There are books with words, and there are books with pictures. Then there are books filled with both, plus the text of your life at a given moment.
Visual journals, as Traci Bunkers calls them, are creative and tactile works of art. The artist will be in Lincoln this weekend to lead participants through the process of making them, explaining techniques and giving hands-on instruction at Southeast Community College workshops.
Bunkers, a mixed-media artist from Lawrence, Kan., has been transforming nontraditional objects into art for years, she said in a phone interview. The idea of a visual journal started early; she made her own books as a child, she said.
In college at the University of Kansas, that idea expanded when she took her art class sketch book and began adding notes and other photos. Her vision of "altered books" took off from there.
The books are just part of her life-encompassing art, which starts at the studio in her home and includes printing, making stamping tools, photography, hand-dyed spun fibers and yarns and knitting. She works on different projects at all hours of the day and night, she said. And when she's not doing that, Bunkers, 45, travels to art conferences or leads workshops.
In Lincoln, her Saturday workshop, "Printable Matter," will emphasize using ordinary objects in extraordinary ways for unique print-making and stamping tools. At the end of the day, participants will have a book cover and pages made with new methods and tools.
On Sunday, Bunkers will focus on "The Maiden Voyage" of visual journaling during her workshop. There is no minimum level of creative ability needed, she said.
"It's a process of self-discovery," and she describes her own books as "a little slice of life at that exact moment."
Although every journal is different, she has seen them done on specific topics, such as yoga or a travel experience.