Saturday, November 13, 2021

Commonplace Box?

 Commonplace Box?

You gotta love Instagram. I enjoy scrolling through and looking at art and other inspiring ideas. Last week @kriscamealy posted an idea she got from @shapingtheriver (aka Christine Heister). The idea was to use a card catalog and write the kinds of quotes you put in a commonplace book on index cards and file them in the card catalog. Kris posted a photo of the card catalog/filing box she purchased and commented that she was going to file her cards by topic. I fell in love with this idea!

First, I love vintage filing boxes/card catalogs. I have a small collection of wood ones. I mainly collect vintage Weis boxes, which were made not far from where I live from the late 1800's through 1963. Plus I enjoy writing on index cards. In fact, when I go to estate sales I pick up packages of older index cards whenever I see them. Older index cards are made from a nice heavyweight paper. The index cards they sell in stores now are so flimsy. I like the weight of vintage ones.

Second, I love the practice of commonplacing. I have practiced it since long before I knew what it was called, always writing quotes or passages from books in my written journals. Here is a definition from a blog post I wrote about the practice way back in 2013 when I first learned about the term.

"Commonplacing is the act of selecting important phrases, lines, and/or passages from texts and writing them down; the commonplace book is the notebook in which a reader has collected quotations from works she or he has read. Commonplace books can also include comments and notes from the reader."  (From "Commonplaces: An Introduction" by John Hilgart and Van Hillard

Some other definitions:

  • A book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use.
  • A notebook in which you enter memorabilia.
  • The recording of words and ideas in a commonplace.

So, combining the idea of a commonplace book in a filing box on index cards - what could be better! And I love Kris' idea of cataloging them by topic. It makes them easy to find when I'm looking for a quote for a blog post or to place in an art journal. PLUS, I'm decorating them just a bit with some collage or washi tape. It all makes this a perfect ongoing project! 

Thanks Kris and Christine for turning me on to a great idea, or maybe a new addiction!

The 2021 Advent Words Challenge is just around the corner! You can read about what this year's challenge will look like here.

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