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My "scummy paper" journal.

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

So settle in my beautiful creative beings as I share the tale of

my scummy paper journal and I.

A few months back I decided to do some documentation. How cool thought I, to have a journal of inspiration, techniques, colour samples, quotes and so forth and so I began searching through the over 50 journals in my studio for just the right one.

I was drawn to a hard bound dark blue thick one. Its pages appealed so I started excitedly gathering elements to adorn it with.

Then the horror struck. Much to my dismay its pages were like some otherworldly blotting paper. Thick but super porous. No materials behaved normal. Even when I stuck pages together, used gesso or collage there was enormous seepage not just to the next page but through several pages at times. Sometimes with interesting effects (or not). It was impossible to move any water-soluble materials around on it. The more water you applied would just soak through for pages. And drying time? it would take days in the studio and if it wasn’t totally dry it would tear with second layers or attempts to use stabilo pencil. I took to baking it in our harsh Australian sun. Where had this nemesis come from? Even as a self-confessed journal junky I couldn’t imagine what would have possessed me to buy such a thing and for what purpose?

And yet I persevered. Maybe I was curious, enjoyed the experimentation or maybe I liked the challenge, but I learned to expect the unexpected. Not only have I been gathering information within its pages, but I often do entire double page spreads. Sometimes I find the seepage to other pages inspirational, I’ve learnt to give it time to dry or let it enjoy fresh air and sunshine. I’ve created a lovely cover for it.

I have embraced my “scummy paper” journal. I like how it takes me in different directions and I’ve accepted it for what it is. Most surprisingly I feel I will end up filling its pages. This is a first for me. Most of my journals are only partially full or have a few used pages or sit empty. I tend to work between them or more recently find myself working on loose bits of paper, cardboard and such. Except for my now beloved “scummy paper” journal which has become an endearing source of creative joy.


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