Monday, 28 July 2014

Junk Journals: Perfectionism VS the lure of the cardboard box


Hello hello.

I've been curating, compiling and selling Junk Journal 'bits' packs via my Etsy shop for just around 4 months and making my own junk journals / mini-albums made from recycled materials for a lot longer - about 6 years in fact and so ...

... if you haven't tried putting one together yet I'm going to try to tempt you to give it a whirl!

And I'm relying on this - the main weapon in my arsenal - to help me convince you:
Empty cardboard box
Yes, my main weapon is an empty cardboard box! And yes, I'm hoping that it will encourage you to try something new to you ... by reconnecting you with something from your past.  Let me explain ...

You remember how it used to go? [Actually I'm willing to bet your parents have probably never let you forget!] ...
  • you were a kid
  • it was your birthday / Christmas / special occasion
  • someone [usually those parents-with-the-long-memories] was kind enough to buy you the big shiny gift you'd dreamed about / written to Santa regarding / highlighted in the Argos catalogue
  • you were over-the-moon, took it out of the box, set it all up and played with it blissfully until tea time and then ...
  • ... you turned your attention to the cardboard box it came in!
Maybe you climbed inside it [of course you climbed inside it .. who wouldn't!?] ... and maybe it became the sailing ship in which you crossed the carpet ocean.

Maybe you put it on your head [again ... of course you did ... and if you're anything like me, you still do from time to time ...] and maybe it became the space helmet which protected you from an alien atmosphere.

Maybe you tipped it on to its side and drew windows and doors on it transforming it into a bespoke doll's house, or a shop, or zoo.

And maybe you cut it up and made wings, banners and all kinds of props for the shows you'd put on ... in front of parents who sat there slowly shaking their heads while mumbling wistfully "after all that we could have just bought her the cardboard box"...

Sound familiar? Good, because what I'm trying to say is this:
Remember when a cardboard box used to offer you a world of pressure-free creativity? Then welcome to the world of the Junk Journal.
Don't get me wrong, I love a brand new paper crafting supply, fresh out of the box, as much as the next crafter. But the thing is ... I like to use the box too!
 
Meet my newest complete junk journal, which documents some special moments from May, the covers of which were cut down from ... guess ... yep, that's right ... a cardboard box!
And yes, I've covered up the majority of it but I'm in no way hiding it.
 I love this style of mini-book journal call-it-what-you-will:
  • It's imperfect; in fact, I'd go so far as to say it's the mortal enemy of perfectionism!
  • It's eco-friendly; it recycles / upcycles all kinds of cardboard, paper, book pages and ephemera.
  • It's creative; there's no right or wrong way to assemble any of my packs - nor any of the supplies you pull together for yourself. You get to reinterpret all the reclaimed supplies in your own way, to suit your own photos or stories or favourite colour schemes.
  • It encourages 'just go for it'-ness; what's the worst that can happen? If you go wrong ... just find another cardboard box or old book page! This messy collagey style, using less-than-precious materials works best when it wonky and slightly shabby ... it feels more authentic somehow. Sort of like the crafting equivalent of Lieutenant Columbo...
  • Alternatively if you're more of a painty inky type who uses paint over their 'junk' bases ... it works on the same principle. There's nothing precious being 'spoilt' by any so-called mistakes.
Here's my attempt at journaling using my fairly new-to-me old typewriter:
 ... it's hit and miss ... I'm not denying it! I covered over some mistakes with patterned paper and white-out tape while I left others there because, really ... who cares?!

If I'd wanted 'perfect' I'd have spent time typing it into a text box [which I'd have had to have measured so I knew it would fit] in a word-processor, spell-checking, then printing it out.

But I didn't' want that. I wanted retro, nostalgic and edgy ... and I wanted it then and there. While I was in  the mood. When I had the chance. While it was fresh in my mind.

But if I had wanted to start afresh? Well, it would have cost me the price of a new index card. And that wouldn't really have broken the bank. Or my heart.

This page from my May album - made from a recycled clothing label with a scrap of patterned paper and a die-cut leftover surround stapled to it - embodies the whole idea of junk journaling ... it's just a more relaxed way to craft:
And often ... once you've let go of any fear about spoiling your new project by making a 'mistake' or trying to be perfect ... that's when you do your best work!

So ... how did I do? Did I succeed in tempting you over to the imperfect side?

Are you metaphorically [or even literally, I won't tell anyone!] climbing back into that empty cardboard box of your childhood?

Will you allow its attitude of 'you-can't-hurt-me-so-you-might-as-well-just-dive-in-and-enjoy-me' win you over ... again?

I do hope so!!  Make sure to let me know it you try your hand at junk journaling in the future.

-------------------------------------------------
** 'Blue sky and blackboards' the junk journal kit I've used as the base of my May 2014 album[pictured here] is available here in my shop. [More than one kit is available with items varying only slightly between individual packs.]
  • Unlike the other packs I have on sale this one is a fully self-contained 'kit' rather than a pack of elements for you to assemble how you fancy!.
  • 'Blue sky and blackboards' comes complete with pre-punched holes in a selection of the pages
  • Plus the book ring to join it all together.
  • Do have a look at the full - detailed - product description here to get the full picture of what's included .. there's a lot! [Black and white chequerboard sticky tape anyone?].
If you love the kit, grab yours now and drop back here soon when I'll be sharing more images of my finished journal pages to inspire you to open up yours and start playing!

Julie :-)

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