Thought Row Episode 9: The Creative Art of Junk Journaling
Todays episode features A.K. Fielding. Angelina discusses Junk Journaling and the creative process plus its use of many creative skills. She shares how it can inspire creativity in your life.
A little about A.K. Fielding: She is academically trained in research and writing as an historian, she also a self-taught artist.
In recent years, she forged together her love of writing about early American history and art to create works that she hopes will inspire people to study America’s rich past.
As an independent historian, she has served as a featured speaker at various engagements to educate people on topics related to early American history.
A.K. Fieldings articles can be found in several publications, and my art has been showcased in various exhibitions.
She is am currently painting moments in early American history; producing a new line of handmade stationery products; researching, and writing about the early Republic.
A.K. Fielding’s upcoming book, Rough Diamond: The Life & Times of Colonel William Stephen Hamilton, is a biography of a son of Alexander & Elizabeth Hamilton and will be released June, 2021.
Trehan’s Treasures is the name of her studio and represents all her art and writings.
I: Hi Angelina…welcome to the Thought Row podcast.
R: We’re so glad we have the opportunity to chat with you today.
I: What did you have for breakfast today?
R: We know you are very talented in so many areas. You are an artist, an historian, a writer and you create beautiful junk journals. Today we’d like to start out by talking to you about the journals.
R: What exactly is junk journaling
A: Junk Journaling essentially consists of using any and all material that would be deemed “junk” in a journal to create something memorable. So re-using and re-purposing trash and creating something beautiful and interesting to the individual keeping the journal.
I: What is the philosophy behind junk journaling
A: My philosophy is to preserve items that no one wants anymore. To re-create something wonderful out of “junk.” Because even the junk has some history attached to it. I am hoping to save the piece and thereby its history.
R: You are a historian, non-fiction writer and artist which one of your talents has been the most beneficial when you create your journals.
A: I would say the combination of being an historian and artist both go hand-in-hand in what I create. My background in history helps me to look for value in objects….that are worth preserving…my artistic side pulls it all together to create something unique and special.
I: What materials do you use when you create new journals
A: I use vintage fabric, papers, jewelry. I also use paints, inks, craft items such as beads, flowers, vintage doilies and found objects.
R: Do you offer your journals for sale?A: Yes, I do. They are available through my secure website: www.trehanstreasures.com and on e-bay at Trehan’s Treasures.
I: How many different materials do you use when creating a journal?
A: Depending on the journal I am making…it ranges…Some journals have coffee or tea stained plain paper sheets, others may have decorated paper including hand-painted or sewn with fabric or lace.
R: How does journaling help with people that are under a lot of stress.
A: Journaling is a great way to de-stress. It allows the person their own personal and private space to express whatever they are feeling or going through. They can paint, sketch, write, take photos and do just about anything in their journal to express what they are going through…thereby enabling themselves to be free of the stressful experiences in their lives. Junk journaling offers people an opportunity to explore their own inward experiences and project them outwards in a positive, productive, and creative way.
R: Is junk journaling just for women?
A: Junk journaling is for anyone who wants to use a creative way to express themselves.
I: If we started to build a journal today what materials would I need.
A: For the simplest journal, you would need paper for sheets inside the journal…either fabric, or cardboard and paper for the front and back cover. A needle and some thread to bind the journal. That would be sufficient to get a journal that you could add to as you begin working in it.
R: Do you consider journaling to be an art form, and can you picture a day when you see a museum exhibit.
A: I do feel journaling is an art form because it is a mode of expressing oneself creatively. There are museums in the US that have held exhibitions that showcased journals. In journaling you are only limited by your own imagination. Artists have used journals forever. Junk journals are no different. An artist can use a junk journal (I do) to jot down ideas whether by writing about them or sketching ideas out. These journals are made up of things people may consider junk but they can actually be quite beautiful and worthy of a show of their own.
I: Junk journals have themes and if so what are they based on.
A: Again, junk journals, as with any other creative art form can be anything you want them to be. So I can have a junk journal that is full of ideas for my next series of paintings. Another junk journal could be simply a journal where I put in everything in my favorite color. Themes vary based on the person who is making the journal.
R: What is the preparation process for making a beautiful journal?
A: I begin with coffee or tea staining the interior papers. Sometimes I have used other methods of staining paper including avocados, vegetables, flowers or paint. Once these sheets are ready, I choose fabric for the cover and co-ordinate it with the thread to bind the journal together. I then select other papers and items that I will include in the junk journal. These are all inserted during and after the journal is prepared.
R: What goes on inside your mind or what do you think about when you’re making a journal?
A: I begin with an idea. For instance, I could choose a nature theme. Then I gather all my materials that fit that idea or theme. Once I have my materials together, I start to put the journal together. Sometimes I work through the idea from the beginning to the end with what I have gathered together. Other times I may add or subtract from my stack depending on how the journal is progressing. My ideas come from my own memories or it may be something that inspired me – a quote, a scene in nature, a painting.
I: What do people think about when they see one of your journals, what do you want them to see and feel.
A: I have had all sorts of reactions from people. Mostly they admire the journals they see. Many have expressed a sense of joy at seeing me using a vintage fabric on the cover of one of my journals. Or they may see a tag inside the journal that I made using vintage paper – which brings back cherished memories for them. It is crucial to me in all my work – art, writing or journal making to get people to embrace history…so when I get this kind of response where someone makes a connection with one of my journals because it brought back a wonderful memory to them…then I feel that I did my job well.
R: Building each Journal is a very tactile process. Do you think it improves eye hand coordination?
A: Absolutely. I use a sewing machine in some cases but I also hand sew my journals. Not only do you need to be able to handle a needle and thread when making journals but you also need to have an eye for what looks both aesthetically pleasing and is practically sound and makes the journal a sturdy purchase.
I: When it comes to your creative life what do you want to be best known for?
A: An historian and an artist.
R: You are very talented in so many avenues… What impact does journaling have on your creative disciplines?
A: I personally love journals and use them both as a writer and an artist. The journal making actually is simply an extension of what I was already doing for myself. Making journals allows me to keep things in balance. When I need a break from writing or painting, I make journals and vice versa. Having a journal has been part of my life since I was young. I make these journals so that others may have a similar experience of joy that I feel when I am working in my journal.
I: Give us an example of a day in the life of Angelina Fielding.
A: I love to paint in natural light. So, if it is a good sunny day, I will paint most of that day until the sun goes down. Once the sun is down, I come up for air long enough to take care of things I need to do (chores, errands, logistical work for Trehan’s Treasures…then it is back to work…most of the night I work on my book or articles. I don’t sleep much…4 hours is a good night for me…there are more nights when I am up working than sleeping.
R: Thank you for joining us today you have been a most insightful guest and we know that creative people will benefit from the thoughts and ideas you’ve shared.
I: Thank you Angelina