Saturday, 14 April 2012

My Fiber Art Filofax

Dear Helen,

I have been a very bad blogging partner, I'm afraid.  You know why -- family matters, a bit of personal upheaval, other matters to attend to, a strange stomach bug, and a good-sized dollop of procrastination.  I have a lot of comments on what you've posted so far (and I'll post here again soon) but first, given that I can't entice your forgiveness with cake (a lovely slice of Victoria Sponge would be nice, yes?) I will show you pictures of my Fiber Arts Filofax.

Like you, I originally used a Filofax in my law firm lawyering days.  I had a lovely blue one (it seems shockingly ignorant to me now, but I don't think I ever knew what model it was).  I loved using it for keeping appointments and to-do lists and addresses and all.  But once I retreated to the life of a stay-at-home mom (and part-time home-based lawyer) the filofax got relegated to the back of a drawer in favor of online calendars and lists.

And then you pointed me to Philofaxy.  Oh, how I love that blog!  Finding others who are smitten with paper and pens and leather books and all things stationery is as wonderful as finding quilty friends!   You reawakened my dormant Filofax love at the very time I was organizing a whole lot of things in my life, and next thing you know, I have several Filofaxes in which I am happily keeping track of things.  It makes me very happy. 

Let me show you my red A5 finchley.  I do love it, although I must say that when it arrived, I was a tad dismayed at how dark the red is.  I tend to like red to be a strong, bright, fire-engine red.  I would call this color "burgundy," or "maroon," but not red.  (This looks a bit lighter than it really is.) Still, it is wonderfully soft and beautiful and I have come to love it.  I love the feel of the Finchley leather, and yes, it lies perfectly flat on my desk.  I have dedicated it to Fiber Art matters only, although that may change eventually ... I am finding that the perfect organizer set-up is an evolving thing. 

As you know, the finchley has two pen holders.  I keep a pilot rolling ball pen on one side and a mechanical pencil on the other -- but what I use most for writing is a Lamy fountain pen (fine nib, since I know you're wondering) which either sits in the rings or I clip horizontally onto the zip pocket of the inner front cover because it's too fat for these pen-loops.  (By the way, Lamy calls THAT color "dark purple."  Hah.  It's maroon.  Or burgundy.  What is it with not calling a color what it IS???  But it matches the red finchley beautifully and it makes me happy to match.  Ridiculously happy.)  I mostly use the pencil for sketching and drawing doodly design ideas and write everything else with the pens.

I made my own dividers with personalized tabs, as you can see here, using heavy decorative paper from the scrapbooking section of a local craft store and bits of washi tape.  For this filofax, I used the same happy polka dot paper for all of the dividers -- the way the dark red (burgundy!) dots match the color of the FF is very pleasing, yes?  I had a good time decorating the dividers with quotes and images I had -- bits cut out from magazines or printed from the computer.  I have the following tabs:

Calendar -- holds a vertical year planner, which I use for noting show deadlines, fiber art related meetings or due dates, dates of retreats and workshops, etc.  Behind that is a month-on-two-pages calendar, where I make notes on my goal to do something creative every day.  By the way, I also decorate the back side of divider pages.  (The back side of the red dot paper is this acid green stripe, which I quite like.)  You can't read it well here, but this quote says "Creativity comes to those who seek it" and it's stuck on with pretty washi tape.

Goals - I started this section with a list of creativity goals for 2012, and I've found that I keep adding pages -- a page of accomplishments, another with thoughts about what I want to convey in the art quilts I make, etc.  I have to confess that this is the first year in which I've actually written goals down that have anything other to do with work-related objectives, and it's proving to be a very useful thing.  Here's my decoration on the Goals tab:

The quote says "The harder you work, the luckier you get."  Appropriate for goals, isn't it?

Projects -- This section is actually subdivided by top tabs, also hand-made, for various projects.  For example, the 12x12 project gets its own section, as does "Maps" as I have that series going and lots of notes on that topic.  (I had a brief moment of indecision, when "map" was chosen as our current 12x12 theme -- which section do I put THOSE notes in?  But I've got them in Maps because, well, it involves a Map.  I don't feel the need for cross-referencing.   Yet.  :-)   I put inspirational material into the subsection of the project to which it applies... at least so far.

I am not letting myself be bothered by the fact that this quote says "loose" rather than "lose."  Intentional?  Maybe, but it makes me smile when I see it, because if I can't lose that fear, at least I can loosen it.

Blog -- Here's where I make note of ideas to blog about, notes of blogs or websites I've read about and want to check out, etc.

Ideas -- This is turning out to be a bit of a catch-all section, at least as it comes to ideas that pop into my head when I'm working on something else.  For now, I figure that if I note them in here, I'll be able to find them later, or I can look here if I'm stuck and looking for some random trigger.  I love this image -- clipped from a magazine, I think.

