. Of course I can’t actually *remember,* so who knows? But what I’m thinking about this time around is the newest book from The Journal Fodder Junkies, Journal Fodder 365.

You can watch my Book Notes video about the book here.

So I’m looking at the book and taking photos, and I start getting all this stuff going in my head about clothing, snippets of ideas I want to add to garments. Here are some of the photos I took for the video and why I love them:

art journals

Stenciling on fabric is one of the basics, of course, so anything with stencils always sparks ideas. I like the idea of drawing something directly on the garment–like the hand here, except, you know, your *own* hand–and then adding paint and text. You could always just trace around your hand if, like me, you’re not a drawer and then stitch it. If you’re going to paint on your clothes, go ahead and invest in some good fabric paint in basic colors. I like Textile Paint by Jaquard–get the basics and mix your own colors. Easy and fun–I’ve been doing it for years, and it’s definitely one of those things: if I can do it, you can do it.

art journals

I love the layers on the pages above. Anything you can do on paper, you can do on light-colored fabric using fabric paint, appliqués where you would glue collage pieces, stitching where you might use thick marker lines.

Text, text, and more text. I’ve been obsessed with adding text to my clothes for as long as I can remember. My current favorite way is to cut letters from cotton jersey (think old t-shirts) that I’ve ironed to fusible webbing, iron them onto the garment and then stitch them in place around the edges with a running stitch in a contrasting color of embroidery floss. Warning: this can be very addicting. You’ll want to add words to EVERYTHING.

Again with the layers–I think I’ve got a new obsession here. You can add photos to garments: scan, print (either with an Epson printer with archival ink or onto pre-treated cloth, widely available online. Google “printing on fabric”), iron or stitch (or both) in place. Embellish. You can get by with a lot if you heatset properly, turn your garment inside out to wash on the gentlest setting, and then dry very carefully (either hang to dry or air dry). Of course, you could always just handwash stuff, but I guarantee you that never happens in this house.

I like the idea of cutting out shapes and using them as a resist for sponging on color. Cool results.

So that’s what this book sparked, never mind that I don’t keep a journal at all any more, much less art journals. You never know where excellent ideas are going to be lurking, waiting for you to discover them.

(Turns out I *did* write about Why I Love Art Journaling.)

Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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