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Re: [BKARTS] Journals, Diaries and Scrapbooks



"I am researching journals and would like to read other people's
thinking about the distinction between them and diaries/scrapbooks.
Actually, I'd like to read anything intelligently written about
journals.  The best book I have found so far is Jennifer New's book
"Drawing From Life - The Journal As Art."  Does anyone have other
suggestions?"

 

This is a topic I'm very interested in. Journal; diary; sketchbook;
commonplace book, scrapbook; notebook. What is what? What is the
difference between them? Why do people keep them? How do people use
them? 

 

Jill, what do you mean when you use the word journal?

 

I've been cataloguing the sketchbooks (over 100) of a friend who died in
2003. When I went looking for literature on sketchbooks, journals and
diaries there was little to be found. Apart from Jennifer New's book,
most of the recent offerings on the topic are 'how to' books; few adopt
a more theoretical approach. Even art education research on sketchbooks
doesn't really provide much enlightenment. It offers evidence to argue
that keeping a sketchbook or visual journal leads to an improvement in
students' art work, but doesn't explore the reasons why this might be
so. I find this intriguing.

 

One book about diaries/journals is Thomas Mallon's A Book of One's Own:
People and their Diaries - but it is about written diaries and I'm
suspecting that this isn't what you mean when you use the word journal.
Apart from that, Barbara Lee Smith wrote an article on visual journals
for Fiberarts a few years back (Vol 23, No3) and this article by
Professor Sasha Grishin from the Australian National University offers
some thoughts in relation to two Australian artists and their journals:

 

http://www.nla.gov.au/events/donaldfriend/papers/sgrishin.html

 

Kay Greenlees' book Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile
Artists: Exploring the Embroiderers' Sketchbook is more or less a how-to
book. It deals with sketchbooks rather than journals - if you assume
that the journal is more about life in general and an end in itself,
whereas a sketchbook is an artist's tool and a means to an end. But it
does contain some observations on the different kinds of sketchbooks
that people keep, which might be of interest to you. Mind you, a lot of
the books illustrated in New's book could easily be labelled as
sketchbooks rather than visual journals.

 

I'll be interested to read other people's thoughts on this topic. 

 

Sue Wood

(in Wagga Wagga, Australia)

 

 


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