Technique notes - this section, at present, contains notes on specific techniques or ideas about using them.  I started this section when I was making some notes about cutting and using stencils and it wasn't specific to any particular project.  If I'm reading a magazine that shows a technique I want to remember or think about using in the future, I'll make some notes here -- including a reference to the magazine and issue where I saw it so I can find it again.  Again, this section may change, but so far it's handy.

UFOs - I don't have so many unfinished items that they require a whole tab of their own, but I did decide that getting some finished this year is on my goal list and keeping track of what UFOs I actually have is critical to that.  And you know?  The list wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be when I sat down to make it.  The photo above shows the inside of that divider, which aptly says "It always seems impossible until it is Done."

I also have a blank tab which at this point holds plain paper, and so far I've been using this for random sketching when I'm out and about and don't have an actual sketchbook.  I keep thinking I should put some decent paper in this section, but right now it's just plain old copy paper, cut down to A5 size.  Good enough for on the spot sketching.

I considered adding a section for the  City & Guilds course I'm working on (or rather, I *should* be working on) but I mostly keep those notes and sketches in a specific C&G bound journal.  Maybe I'll change that when I get back to work on the C&G assignments.  That's the beauty of FF, isn't it?  I can just add another tab and keep going.

In case you're wondering, I DO use the pad that slides into the back cover of the Finchley. I love that pad, and find it's my main note-making place, and when I'm done I move the page into the proper section.

It's interesting to me that we've opted to keep track of different things in our studio FFs -- and I have to admit that reading about your organization made me look at mine to wonder if I needed to supplement.  So far, though, I don't feel the need to keep track of time spent on projects -- while it'd probably be interesting, it reminds me too vividly of all of those law firm years where I was required to write my lawyer time down in tenths-of-an-hour increments.  So now I don't count time unless I HAVE to!  Similarly, I don't keep detailed records of the financial side of my fiber art, although this also makes sense and probably is more necessary as one gets involved in selling artwork.  At this point I throw receipts into a manila folder in my file drawer and add them up come tax time!  Maybe some day I'll get more organized and by then you'll have perfected the system, developed the perfect page, and I can just follow your system.

I considered a "Call for Entries" tab when you mentioned it -- it sounds so Organized and Efficient and Forward Looking!  But at present, I've decided that when I see a call for entry, if I think I will pursue it, I create a Project subtab and put the relevant entry info, along with my notes and sketches for the piece I anticipate entering, in there.  So far I've not needed a section for miscellaneous entries, mainly because life has been too distracting lately and making things for shows is down on the priority list... way down.

There are so many things I like about this organization system -- before using this filofax, I had several different journals and notebooks and I'd tend to make sketches or notes in whichever was handy.  Mostly I used a moleskine sketchbook and was operating on a "just use the next blank page" system.  Some people use this sort of journalling beautifully and then tab the pages them in a way that allows them to link the related pages even when they're not next to each other in the book.  (Diana Trout comes to mind.)  But that was driving me crazy, and I always felt like I had the wrong notebook at the wrong time.  I love how I can move pages around in the FF.

The biggest pleasure, though, is that using this system has made me really THINK about what I'm doing, what I want to be doing, where I want to be going, and the like.  I feel much more intentional about what I am doing, and this helps me keep track even when I end up detouring to work on something new or unexpected.

One last picture for you.  You  know that I'm continuing in an online sketching and painting workshop taught by Jane LaFazio, called "Watercolor Sketchbook: Designs from Life."  This class was actually a spin-off from the mixed media one I took a few months ago.  One of the assignments involved sketching and painting something from nature and then abstracting some designs.  Everyone in the class got so into doing those pages (and produced all sorts of great pages) that Jane decided to plan a whole course around that.  So far, we did a week of flowers, and then vegetables, and this week is "from the factory" -- manmade objects with hardware as a focus.  Here's the page I did on Friday:

It is very fun to take something and then think about design elements from that.  I have a box of different picture-hanging gizmos sitting on my table, and I think those will be the subject of tomorrow's page!


Lord Dodo said...

I absolutely loved reading your blog post! Despite 16 years of total 'dodevotedness' to the Dodo Pad diary, I remain in love with my Filofax (of course with an A5 Dodo Pad diary insert each year!)

I just wonder whether you might like to try a Dodo Pad diary and see if the format suits you? Creatively and organisationally I think it would be spot on for you!

Let me know if you would like to see a review copy via message to Lord Dodo on Facebook or @lord_dodo on Twitter.

Here is a link to the product on our website:


Anita said...

Thank you for sharing your filofax! I love how you made the tabs for your dividers :)

ivy inkvine said...

I'm new to art and have a worn plastic Dayplanner filofax. Your post makes me want to pop in some paper and use it as a sketch book I can surreptitiously hide in plain sight.

Thank you for sharing!

Jennifer Davis said...

HI there! I know this is a very silly question to ask on your blog post, but I have been in search of a red A5 Finchley for quite some time and I was just curious if you still have this planner or if you have been looking to sell it? I can be reached at jenmuelr{at}gmail{dot}com if you are interested :) Thanks!! You have a very cute blog :)