Thursday, 2 June 2011

the Cult of Stuff, a Response

Leslie Herger has written a series of posts on what she calls the Cult of Stuff. This is must reading for any art journaler.

In the first post she defines a need many of us seem to feel to buy lots of stuff for art journaling. I think this is more prevalent in the U.S. than Australia - perhaps just because it is more available in the States. Art Journaling hasn't created such big waves here, but also with our small population we always have less choice available in terms of products. For which I am sometimes grateful (for the reasons following).

What I see in myself around the need to buy stuff to make stuff is that it often comes out of insecurity. I find scrapbooking stores upsetting for this reason. They stimulate my feelings of inadequacy. I look at the stamps and think their stamps look better than ones I could make. I see the patterned paper and think it looks cooler than what I can do. Little things you can attach that perhaps I would never think of - they even have writing that looks like poor handwriting! (Surely we can do that ourselves. ) I leave the store feeling less inspired rather than more.

In Leslie's post on the Cult of Stuff, part 2, she starts to give some suggestions on how to pull ourselves out of this dilemma.

One thing she addresses is the "I don't have time, I want results" thought. One of the wonderful things I love about art journaling is that it is one place where you don't need to worry about the results. It is a book, you close it, it can be private. You don't usually hang it on the wall. It is your place to Play. It is an opportunity to be willing to just 'give it a go' (an aussie expression) and not worry about the results.

There will be 'results' (and beautiful ones) anyway. But if you allow the experimentation, you will get much more than beautiful results.

Part 3 is my favourite post. In this post Leslie goes into some personal history on the 'olden days' of art journaling and gives wonderful subversive suggestions on what you can do with all the stuff you already have. Ways to subvert the "right way" to use those products. Ways to grab your creative self-expression back. Because that is what we are talking about here. Few of us are making art journals to sell. We are making them to be creative and have a place to explore ourselves and our world. So why should we worry that our pages don't look 'pretty enough' or that our hand-carved stamps aren't perfect? Are these things even a problem? Or are they actually what we really want in this journey of self-adventure that we call art journaling?


Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

You have brought up some good points....I am trying to organize my stuff and use it up before it goes pages are not always even close to pretty but it is what it is...some days I produce better than others. that is life right? Peace be with you! Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

nollyposh said...

i ~love~ art journalling... For all the reasons that you speak about... The imperfections especially & how they speak to me <3

Kel said...

i so agree with where your thoughts are headed in this post

i started 'scrapbooking' 20-something years ago, putting photos in scrapbooks and decorating them with my own doodles, drawings and handwritten text

never got into the current trend where its more about what cool gadgets or pre-made bits'n'bobs you can buy off the shelf

having visited USA twice, I have to agree they have a lot more stuff available, at ridiculously cheap prices, so imagine it would be easier to overstock on stuff there

I have been art journaling in various ways for about 10 years, and its usually quite organic, rough, home-made, because what comes from within usually has more power than what one can buy off the shelf :)

Bren Graham Thebeau said...

I find the whole world of pre-made scrap-booking overwhelming for a lot of the reasons you've mentioned Zom. Like Kel, my art journal is organic and I make my own stamps/stencils I need something far less perfect than what you buy. I've resisted the pull for all the stuff and instead focused on what I needed to do what was in me to create. Great post Zom.

Zom said...

I appreciate the comments. Thanks you guys.