The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamouring to become visible. – Vladimir Nabokov
I’ve been thinking about notebooks. As in, why – when I could choose to collage or decoupage literally anything with postage stamps – why did I choose notebooks? If it was just about creating art, I could have specialised in framed pieces (which of course I do also offer). But I don’t. And I think the answer is the same as if you ask any artist why he paints rather than draws, or works in oils rather than watercolour, or if you ask a cellist why they don’t play the violin. For some reason, notebooks call to me. The crux of everything I do is collage with stamps, and yet stamps and collage in and of themselves are not everything…
As it happens, my obsession with stamps developed from an earlier obsession: writing. As soon as I could write, I did write. I wrote stories, I wrote letters. I wrote to penpals and letters arrived back to me from around the world with fascinating stamps on the envelopes. Thus the seed of my next obsession was planted.
But before letter writing and stamps, first came words, and writing. Even as a child, I had an obsession with notebooks, and always had one in my pocket. If I wasn’t reading, I was scribbling away. I didn’t have anything important to write: it was the act of writing itself that was important. So when the time came, and the urge to collage began tugging at me, using notebooks as a base for my artwork was the natural thing to do. I don’t remember weighing up the pros and cons or experimenting with alternative objects: notebooks were simply always going to be my ‘thing’. In the beginning these were plain, store-bought, off the shelf. However, the moment I discovered it was possible to have my own notebooks printed, a whole new world opened up to me.
Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a plain lined notebook (or squared, or dotted – whatever you prefer!). It’s perfectly functional for containing words & doodles, which is really all that is required. But the more notebooks one owns, the more one notices the tiny details that do make a difference, and the extra functionality that can be achieved with something as seemingly insignificant as the colour of a line, or the spacing of a margin, or an extra box or heading, here or perhaps there. The true aficionado knows how utterly satisfying a simple, well-designed page layout can be.
From appreciation (and occasionally frustration) grew the compulsion to design my own notebook layouts. And this is why, when you buy one of my notebooks or journals, you are guaranteed a truly one of a kind product: not only will it be customised for you with an utterly unique collage of vintage stamps from around the world, but the inside will also differ from any notebook you can buy elsewhere.
I’ve just updated the Notebook Options section of this site with details of some of my current page layouts available, although it is still a work in progress with more to be added. Please browse Custom Collage Notebooks & Printed Notebooks in my shop for full range & further detail…