Wanna Save an Unloved Book? Diana Trout Shows You How

Now, before anyone starts whinging at me about how books are sacred and how you should never, ever take one apart for Any. Reason. At. All, let me give just a few examples of what really happens to unwanted books. Last night when we took the recycling, there were dozens–just piles and mounds–of books in the paper bin. You see this all the time. And then this: I tried to donate a set of old encyclopedia to our local Friends of the Library, and they told me nobody wants them. Nobody. They can’t sell them; they can’t donate them to anyone else. The only choice, they told me, is the landfill.

And what a lovely choice that is, right? We’re trying to keep stuff *out* of the landfill, not put stuff into it. While it would be lovely to think that every book was a keep-it-always book, that’s not the case. There are books that are never going to have a good home and are either going to make that journey to the landfill OR: become a work of art. That’s where Diana Trout comes in.

photo by Diana Trout

I got a newsletter from Diana about her online workshop, Rescue Book Art Journals, and I had to find out more. So I asked her a bunch of nosy questions, and here’s what she said:

What have you been up to since Journal Spilling came out?
I am continuing on: making art, teaching and writing my blog. While making art is the center of my life, the natural order for me is to then share that art, the ideas, the processes. Guiding students in discovering their own source of inspiration and encouraging a focus on being fearless enables students to build skills. This is really at the heart of my mission as a teacher.
What’s this book art workshop about?
In Rescue Book Art Journals, students will remove the text block from a lonely old book and refill it with a variety of papers for a new art journal. I adore books, and it always makes me sad to see them heading for the trash just because they are in a sorry state. Students will make an art journal (or two 🙂 completely personal to her/him. Some very basic bookbinding skills are covered. The excitement of building your own art journal with your favorite art papers and found papers and then (of course!) working within it: lots of fun stuff, such as tab ideas, surprise pages and starting to work inside your new/old art journal.

Rescue Books, photo by Diana Trout

How long is the workshop?
The class will run for 5 weeks and then be available for students indefinitely. Students can join at any time.
What kind of time commitment does it require?
That will vary with the student, maybe an average of  two hours per week. There are many ideas and variations on the theme so students will find plenty of inspiration if they’d like to spend more time and do more books. Since the class blog will be permanent, students can continue to come back at their own pace.
Can people interact with each other? How?
Absolutely! I’ve set up a permanent private blog. Each student is invited to author on the blog so they may upload photos of their books, respond to other photos and generally get to know each other. Participating in an online class is half the fun. Students are also invited to link up to their own blogs.
Do they have to show up at a certain time, or can they go at their own pace?
A new class with 3-5 lessons, with videos and pdf’s, will be posted each Friday. Show up any time you want and move along at your own pace. If your time is short, there are no worries about “getting behind.”

by Diana Trout

What’s the most exciting part about this workshop for you?
I’ve taught this workshop several times at various venues and it is great fun.  The time is limited in a live workshop and you have exactly the supplies that you’ve brought along. Teaching this workshop online allows the students to build the book at their own pace and then have loads of time to complete the project and get to journal in it.

by Diana Trout

What are you working on now in your own studio?
I’m working on a series of sacred books, still in the sketch phase, using paper cloth and stitch. I’m immersed in eco fabric dyeing at the moment and stitch. My little watercolor series of whimsical architecture and folks continues.
What’s next for you?
I’m excited about 2012. I’ll be teaching a week long class in Fabriano, Italy. I’m looking forward to another great year with The Sketchbook Challenge blog and doing online and venue workshops. Continuing. It’s all about continuation and exploration.
To see more of Diana’s work, visit her blog. You can find out more about the online workshop here.
Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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