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A triumph of decoration over content
on 26 February 2007
I ordered this book on the strength of the rave reviews on Amazon and was rather disappointed. Although several artists are represented, there is basically only one style: that on the front of the book. If you like this, you'll love the book, and I won't deny it is beautifully produced. However, all it seems to be about is cramming as much decoration onto one page as possible: ribbons, buttons, stencils, washes, poems, individual letters etc. This is all in the contemporary scrapbooking style, and to me seems to be more about decoration than exploring different artistic ideas or keeping a real journal. The pages scream: "Look, I'm a really creative, funky person." But what have vintage photos and shreds of old sheet music really got to do with keeping a journal or sketchbook? I thought a sketchbook was about recording what we see around us. Evidently not. Interestingly, like the scrapbooking genre, this seems to be by and for women only; not that I'm against such things in principal (I'm into patchwork), but it does seem somehow very girly and overly pretty.