Sunday, November 6, 2011

FTB Journal #3

The raw material for Full-Tilt Boogie Journal #3, a Keith Smith chain stitch on the spine, came from an antique hardback book I bought at the same time with a vintage photo album (which I have yet to use). I loved the title of the book, “The Romance of Archaeology” and the decorations on the spine (a column) and cover (a vase) and decided to use the theme to explore archaeological places I have visited.

At first, I wanted to use a mixture of papers like FTB Journal #1, as well as some personal photos, but all with an ancient places theme. Scanning old family slides and photos, I began with my earliest adventure with my parents, Pompeii, and finished with last year's Ireland trip. But as I gathered, sorted, tore, and arranged various scrapbook paper, my own paintings, and sections from other books, I changed my mind. After seeing the very jumbled and busy signatures together, I was glad nothing was sewn together yet. In addition, the size of the book made me fold folios that diminished the impact of images from books and calendars.

So, the weathered brown pages in the old book inspired me to use tan colored BFK Rives printmaking paper I had on hand. Finding, scanning, and altering personal photographs, I changed them all to black and white and increased the contrast so the images would be more minimalist.

Trying photo transfers and getting mixed results, I was disappointed. Instead of an interplay between the brown paper and the black photos, too much white paper remained for that sharp contrast. I considered making gel skins but then I read about printing on book pages with Golden digital ground medium (from “The Creative Photographer” by Catherine Anderson). Alas, I did not have the glossy type that allows the background to show. At this point, I almost walked away from the project.

But, wait. Why not print my photos on the book’s original pages and attach them to the individual pages? It might not be highly archival, but since this was in a book and not hanging on a wall, it might be OK, at least for an experiment. Mary Ann Moss is all for experimenting! So, I did.

Before sewing the signatures together—a mix of the tan paper, some cool scrapbook papers, some of my paintings on paper, a few bits from calendars, and my own photos—I arranged where my printed photos would go. When the printed pages were a bit large, I decided to tear them (another suggestion from “The Creative Photographer”) and discovered what a joy the 1929 paper was to rip! It was almost brittle in parts but so very different than modern paper.

The journal is almost complete. I planned the pages, photos, and chronological arrangements to tell the story without words. Perhaps later I’ll add dates and identifying place names, perhaps do some journaling. I also deliberately printed on pages in the original book where my personal photos were from: Rome, the Great Southwest, the British Isles. Turning this into themed journal was a challenge but the problem-solving ended up being fun. And, I really liked the looping sewing down on the spine, too. A very good project.


  1. I really like that you printed your pictures on the book paper. From the few pictures I see, your journal looks like it could almost be complete as is.

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Michele, and leaving such a positive comment.

    Hi Renelde. Yes, it was a great discovery to print on the old book pages. This journal is pretty much complete, as you say. In this case, it's more a visual than written journal.