Arts + Crafts, Etsy Faves, uncategorized

Patty Van Dorin & Her Art Journals

April 16, 2009

My creative wheels are spinnin’ this morning, especially after seeing the imaginative art journals that mixed media artist Patty Van Dorin from River Bend Ranch in Texas creates and sells in her etsy shop. Would you like to see some of her creative journals? Look at this stitch work and these found papers — such a nice combination of old and new.

Patty Van Dorin & Her Art Journals

The moment I saw these this morning I thought about my own books and folders (here, here and here) and how I should really give making a few of these more artsy journals a try. I collect piles of paper and tear sheets, ribbons and clippings, fabric and paint swatches, it would be a perfect way for me to use ALL of these things in one place but also to have a little art project to enjoy at home when I’m not feeling particularly interested in having a rhyme or a reason — or even when I am interested in perhaps pulling a book together with a goal in mind which I’ll get to in a moment. Anyway, when I make my journals, I don’t add anything other than papers, photos, etc. — things that are flat in other words. Seeing Patty’s work inspires me to try adding fabric, buttons, and other more bulky items to my books next time.

Patty Van Dorin & Her Art Journals

Patty Van Dorin & Her Art Journals

Patty Van Dorin & Her Art Journals

Her work also reminds me of how much I love the idea of handmade books, especially since we’re living in a digital age and with Kindle and all of these other gadgets, I almost want to rebel and encourage book making because in my opinion, there is nothing like the pleasure of holding a book, smelling it, turning physical pages. So with Patty and her book making, you could take this idea and use it for your next design project.


  • If you are an artist, you could collect all of your inspirations in a single journal that you would like to inspire your next piece of art.
  • If you’re an interior designer or decorator your next collection could evolve by keeping an inspiration book like this. A few of my friends, who are interior designers, carry around such books with fabric and wallpaper samples spilling out… this is a similar concept only you will adhere things to each page and keep the book well after the project you’re working on has ended.
  • Maybe you are designing a room or your new home, this idea may also work.
  • Going to a flea market? Bring a smaller notebook with you that is easy to carry around with all of your color swatches, inspirations, fabrics, clipped very small but pasted nicely into a little book so that, as you shop around, you can reference it often for inspiration and to stay on track.
  • You can even try this out if you are a jewelry artist and are trying to pull together some inspiration for your next collection.
  • Getting married? Why not collect everything in one book. What a nice piece to keep long after the wedding is over to remind you of the very special planning period that you experienced.

Another thing that I love about a book doubling as more of a traditional inspiration board found on a studio wall, is that you will always have the book. Once you remove things from your inspiration board, unless you’ve photographed it of course, you have no history really that you can touch and feel. You will always have your book to refer to for inspiration and to ‘remember when’, it becomes a piece of your history, your life.

Patty Van Dorin & Her Art Journals

Patty Van Dorin & Her Art Journals

If you aren’t feeling all that creative, you can also purchase Patty’s handmade books in her etsy store. Thank you Patty for giving us all some creative inspiration today and for putting your very special work out there to be admired and to share with others. If you’d like to know more about Patty, her art and her process please visit her blog here.

(artwork and images by patty van dorin)


  • Reply robin June 23, 2009 at 1:13 am

    sooooo pretty!

  • Reply Ashley Renée June 23, 2009 at 3:22 am

    I love creative journaling! A professor at Brooks Institute introduced it to me and I have been doing it ever since. Matt Mallams ( was who I found to be the most inspiring when I first began. He is constantly finding random notes or napkins, pieces of paper; memories and remnants of his life and those around him and adding them to his journals.

  • Reply Beatriz June 23, 2009 at 9:52 am

    I love this idea! I have tons of photos, magazine tear outs, ribbons, old cards, letters, etc. that I keep for inspiration. This would keep everything in one place and accessible for inspiration! What loveliness!

  • Reply Ashleigh June 25, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Wow!! Super beautiful! So inspiring!!

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