journals, visual journals, and book art

Where have the months gone? They have gone the way of sunny summer days- popsicle eating, kite flying, wave-hopping, sprinkler-running, and family road trips. And in between all that I have been preparing for teaching at EncaustiCamp in Salem, OR. I leave on Tuesday! I will be teaching two full workshops where we will be handbinding books and discovering ways to integrate encaustic with other media on the covers of the books and within the pages. I am really looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new connections. Last year was such a wonderful experience and I know this year will be as well.

sample of some of my books

Packing up and preparing for the week ahead has had me thinking about books, journals, and art journaling and how I have benefited from all three practices. I have kept a journal since I was young and my writing practice keeps me grounded and keeps me focused. I’ve always had a strange obsession with memory and perhaps even a fear that if I don’t record it, I will lose it. And so I write and write and write.

Art journaling has always been a way for me to connect my love for writing with my need to communicate visually. I have found that while just writing is revealing, my visual journal entries usually tap into something even deeper. Some things just cannot be captured with words, for me.

Spread 12 in an art journal on “Home”2006

Visual journaling has always helped me with providing a fertile ground for my imagination, experiments, and general playfulness. These entries are just for me, not to be exhibited or even shared with anyone else. Sometimes I’ll just write a list of my to-do’s for the day on top of a visual journal entry. Takes away the fear of “ruining” a page. Who cares! It’s fun. It’s about exploring.

And then there’s book art. I was introduced to book art when I was in high school by my my ceramics teacher and mentor Margo Klass. Book art for me is just such an intriguing way to work. I am able to think about structure along with concept. I am able to create a piece that people can physically interact with. It becomes something intimate, rather than distancing, as some art can be. Creating book art is a challenge, but a challege that is always worthwhile.

mixed media- one of my first books I made incorporating beeswax

If you are also a journaler, an artjournaler, a book artist- I would love to hear how you use these modes of expression for yourself. I love flipping through people’s journals, trying not to pry, but still- the life that is within the pages– always so inspiring! So, are you a writer? An art journaler? A book artist? How do they help you?



This photo was taken last month at the Zhou B Art Center’s 3rd Friday Art Walk event. I have my bowl paintings up in Studio 303 right now and they will be up for a little bit longer. If you are interested in purchasing, get in touch with me or Jenny Learner. Or stop by at the Zhou B if you’re local. It’s a really great building filled with galleries, exhibition space, and artist studios.


Jenny had set up her palette and waxes during the opening for people to experiment with some new tools. So much fun! Well, that’s all for now until after EncaustiCamp!


  1. Art journaling is truly saving my sanity right now as I am going thru a challenging time. Not to good at expressing my feelings thru voice or writing but putting paint and collage on journal pages gets it all out. And during the process my mind is free of all worry. I have several journals going at the same time for different media and reasons, some handmade, some purchased ( a lovely one from you once) and some repurposed books. Some I am willing to share, some are very private. I always like to try new ideas and techniques in my journals but also when I need to go back to some tried and true favorite media I enjoy. I do feel like my journals will be evidence that I was here, taking up a small place in the universe, living , loving, feeling, creating. Sorry for the ramble but this is something so dear to me. Thanks for asking and sharing.

    1. Carol, thanks so much for sharing your journaling practice and process. I have several journals too going at the same time. Some I won’t touch for months, others I try to keep more as a daily practice.
      I relate to what you said about the journals as evidence. That is such a good way to put it.
      Thanks again for sharing.

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