Cult of Stuff part 1

Stuff. I need more stuff.

AC Moore just sent out a 40% off coupon. So did Michael’s, and Hobby Lobby, and Blick sent me a 20% off and Utrect sent me a free shipping on orders over $25, and Cheap Joe’s sent me a 10% off all orders over $50, and Jerry’s Art-a-rama is having a sale on…..

Sometimes the sheer amount of art and craft materials available is overwhelming.

When I used to walk into an art or craft store about 20 years ago I made a beeline for “my aisle” of art goods, you know the sketchbooks, paint, drawing tools and that stuff. Now that stuff is in the far corner of the store like eggs and milk and I’m forced to walk past the giant sale displays of stuff.

Aisles and Aisles and Aisles of shiny toys.

A hundred different types of glue.
Pre-mixed glazes.
Additives for watercolors, acrylics and oils.

It’s so easy to pick up a rubber stamp that fit my needs. So much easier than carving a wine cork or an eraser. Or what about some of that premade ephemera? It’s ACID FREE and ARCHIVAL! Why cut my own stencil when I can buy one? Look at all the rolls of shiny tape! I could make my own with plain white or colored but it’s so much easier to just buy a roll.

This is how we end up with totes and drawers full of stuff we don’t really use, stuff we bought on a whim like those really cool looking sandals that ended up being fabulous to look at but were hell on the toes.

Art journalers tend to be collectors of stuff, as is we’re documenting our lives in tiny little notebooks* and collecting our thoughts, why not collect the stuff to make it easier?

But where does it end? Soon enough you aren’t documenting YOU but your stuff. How much of you is in that journal that is layered with Time Holtz masks, Tim Holtz papers, and Tim Holtz tapes that don’t stick, and inkadinkadoos rubberstamps, that you made by following someone’s instructions in Art Journaling Magazine. I know what the next thing you are going to think/say/write and it’s, “But, Less, I didn’t go to school for art. I can’t draw. I can’t paint. I can’t make my own tape. I can’t…..” My response is, “Have you tried? Have you sat down with the materials and tried?”

Because THAT, the trying things out is what an art journal is at least partially about. Sitting down with your pencil, paint, and stamps and figuring out you. It’s meditative practice. It’s getting in there, getting your hands messy and figuring YOU out. It’s getting the mess out of your head and into the journal.

You know what it’s absolutely NOT about? Making a pretty designed page. If you want to make a pretty designed page start a scrapbook.**

Yeah I said it. Scrapbooking is about design and making pretty things. Art journaling is about exploring your inner and outer world, it’s not always going to be pretty, hell, some days it’s going to be downright ugly, while on other days it will be beautiful.

My point is, I, and you, don’t need all that stuff to make our art journals. Put down the Tim Holtz tissue tape-ology*** gun (remember it doesn’t stick anyway) and pick up the flier from your favorite coffee shop and some elmer’s glue, your journal and an ink pen and tell me all about it.

If you are new here, this is your first visit, please realize this is a (so far) 4 post rant on stuff. Feel free to head here to read the rest of my tirade. Also, please don't assume that I hate pretty pages or would sneer at your art. This rant is about empowerment not judgement.

*Le Tigre reference for giggles

**That is not an anti-scrapping sentiment BTW, if you want to scrapbook with paint then call it that but don’t call it an art journal.

***C'mon you KNEW I had to rail on his tape one more time, didn't you? You haven't been reading this blog for very long then…