daily creativity with traveler’s notebook

as you may or may not know, i used to manage a small stationery and custom invitation store.  stationery and school supplies have always been a huge passion of mine, but i never before realized that there is an entire community that exists and thrives with these passions at the center of it.  when i took that job, it was more for management and marketing experience, but it transformed into a greater appreciation for stationery items and paper goods, and the art, dedication, and flair behind them.  though i no longer work at this store, the world of paper will always be very near and dear to my heart and i greatly enjoy finding new brands and interesting products. 

i recently got it into my head that i would like to purchase a traveler’s notebook.  these notebooks are essentially leather covers that you can completely customize inside.  you can have a number of notebooks, agendas, and/or folders inside at one time, and use the notebook for whatever purpose feels right.  the size of the notebook is unique in that it is relatively skinny and long, but this makes it perfect for writing and keeping organized.  i finally purchased my own a few weeks ago, and decided on the dark brown leather cover.  from my research, this looks the best suited to aging and wear and tear.bb tn1.PNG i did a ton of research on these notebooks before i decided to make the investment.  one of the best things that came out of my research was the discovery of an online (and brick and mortar if you live in california) shop called baum-kuchen, and the owner, wakako.  i have become absolutely entranced with this shop and the accompanying blog.  wakako is such a beautifully creative person that shares her love of the analogue life everyday through her shop, blog, and instagram.  i love following her and getting inspiration for my own creative, analogue journey.  she often reminds me that nothing has to be perfect; life is about creating color and connections, and exhibiting your happiness in whatever way you can.  for me, it is definitely on paper – through words, lists, ideas, and inspirations.  i do that here with my blog, but i also do it in my real life.  i take pictures, save things, buy things that feel special and important to me – and now i have a place to keep all of these artifacts in my traveler’s notebook.

i have especially enjoyed learning more about japanese culture through my research into traveler’s notebooks.  paper products are very important and treasured there, and there are a plethora of companies coming out of japan that have caught my eye, including traveler’s company (formerly midori) and the superior labor.bb tn2.PNG i absolutely adored using my traveler’s notebook for the first time on my trip to california.  i always collect so many artifacts while traveling – receipts, business cards, stickers, postcards, etc. – and now i have a place to store and expand on these little items.  i also kept daily logs of what i did and where i went, the best parts of the day, silly quotes and reminders of things that were discussed and experienced, etc… i cannot wait for more adventures with my traveler’s notebook, and to expand on what exactly my style will be.

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sunday musings & the role of the artist

“perhaps the primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone.  that all men are, when the chips are down, alone, is a banality – a banality because it is very frequently stated but very rarely, on the evidence, believed.  most of us are not compelled to linger with the knowledge of our aloneness, for it is a knowledge that can paralyze all action in this world.  there are, forever, swamps to be drained, cities to be created, mines to be exploited, children to be fed.  none of these things can be done alone.  but the conquest of the physical world is not man’s only duty.  he is also enjoined to conquer the great wilderness of himself. the precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.”

james baldwin, the creative process

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i came across this passage when studying for a recent exam, and it touched my very soul.  now i am not inferring that i am an artist in any way, shape, or form, but baldwin’s words speak to me.  i get what he is saying.  i feel what he is saying.  i am blessed to live in a home virtually surrounded by beautiful art and to have visited famous museums throughout the world.  art is an incredible thing to me.  the idea that so infrequently we are touched by a certain genius, and the physical manifestation of that genius.  and then there is that other side to the genius, the side that is almost always unstable, alone, dark.  this is not true for all artists, of course, but often these incredible individuals struggle with a madness that, in the end, allows them to produce such unspeakable beauties.  and baldwin puts this into words in a way that i could never imagine – in showing that the artist manifests his own darkness and, perhaps unintentionally, brightens the world not for himself, but for others.

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