I'm new to the Tom Bihn phenomenon, but am having a blast being a part of it. My first piece in my “to-be-curated” collection is the Field Journal. My wife purchased it for me a couple of months back after I talked on-and-on about it.
We recently took a trip to Lake Tahoe where I was able to put the Journal to the test. It was amazing. I use the Journal to collect the various bits of media I like to create. I do a bit of watercolor, photography, journaling, and general collecting of interesting detritus. I really love putting these collections together to create a story. The Field Journal is a wonderful platform that provides stability and flexibility.
Here you can see the extent of my equipment that traveled in the Journal:
I enjoy working in the field to produce final pieces, the Field Journal provides lots of possibilities. I like the way it lets me sit or stand while working, the shoulder strap is nice and simple but effective. I like being able to customize the equipment I'm packing in the field. I have been experimenting with a number of accessories over the last few months. I have found an efficient collection of implements that fit into the various pockets and slots offered by the Field Journal. I have added tab dividers to organize pages and use clear dividers to carry small bits of paper. The front pocket is bigger than it appears which is handy to soak up bulkier items.
Recently I have been experimenting with a Polaroid Pogo printer to print on the spot images with my camera. I get a kick out of the “flaky-ness” of this printer, it really reminds me of the chemical based polaroid process I have spent too much money on in recent history. It runs on battery power and fits easily in the front pocket.
Watercolor “water brushes” are a nice way to work in the field and don’t require hauling a tub of water along. On my recent trip to Lake Tahoe I would even refill the brush from the lake. I like the idea of my paintings containing water from the lake :)
An Acme pen is a luxury to write with and fits nicely in the pen pocket inside.
I found a nice watercolor spiral notebook that matches the 5.5 x 8.5 paper size of the Field Journal, this one is a Canson brand. I played around with both keeping the pages in the spiral notebook during painting and painting on blank pages in the 3 ring binder. Don’t know if I have a preference yet... Its easy to 3 hole punch the pages and add them as I work. In fact I got into 3 hole punching all sorts of things and adding them to the binder. The chipboard backing page that comes with the paper makes for a nice template for punching.
Winsor & Newton make a great little half pan water color set that fits in the large pocket on the inside of the journal.
I like the included Tom Bihn ruler. I am looking for a cleaver hole punch that will take up less space. The little blue widget is a corner rounder which you can see on the small “Artist Trading Card” sized card, rounds off square corners. Added a double stick tape dispenser and the rig is pretty complete.
All in all its a great set up and I have just begun to tinker with it. I can’t wait to add another Tom Bihn to my severely abbreviated collection. I have my eye on a Brain Bag for an up coming round-the-world trip (London, New Delhi, Bangkok, Manila, Hong Kong, Guangzhou). I have a collection of camera gear, sound gear, computer gear and general traveling necessities to keep track of, so we shall see...
Thanks Tom, its nice to find a product that has an appropriate amount of thought behind it these days.
sweet, sweet, sweet review. thanks jpenrod. 123veo
Wonderful pictures, thank you. Your art work is amazing. One thing I have to ask, what color is your FJ? You can get a flat (half and inch thick+/-) three hole punch at office supply stores. Amazon carries them too. Thanks again for the pictures. I'm looking forward to more of them from your trip.
Thanks for the info on the hole punch, I will take a look. The color of the Field Journal is steel.
Moose can you post a picture or guide us to a product number for the 3 holes punch?
Originally Posted by Moose
Thank you so much for sharing this post, with the gorgeous photos of your setup and the fascinating description of the way you work. I'm a writer, not an artist (don't have that gift that you obviously do), but even so, I found myself inspired by what you wrote.
I do love photography, so that little Polaroid Pogo printer intrigues me.
The Pogo is pretty great, but I will warn you that you need to be open minded with it. The color and quality is finicky. The other thing I did not mention is the power supply is almost larger than the printer itself. So, I dump the power supply and some other unsavory chucks of plastic into another bag. On the positive side the price of the printer had dropped drastically over the last few months making it a feasible tool to play with...
On the Staples website the item number for the three hole punch is 193425. On the Amazon site they have several. I picked the ones that have brand names that seem familiar. I didn't find item numbers but I did get descriptions, they are:
X-Acto Binder 3 hole punch 1520
Swingline Portable 3 hole punch, 3 sheet capacity A7074042R
Swingline Notebook hole punch
Amazon has a couple of others listed too. They aren't too expensive $3 to $4 for most of them. I forgot to look at Amazon to see if any of them qualify for free shipping with a $25 order. I'd check them all just in case.
Hope this helps you out a bit.
What a fantastic review! Thank you, Jpenrod.
Terrific review! Love the detailed explanation of your use of the Field Journal, your photos of it in use, and especially your lovely artwork!
Thank You So Much Moose!
Originally Posted by Moose
I went to a big box office supplies store to buy food aka ink for my printer (cost me almost as much as my own food).
I swung by the organizer area to see if they had the dividers Jpenrod uses. They didn't.
I saw your Daytimer setup Moose but they only sold it as a set not divider only setup.
Because I forgot to buy something important, hence the need to activate my FJN into service, I will be going to another office store shortly.
I will check if they have Jpenrod dividers (I have the same style and brand for letter sizer binders, I know that they are durable) and check on the 3 holes punches you mentioned.
What a great review, and a clever setup. I'm already tempted by the Field Journal and you're not helping my willpower. I have a tiny little single hole punch that would work well--I'll take a photo of it when I get home and post it. Wish I could remember where I got it, though.
ETA: I took a photo but can't figure out how to post it. The little hole punch is about two inches long and an inch high, and the brand name is Westcott, but I found their web site and the punch is no longer listed.
Thanks for all of the kind remarks, this is a great community...
And, thanks for the leads on the hole punch.
Small hole punches -- instead of an office supply store, you might actually have more luck finding something at an arts and crafts store like Michaels.
In the meantime, maybe you can use something like this? Amazon.com: Mini Hole Punch-Assorted Colors: Arts, Crafts & Sewing
There is a 3-hole punch which is flat and works very well when placed inside a binder, even. You can find it here: http://store.franklinplanner.com/sta...31_lrgcase.jpg
Can somebody tell me different ways to use the Field Journal? I love to write and journal during trips; however I CANNOT draw or sketch to save my life, so that is out of the question. Any ideas, suggestions will be greatly appreciated.