There are so many objects that influence and shape our daily lives and our creativity. Ever since I was a child, I've been fascinated with the objects we use and pass on to our loved ones.

They have become my favorite things, and I'd like to share them with you.

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I was so excited to see this on my doorstep. It was my first delivery of the quarterly release, the campfire edition, from Field Notes, created by Aaron Draplin and Jim Coudal.

I have used other small journals, but they were hard to write in, and had so many pages, that the idea of filling them felt overwhelming. Also, they were hardly portable. I needed something I could carry in my pocket without noticing it was there.   

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Along came Field Notes.

I can't quite remember when I first discovered them, but from the outset, I was hooked. The graphic design reminded me of things I had seen in my Dad's workspace in the basement, and in my Grandfathers workshop. I simply had to have them.

Futura Font. Rounded Corners. 48 pages. Graph Paper. Lined Paper. Dotted Paper. Ledgers.

To me, Field Notes are a tribute to documentation, to collecting, and are ultimately what I chose to pen my story. I use them almost daily as a place to put my thoughts, as a playground for my imagination, and as an outlet for my creativity in situations where it is otherwise difficult or time is short. They ground me as an artist.

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It runs in the family.

My Great Aunt was a collector. My Dad was a collector. My Mom is a collector. My brother is a collector. My brother-in-law is a collector. My Uncles are collectors. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's what we do to manage our anxiety. Ok wait, that's not fair, I'm projecting. It's what I do to manage my anxiety and feel in control. Besides, I just like cool stuff.

The quarterly subscription was a gift from my wife for my 40th birthday. I was floored. I had a guarantee that new books would be arriving throughout the year.

The contents of my first delivery are pictured to the left.

Pen. Pencil. Band. Campfire edition with patch. Classic original kraft variety pack & graph.

It's a pleasure to look at something where you know each detail was carefully thought out, and that the presentation was paramount.

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This is the first book I began writing in.

The Chicago edition, in trademark colors and stars, consists of 48 pages, printed with a 3/16" square grid, perfect for planning out ideas, doodling, graphing, and making lists.

It is quite worn and bent at this point from countless trips in and out of my back pocket. I've used it as a creative outlet for my thoughts, the days events, places I've been, and even as a sticker book.

I wrote almost exclusively with a Pentel 0.7mm Graphlet mechanical pencil with HB lead. (PG507)

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I rarely look back at my notes like a to-do list. I find it much more interesting to put them aside for a while, and I look forward to peeking at them months later.

I keep a date stamp handy, and use it to segment my entries. My past memories are not well remembered by date, but I feel it's important to my story, so I make sure to include it now.

Each book tends to take on a theme, and I repeat certain symbols or designs. 

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As an artist and a parent I can't help but share my interests with my son. This is his first book in Red, his favorite color at the time. His book is the Illinois County Fair edition. Like mine, it is 48 pages and printed with a 3/16" grid. It is filled with various stickers, carnival tickets, and scribbles where he pretended to be writing.

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This is Iggy's second book. Its 48 pages are  lined ledger style with rows and columns. An added bonus is the fold-out ruler inside the back cover.

Sometimes he looks to me for inspiration of what to do in his Field Notes. Often, we will sit together, and as I explore different materials or techniques, he will do his own version of it. You can see we had fun with stars here. They carry on throughout the book. We also used another of my favorite things, the embossing label maker.  

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Well, there you have it. The story of a collector, a tiny book, a love of design, a release of anxiety, and an appreciation for creative materials.

There's a power in realizing you have no power, and this is my attempt to understand that fact.

I continue to try and not freak page at a time.

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