Monday, April 04, 2016

PBW's Book of the Month

My pick for book of the month for March is Margaret Peot's Alternative Art Journals, which is an excellent how-to on making journals in a variety of book and non-book forms.

Ms. Peot really works outside (and inside) the box with the projects she teaches in this book; she shows you how to make journals in very different ways. There are projects for journal makers at every level, too, from shoe box journals to a fun faux family photo album. I liked that the different journals could work for artists as well as writers, and that not every project was deadly serious (I think my favorite is the tiny tin journal made of painted eyeballs.)

Galleries of finished projects in every chapter offer a look at not just one but multiple examples of each technique. The box journal chapter is especially interesting, as it shows you ways to preserve any assemblages or collections you might have made or keep. I have a habit of saving all my Chinese take-out fortune cookie slips, as I think they're funny, and it would be neat to come up with a box journal to not only store but showcase my little collection.

You scrapbookers will probably love the chapter on tag and charm journals; that one features some interesting bundled and bound journals to try. I've never made my own scroll journal, but I think I might give that project a go. I felt an immediate, strong connection to the images in that chapter, and I think it's because to me scrolls were the first evolution of writer materials (I know clay tablets are older, but they're not paper.) It would also be interesting to see how I could tell a story with a scroll journal.

The project instructions are clear, easy to follow, and come with lots of photo examples and work-along examples. Some of the projects are also easy enough that supervised kids could make them. I think if you love to make your own books and journals, this is a great source of inspiration and direction to test-drive.

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