Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

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Books never close…


It is true, I love to make travel journals. Trouble is, I cram them so full of the  paper I collect on the trip that I cannot really close the book without the help of very large ties. The receipts, the business cards, the postcards, plus all the photos I take need to go somewhere, but I always have this flaw in my book making skills of having too much stuff. So, when Teesha Moore made a suggestion on The Artstronauts Club (http://theartstronauts.com/about/ of keeping all of the ephemera in an expired passport I jumped up and down. Inspired! Oh, wow, I said, only have to travel with a little tape and a small stapler and all those extra little paper souvenirs are all in one place. Helps to figure out what to declare in customs and keeps them altogether so the travel journal can be just photos (and maybe can actually close.) When I thought about it further, my hopes were dashed, however, because I have no expired passports…I have only the one that I got four years ago when I retired and started to travel.

Within a week I got an email from a company (P22 Type Foundry) talking about a product they created to celebrate their twentieth year in business. (I am on their mailing list because their fonts include the handwriting of Claude Monet and Cezanne…what else is an intermediate school art teacher supposed to have on her computer?) The product was a set of three almost-passport-size soft-covered notebooks for $7.95. Answer to my dreams!

My package came on Saturday…


There, right there, joy and celebration…evidently the Postal Service came out with a new set of stamps in May featuring antique circus posters. (Can be ordered online…https://store.usps.com/store/browse/productDetailSingleSku.jsp?productId=S_472104  Oh, heaven!  and they are forever stamps! Mail art here I come…

Then inside…


Multiple postcards that advertise their fonts but are also beautiful.


and a temporary tatoo (I am way old for that sort of thing so guess I will have to find a willing kid to wear it for me…)


The three books with gold stamped covers and a variety of lined and grided papers…

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definitions of the foot of a letter…


The “golden canon of page construction”…


A perpetual calendar…


Keyboard positions and job case diagram for letterpress type…


and a type diagram and definition of picas and points…


Lovely things, and now I am set for three trips!! I dance for joy…



Traveling pants…

Since I have been retired, (almost four years now), when we have taken a trip I have tried to keep a travel journal. The luxury of having the time to journal after the years of working was unique, but I have found that I am not that adept at journaling as the events happen and I usually do most of the work after I return home.

Our first trip a.r. (after retirement) was a road trip to Canada. After taking a Mary Ann Moss class I had my soft, fabric journal with sewn together pages and pockets. I did a wee bit of writing and including ephemera accumulated along the way but really needed to get my pictures printed at home in order to wrap that one up.

IMG_9955IMG_9951IMG_9952This journal has pages that are 6 x 9.

Then we went to Florence and Tuscany. The journal grew to 9 x 9 1/2 but still had the same construction. This trip I realized that even though I had many supplies with me traveling with TM meant constant walking all day. Other than falling into bed exhausted at night there was really no time for journaling and most of it was accomplished once I was home.

IMG_9953IMG_9954The next spring it was Paris and the night before as we packed our suitcases, memories of us squatting on the floor of the Florence airport, repacking our suitcases three times in order to fly home caused me to impulsively leave the journal and supplies at home. It was a giant-sized journal,  9 x 9,  and had eight signatures. After I began to work on it I realized I might have room to put our second trip to Paris in the same journal but it kept getting wider and wider, and fatter and fatter the more I added to it and eventually I decided to remove three signatures and create a new book for the second trip. (That has not happened yet.)

IMG_9957IMG_9956IMG_9958IMG_9960 IMG_9961IMG_9962Then I took Mary Ann Moss’s “Ticket to Venice” class and made a most beautiful journal. I made a lot of mistakes, however, including that it is big,  10 1/2  x 10 1/2, and, thinking I was hot stuff, I grabbed some book cloth I had sitting around for ten years. Did not think it through, though. It is silk and although beautiful, any drop of errant glue discolors the fabric and it frays and the corners were a disaster. Hence silver tape from the hardware store hides the ugliness.

I did learn, however, that my absolutely favorite book tape is that which I make myself, in this case painted and stenciled canvas. Plus this may be my favorite binding stitch of all time. But the book itself sits empty except for its gorgeous pages. Some pages are from the Anthropologie catalogue, some file folders, some random papers just sitting around this house.

