Saturday, November 12, 2011

Scrap Book

So I made this little book for a swap:

The swap requirements were pretty specific:
  • the book must be made of paper lunch bags
  • Each page must be dedicated to one color of the rainbow
  • The pages must use collage techniques
  • The pages must be mostly monochromatic
  • the ends of the lunch bags form little pockets and I have to include at least one surprise inside a pocket.

This was the perfect opportunity to use all those little scraps of painted papers and leftover bits of other collages.  The deadline to mail it is Monday and I was kind of regretting signing up (it was one more plate spinning in the air), but once I started I totally got into it.

Here's the front and back cover:
Here are the pages:

I do a fair amount of trading on Swap-bot.  I don't much care about what I get in return - most of it isn't my taste.  I do it because it gives me structure and deadlines.  It pushes me to work with specific parameters (be it theme or technique or material or size).  If I'd seen a tutorial on how to make paper bag books I would have thought it was cool and book marked it and never ever completed it.

And even though I like the way it came out, I don't need to keep it. The joy was in the creating.  I don't really even care if my partner likes it.  I mean, I hope she does and all, but it's beside the point.  At this point, swaps are all about practice and discipline.  Plus it's always a thrill to find real honest-to-god MAIL in your mailbox.  Mail that someone lovingly created by hand.  Even if I think it's crap, it's pretty cool.

I haven't signed up for anything new lately, and have only one more commitment after this journal.  I'm on the fence about signing up for more.  I think I might need a break until after the Holidays.  The reason I hesitate to stop?  My mailbox will be so empty!  I have a few mail art friends, but I'm not very prolific in that arena. (maybe because I'm wasting so much time on swaps???)  But, as the lovely Pamela in San Francisco reminds us, in order to get good mail you need to SEND good mail. (and something is going out to dear Pamela on Monday!)

So, dear readers - want to get some mail from me?  Send me something.  A post card, a note, a sketch on the back of a napkin, the rumpled receipt from the bottom of your purse.  I don't care.  If you send it, I'll send you something back!

Karen Isaacson
PO Box 532
Shrewsbury, MA 01545


  1. i SO know what you mean about swaps. i hate swaps. i like round robins and stuff, but sometimes swaps get my goat. i used to swap all of the time with atcs and stuff, but...
    you will not be surprised to hear that lots of people didn't exactly "get" my sense of humor and art...
    so hehe, i only swap with friends now.

    so i only get shit from my student loan company in the mail (try harder guys...) which really sucks, but...

    yeah. so maybe i will sign up for a swap now.


  2. I am just the opposite. When I'm in a swap it puts so much pressure on me that I can't create!

    Check your mailbox might see something from me!

  3. Well, aren't you nice to mention me in your post -- and even better, to send me something. I just came home from a busy day around San Francisco and sat down with a mug of hot tea and a wonderful stack of mail and had a great is really worth the effort to send mail...and I will be sending you something back....

  4. Never even heard of a swap!!! lol I can hardly keep up with the projects that are in front of me. Can't imagine signing up for more!!! Your book cover perfectly matches the background of your blog. Kinda cool.

  5. I love this book. The cover reminds me of the background to your blog. I wouldmlove to getma book like this for a swap, guess I better make you one eh! Pamela has the BESt mail and she does send really good mail too! So do you. xox Corrine

  6. Wish I could type without misspelling on this bloody ipad. xox

  7. I gave up Swap Bot a year ago.....but can't seem to delete my profile...hmmmm....

    It is so fun to get colorful, artsy, something with a real stamp on it mail to look forward to!

    Love the idea of a paperbag journal....very cool! Yours turned out nicely :)

  8. I love your paperbag journal, and you didnt even
    know how to make it to start, I am so impressed. You are getting mail from me soon....

  9. I've only participated in a couple of postcard swaps and I agree - it's beyond cool to get something in the mail made specifically for you. And luckily I did like most of what I received and they're on the wall in my art room so I can remain inspired.
    I'll totally send you something - start watching....

  10. This is an AMAZING journal and whoever receives it is extremely lucky!!

    Mail Art LOVE!!
    xx tj

  11. Gooooorgeous colors, yummy textures, yes please.

    I love the idea of swapping artwork. Hmmm...I might just have to bookmark this... :)

  12. well if I had been your swap partner, I'd have been over the moon with this