Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
As promised, mixed media artist Seth Apter has been so kind to share a few pages of two of his travel journals as well as his process of creating these treasures. His travel journals are astounding. I always have the best of intentions to create a book like this, but never seem to follow through. So I just had to pick his brain to see how he creates these books.
amanobooks: Do you have a regular journal that you keep while you are traveling and then go back later and incorporate your writing with your work? Or do you work on site?
Seth: I create the structure for my journal, which so far has always been a handmade book, before I leave for every vacation. I often add a color wash to the pages, which typically are either cold-press watercolor paper or blank, vintage book pages. I keep the pages loose on the trip and bind them when I come home after they are all completed. I always pack a small journal kit, which is different depending upon the vacation. But I always bring a selection of makers, stamp pads, watercolor brush pens, rubber stamps, rub on letters, glue stick, scissors, pieces of handmade and found paper, and the like.
While I am away I am always looking out for things to add to my journal, whether it be receipts, brochures, business cards, local paraphernalia. ephemera, found objects, and other souvenirs. And as I am taking photographs I am also thinking about what I might want to put in the journal. I always start to create pages when I am away. I really enjoy taking time to work in the journal while I am actually on vacation and in the place that is inspiring me. I don’t think I have ever actually completed a page while on vacation though.
I also write random notes about the vacation during the trip too. It is the only way I can remember everything and I always look forward to my note writing on each trip. One of my favorite things to do is to give people I visit or meet on the trip a page to complete for my journal. This way I take home a piece of everybody from the trip and they become part of my journal.
When I come home, I print out pictures, gather all the stuff I brought back, sit with all my art supplies, and complete the pages. Then I will bind the book and complete the cover. The journals I have from my trips are really sacred objects to me. Each time I look through them I am transported back and I re-experience the vacation.
Thank you Seth for your generousity and for sharing your creative process in creating these fantastic travel journals!