more on inspiration and other visual journals + scrapbooks

After reading ‘ted muehling and the inspiration journal’, designer Pamela Hovland wrote about the many kinds of visual journals she’s kept over the years: “one for my garden, one for my house, one for my summer cabin in Minnesota (all of which are ongoing projects). I keep a visual journal for art and design inspiration, another for wardrobe inspiration (as sometimes I’ll attempt to make a skirt I’ve seen or ask a tailor to do the same). I even have a journal devoted to all things black and white.”

Pamela mentioned Jessica Helfand’s wonderful book Scrapbooks: An American History. That sent me on a path that expanded my view of what journals and scrapbooks can be. One of Helfand’s own scrapbooks commemorates the ritual cleaning of her graphic design studio; it includes bits of dead insect, chicken meat, angel hair pasta, a Prednisone prescription, and Clementine peel into glassine envelope.


Jessica Helfand

It’s on view online in an exhibition the notebook company Moleskine created called “A Week in Your Life”, featuring the journals of thirteen artists and designers. The video above is designer Louise Campbell’s evocative journal of a week in Venice.

Helfand’s Amazon page features video tours of several scrapbooks she’s collected; Marybelle Harn’s from the ’20’s is a knockout. (Check out Helfand’s blog Design Observer for more on scrapbooks.)

A journal or scrapbook can be made with any blank book. Or not – what about making a journal in/”on top” of a printed book? Pamela recommends “ones with the heavy paper stock as they accommodate lots of taped on/stapled on/glued on ‘stuff’.”

She also mentioned that making a journal can be, curiously, a way of “owning” something. You make it your own  – say a house or cool furniture or art – without actually having to buy or own it.

Here’s a nice Moleskine folio notebook with heavy watercolor paper that’s a good still-portable size: 11.7 (horizontal)  x 8.3 inches (vertical).  The next size up is a spacious 16.6 x 11.7 inches….

Related post: Ted Muehling and the Inspiration Journal

3 Responses to more on inspiration and other visual journals + scrapbooks

  1. Kim Sykes 10.12.2009 at 5:39pm #

    I love this bit on scrapbooks! I have long been a fan of scrapbook/journal combinations since 6th grade. I think my favorite is one I made in my twenties of business cards I had collected from men I met at bars when I was living happy and single in Brooklyn and working in Tribeca. Its annotated of course with a brief description of my would-be suitor and his pickup attempt. Ha! Good stuff! ;o)

  2. Sally 10.12.2009 at 6:23pm #

    THAT’s a scrapbook I’d love to see! A slice of an era, both personal and social historical. And that would be some blog post…names, phone numbers,….with annotations. Yikes!

  3. black hattitude 10.29.2009 at 9:17pm #


    thanks for the great quality of your blog, each time i come here, i’m amazed.

    black hattitude.

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