So. I suppose I should start at the beginning and introduce myself. My name is Chuck, and I am a crafter. A journal-binder, really. I live up in the Pacific Northwest. I have sold some of my work, have done several commissions and have even attended some shows (albeit small rural ones). I have always wanted to be serious about my craft, and take it from the kitchen table realm into something more…substantial, but I did not know how to make that great step from hobby-crafter to semi-professional.
I had put journal-binding by the wayside after my divorce in 2007, and had thought I would never again bind another book. But in 2010 I met Teresa Merriman of Mind’s Eye Journals, and I found, if not a mentor, then somebody that my secret soul desperately wanted emulate. Her books were so similar to mine, but at the same time, they were so far beyond what I had ever imagined making. I was inspired, and the bug bit again. But life, as John Lennon once said, got in the way while I was busy making other plans.
Flash forward a year and I found myself making a one-off Steampunk-themed photo-album as a wedding gift. The fever hit hard. I dug out my leather and papers and got to work…and I have been pleased, quite pleased with the result.
Not to toot my own horn, but a search of Etsy and other people’s sites has shown me that I am….(wow, the hubris here) doing something….different. The response I am getting from people I show my work to is almost universal. I knew I made good books, but suddenly, folks were referring to it as “beautiful” and “art”. ME?? An artist?? Absurd! Or was it?
I don’t know if what I do is art. I know it’s unusual. I know I put every ounce of skill and talent I have into the books I make, and I guess that’s the best I can do. I use themes and images that speak to me, and to the folks I make books for, so I guess that contributes some sort of meaning…so if that’s art, then it is.
But I will leave it to you to decide.
So this is the initial post of my blog, “Portobello Road”, and the chronicle of my journey into making my hobby into something bigger, my discoveries along the way, and the process of turning “crafts” into “art”.