Monday, April 30, 2012

Hiking, Art and Photo journals

A few of years ago I became involved in making altered books,and handmade art journals and photo albums.  As with many of my art activities, I soon became obsessed, like the first year I started painting, (I was in my 50's).  I completed 40 paintings.
Lately, since starting the book/journal making, I guess I've made between 30-40 over the past couple of years.  I can't remember since I give many away and sell them on my Etsy page.
So, of course, since my son, Jeff aka Loner, has taken up is great undertaking, this Magnum Opus of the outdoors, the 5 month or more hike of the Appalachian Trail, I've been using art as therapy (which I teach at our brain injury drop in center) and am making Jeff what they call in the scrapbooking/bookmaking world - a mini album.  It's a combined album/journal which has places (not slots like in a photo album) but creative ways such as fold out cards, accordion cards and photo mats to display photos as well as lots of places to  record journaling entries, keep lists, tuck memorabilia, ephemera and even 3-D mementos into various pockets and envelopes. This has become quite a large trend in the last few years and there are hundreds of videos on You Tube on the various techniques and styles.   Since Jeff is a light weight backpacker, he won't collect much on his trip (although I will try and convince him to send some back home) so I started collecting hiking, backpacking and AT related items form the first day we dropped him off at Amicalola Falls. And now I've started making him a mini book to keep as a reminder of all the adventures he has on his trip. They're called mini books because most scrapbooks are 12X12 inches. The one I;'m making for Jeff isn't really that "mini", it will be about 6X4 inches when completed and may end up being three or four books in a wooden box which I'll embellish to match the journals. 
I highly recommend this to any family member as a way of dealing with their anxiety over their At hiker! It's a great thing to keep your mind of the stressful aspects of thinking about your hiker on trail and the scary things that can happen and instead focus on the fun, discovery and excitement that our hiker is thinking about and really experiencing - keeping the worries more in the back of their minds than we do.
 Before my son went on this trip, I never considered making an photo/journal, art book for him.  Most of the materials, ephemera and etc. which I use for these books is aimed at women and children.  Only around father's day do you find anything masculine enough to use and while there are some things for campers, fisherman, cyclists and hunters, there's not much for hikers and so far nothing for hammock campers (so I'll have to figure out a way to make my own).  At first I made the rounds of Michael's, Hobby Lobby and A.C. Moore, finding a few things here and there. I did find the Jolee's Boutique camping, and fishing but not the hiking.  But not enough to use for the size of book needed to cover all 2,100 and odd miles!
But today, quite by synchronicity, I found just the resource I needed!  And so if any family member is making any kind of photo album, journal or keepsake box, boy do I have a good resource for materials. Wow! The online shop called Scrappin' Sports Stuff  is a goldmine of materials for hiking, camping, backpacking, kayaking - all in one place  (I'd already spent three hours this morning scouring the Internet and Etsy (where I did find some gems)!  And they had a hiking one from Jolee's  which I hadn't seen anywhere but which I love especially because of the sign and the gear!  In addition to dimensional stickers, they have 12X12 papers and even page layouts, die cuts, ephemera, ribbons (including a masculine one that has hiking boots footprints and the word "outdoors" on it, word stickers and more. I've already compiled quite a large wish list and will have to wait until payday to purchase the materials I'll need for the next 3 1/2 to 4 months.
As soon as I get further along, I will post photos of the book I'm making for Jeff.  I may have to post them on my other blog just in case he reads this one.  I want him to be surprised.  Do you think I've already blown it?  
Jeff knowing me the way he does, and who has seen me make these over and over may have already guess I might make one while he's away - or then maybe not, maybe he thinks they are only for women and kids. As a matter of fact I was maybe too dedicated to making one the night before we took him to Amicalola Falls - but they are great stress relievers to manage some of the stress form my job. But since I'd like to share the idea for those out there who could use some stress release tactics  I'll take the risk.  And here and there I'll add some tips and techniques along the way on here and maybe even get the guts to make a You Tube video which I meant to do before some of my books went to other homes.

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