Saturday, June 24, 2006

Feeling Inspired by Sabrina Ward Harrison’s Work

Today we were in the car for a long time and I was a passenger. That meant I had time to read books with leisure and not feel any pressure that instead of reading I should be doing something else (which is what I feel lately when I am home and I try to read a book or even a magazine).

Today I chose to finish reading “Brave on the Rocks” by Sabrina Ward Harrison.

I was about 1/3 through the book when I picked it up today and I finished it. This is an artist’s journal in which the author/artist shares some very intimate thoughts (during the year that she was 23-24 years old). Part of the journal is based on a trip to Italy so it is also in part, a travel journal.

I can’t describe her style, it just must be seen. Go to her website at

Here is an area of the site showing works from “Brave on the Rocks”.

You may also look through the Portfolio section of her site. Note that you can click on the icons for photography, on paper, on wood, and special projects.

I won’t do a full book review right now but I will share some things I am inspired to try based on what she did in “Brave on the Rocks”.

Write in water soluble crayon then put a little water on it and let the colors blend.

Add bits of dried plants to the pages with tape.

Tape photographs to the page, with messy shreds of masking tape (not hidden super clean scrapbooking type tape).

Repeat a favorite hand drawn object/item or a doodle that you like to do. Repeat it many times on a page. Make one large. Repeat the image throughout the journal in various sizes.

Take small torn off portions of maps or tickets and add them to the journal. You don’t have to use large pieces of things, just little snippets.

Use a sticker book and use the stickers randomly throughout a journal. It seems to me that she used a Dover sticker book of Victorian woman images. On one page there was a cutesy Bugs Bunny.

Combine elements and don’t worry about them matching, fancy writing font, stickers, maps, photos, etc.

Alternate between large images on a page with little writing with pages with lots of writing and small sized added elements (photos, etc.).

Use itemized bills and receipts on a page.

Make lists of what you see or hear or what you did that day or still need to do. Make wish lists of your dreams and short goal lists for your life.

Try keeping the words minimal but do use words that express the emotion you are feeling.

Try using a page with lots of color. Take an image that you are drawn to and make the centerpiece of the page. Leave it ‘empty’ like that or write on the background colored page. For example, one thing she did in the book was to use the clothing of paper dolls, floating on a page, when the writing on the page had nothing to do with that image.

Use fabric! Glue fabric to the page, fabric that you like or are drawn to.

So there are some things that I feel inspired to try.

I am considering moving away from doing all my collage work on ATCs and instead to try to do more journaling ‘to keep’. I do love the sharing of the ATCs, though. I like making my ‘art’ then giving it away and swapping it for some other ATCs that I like and am inspired by. I feel selfish to just do journals that I will keep. I feel that I’ve already ‘spilled open’ enough in my life that I don’t need the journal to get myself free of penned up emotion. I feel like my heart is already being worn on my sleeve.

I will wrap up by saying that I have not read any of Sabrina Harrison Ward’s other books (but I am dying to). You can see a listing of her books on her site, here, and if you click on the book you can choose to see a bunch of scans of the pages from that book.

I had a hard time finding a copy of “Brave on the Rocks” and I wonder if it is out of print. I had to resort from buying a used copy from an Amazon Marketplace seller and paid near full retail for it (but that is okay because the condition is excellent so it is worth it). It normally kills me to buy a used book at a price which is near the full retail back when the book was new.

On the way home today I stopped at a Borders bookstore outlet store and wondered if I’d find any artist journal books like these there. I looked in the art section and found none. When I was back in the car I realized that this book is categorized by the publisher as a self help book (!). So apparently I was not looking in the right section of the store. I guess the next time I am in a used book store or a book discount store I am going to have to check those sections. I usually avoid them as I feel pretty well and not in need of ‘self-help’ at the moment!

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