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The Elemental Journal: Composing Artful Expressions from Items Cast Aside Paperback – March 7, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tammy Kushnir is the author of Wedding Journals and Keepsake Gifts (Quarry), and an Artist-on-Call for Stampington. Her work has been published in numerous Stampington magazines as well as Card Trends magazine. She is a contributor in the books Art Journals and Creative Healing by Sharon Soneff (Quarry) and 1000 Handmade Greetings by Laura McFadden (Quarry).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: North Light Books (March 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440305366
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440305368
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.4 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,487,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tammy enjoys working in various types of art such as mixed media, drawing and digital. Her works have also been seen in gallery shows across the country. She currently has two books for purchase The Elemental Journal and Wedding Journals and Keepsake Gifts. She also designs skins for cell phones, e-readers and other electronic devices which can be for purchase at her etsy shop.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. L. Yarborough on May 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
I eagerly anticipated this book's arrival, thinking that it would inspire me in my personal journaling. It is a beautiful book with full color pictures on every page. And every art project has detailed descriptions so that you can re-create the work for yourself. Each project uses found items, and re-claimed used items, some of which would be very hard to find if you were to try to re-create the project exactly.

But every project is 3 dimensional, which means that the completed project could not be put into a bookshelf. There is not one project that I would personally be interested in doing, but the book did offer some fruitful thoughts on new ways to journal. And the tone of the book was rather dark and somber.

I received this book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Gallegos on February 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the great books. I love to journal and am an artsy person and have purchased many books only to discover that the pics aren't that great or the process wasn't explained.....that is NOT the case here! This is eye candy-a visual delight and it has instructions that also come with step by step photos! It's really the perfect blend of creation and how-to. I will be pouring over this one for a long time to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Laura Tringali Holmes on July 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
One of the reviewers here points out that the projects in this book are so easy that even little kids can make them. This is true. And if you like projects that look like this, you will probably love this book.

Likewise, if you prefer to work from a set of exhaustive instructions, you will not be disappointed. For one project--a stationery set made out of a compartmented box--there are a full 7 pages of instructions containing 26 very detailed steps such as: "Cut out...an image of a bird. Glue...to the front cover." Be aware, though, that not all the projects require things as simple (or as cheap) as a bird image. To make the projects as instructed, you will also need a piece from a metal meat grinder, a miniature plastic elephant, a mini birdcage for the elephant to sit in, and a vintage camera cover. There are also specifications in various projects for imagery: hands, tree branches, love notes.

And that's one of the reasons this book doesn't work for me. Its theory is self-expression. Its reality is follow-these-26-steps-and-glue-down-the-bird-and-while-you're-at-it-put-the-tree-branch-images-THERE.

Where I am at in my career, another paint-by-numbers book does nothing for me. But I realize that's just me. Judging from the reviews here, there are many who will wish to construct the projects as described. And that's my second qualm with this book. Many of the required materials fall well outside of the realm of the book's subtitle: "Composing Artful Expressions From Items Cast Aside." For example, if you do not have these things just hanging around your house, you will have to purchase them: fusible web, rub-on images, a vintage keyhole, wooden tube containers, and plastic test tubes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MA on April 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Elemental Journal: Composing Artful Expressions from Items Cast Aside by author Tammy Kushnir is certainly a fine lesson in re-purposing. Full of outstanding photography; this book offers step-by-step visual and written instructions on how to give new life to something old. There are 30 projects featured from many mixed-media artists including Tammy Kushnir herself. This book will certainly inspire you to want to start creating beautiful pieces of art for yourself or to give as gifts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Longfellow on April 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a primitive crafts-style project book revolving around the concept of unique journals and sketchbooks made from anything and everything you can find around. From doorknobs, to buttons, boxes and metal plates, iPod cases and tree bark, Tammy Kushnir has put together an inspiration book for those who love the reclaimed and forgotten.

I picked this book because of the full page photos and intriguing reclaimed aspect of her projects. It is a beautiful book, but I was less than inspired. I love art, I love reusing knick knacks you come upon, and I love journals. But this came out... well, weird. Although artful, I find her journals completely impractical to actually journal with. They seem more like pieces you would leave on a shelf than something you might doodle in or jot down a quick quote. There were a couple things I liked, like her Mini Memory Box and the idea behind the Stationary Box, but most of it came off very rough and messy. I'm just not a fan of the primitive fashion.

There are nine other contributors with work throughout the book, so obviously this style is loved and fairly common. To that I say, 'To each his own'. I just can't believe they made a whole book about it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judith Hoffman on July 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In my opinion the books you would make from the instructions are artist's books, not journals. Several people complained in the reviews that they can't keep a journal in these books or store them on a bookshelf with other books. I wonder why they didn't look inside the book before ordering it? It's true the title is misleading, I would guess it was the publisher's decision. The books are relatively small, like little treasures.

The projects are fun to read about - but I would not search out a part of a meat grinder, as one person suggested you would have to do, in order to make the book. You could use your creative imagination and substitute some interesting object you already have around. I find this book inspiring, not to literally make each book, but to see how someone uses the odd items they have collected to make fun little books. The bindings are very simple to make, the books could have collages or drawings inside, to make them into wonderful little artist's books.

My only complaint: the layout of the pages is a little cluttered for me. I find the decorative stuff around the photos distracting. Because of that, I would be inclined to give it 4.5 stars, but that doesn't seem fair because the content is great.

Disclaimer: I did *not* get this book on BookSneeze ;-) and there are photos of two of my books included in a gallery section. One uses found objects to tell the story of my childhood, so you can see I do like this style of book making. The artists don't make money from the sale of the book, you can rest assured that I'm not just saying I like the book to make a buck.
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The Elemental Journal: Composing Artful Expressions from Items Cast Aside
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