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By then I was quite frustrated, but for our trip to Portland in March, I forced myself to make it small  (6 x 8) and as background pages I used photographs I had taken of a trip to the same place two years earlier. Simple and to the point and I got the book done a week after I got back, hmmm…plus it was only four days of a trip.

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Our next trip is looming and over the last few weeks I have visited a few blogs of watercolorists. I enjoyed reading Jaqueline Newbold’s discussion of her colors on her palatte (she has a kit at Daniel Smith) and seeing the way she divides up the pages in her sketchbook. Also, while doing a blog hop because Chris Cozen has new stencils available I came across Jane LaFazio’s blog. She had some  unique ways of treating her sketchbook pages. I am jumping in…an Arches watercolor sketchbook and a pallete of paints. Division of the page using washi tape:

IMG_9988 IMG_9989Jane LaFazio’s suggestion was to use spray gesso over stencils and then paint multiple layers of watercolor on top. I had no spray gesso and don’t have Chris’s stencils yet, so I decided to use some white acrylic paint with EZScreen silkscreens I already had made. (From my photographs I exposed the screen with sunlight and then it gets developed with tap water…look, ma, no yucky things to have around!) Then I thought about how my gesso has been sitting around so long a lot of the water probably has evaporated away and went ahead and used it anyway. Worked great!

IMG_9983 IMG_9984 IMG_9985 IMG_9986 IMG_9987So, we have our traveling pants on (my favorite are Royal Robbins…light weight, wash in the sink, dry by morning, shake out the wrinkles); the pages are prepped; the cover is done;

IMG_9993We will be on our way to:




Suitcase is not packed yet , but my travel journal is ready.

I used the fabric I found in Portland to make the cover and then printed the photo of the Duke of Tuscany on a piece of fabric with my inkjet printer so that I could sew it on. It is like I am going to take Cosimo home for a visit. The inside pages are made from old Selvedge Magazine pages. They are such a nice weight and segments of the images will peek through under the photos and ephemera I paste in. This book will probably balloon to twice its size by the time I get through.


Lots of washi tape being used here.
This reminds me that another book that has ballooned in thickness is the the one I created from a vintage photo album.

I posted this picture of the cover when I made it months ago but never any of the collages inside.

Seeing the pages photographed helps me see how the parts relate to the whole better than when I am working with the pieces. The iPhone is such a great tool for that. Quick and easy, and I can see that the pages need more writing.
The pages…






That is enough for now, I will show you more later when I have done more writing.
The idea for binding both of these books comes from Mary Ann Moss…her Remains of the Day class and her Full Tilt Boogie class. She has a wonderful blog called Dispatch From LA.
Off to pack that suitcase. My friend Murph says to pack it once and then unpack and leave out half the stuff. That is what I will do, I have always found her to be very wise…


Getting ready…

Anticipating my workshop with John Muir Laws, I made a sketchbook and gathered tools for the looming event.

He has an equipment list on his website. So I found all my portable brushes that carry water in their barrels, waterproof pens and drawing pencils.

My sketchbook has two signatures. One has mi-tientes paper in midtone shades of oyster, moonstone, and flannel. (Great names!). The second signature has bristol and heavy weight watercolor paper.

My cover is created from some laminated paper I made and it has ultra-suede ties. It comes equipped with large rubber bands to secure pages out-of-the-way while working. We will see how all this functions “in the field”. I am excited that the cover is pretty much waterproof (if it rains) so I will explain how I made it below.

Laminated Paper

I use the two-ply paper towels left over wiping my brush during watercolor painting. (o.k., I have been known to add a little more color on purpose). I separate them and lay two on a sheet of freezer paper with about 1″ of each overlapped down the center. Using a wide brush I spread them with acrylic gloss medium and lay a second layer over the top. I add bits and pieces of scrap papers from other projects (the bird is a partial photograph) including tissues from store purchases. The flower-like shapes on this one are from one of the Lokta papers I scored at Anthropologie right before Christmas. It turns half-transparent. I end up with about three layers of paper. I coat it with a last coat of medium on top and sprinkle on some glitter or whatever happens to be handy. I let this dry for twenty-four hours and then peel it off the freezer paper and give it one more coat of medium on the bottom side. Transparent but plastic!