Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Journaling Projects update

My two special journaling projects for this year - the fabric 'farmhouse memory album' and my paper 'travel journals' have been on hold for a week whilst we have been away working at the 'Malvern Spring Flower Show' (about which I will talk on my 'wild somerset child' blog in due course. I took my art journaling bag and a small box of supplies away with me and had pre-prepared pages upon which to paint and journal: nine (or was it twelve?) painted paper bags folded and stitched so each page was just under 6" square - approx 15cm. My csan above does not do justice to the rich spring colour - sap green basically with cream and yellow, exactly as our Cotswold hedgerows are right now. I had rushed to get the pages finished before leaving - the threads needed tying off, but I intended to spend time each evening working on and in them, filling the pages and pockets with photos and notes, and the occasional sketch. Some hope! We were exhausted by the end of each 12-hour day, and on the second evening the motorhome 12volt electrics failed totally.

I did manage one small sketch (see above, on vellum, to be cut out and mounted on the page); it shows part of the view I could see from the kitchen area of the m'home - the beautiful Malvern Hills. But although that was the only sketch I made,  I took over a hundred photos, and scribbled/typed a written journal each night to be mounted on muslin-faced cards and tagged together as a written and illustrated record of our time away. But that was as far as I got. I also mislaid my mobile phone just before leaving home last Wednesday and in turning the house over to try to find it this morning, came across the journaling prompt I sent to one of our grandchildren last summer. 

Lucy (then 10) was due to sit the entrance exam into her senior school and was worried about her English. As I used to teach this age-group, and specialised in trying to solve a child's learning problems on a one-to-one basis, she asked if I could help. She came to stay for a week and she worked so hard that one day we turned the motorhome into a mobile classroom and took her out for a picnic lunch and a walk in the hills, followed by more writing work. She thought this was great fun. Here are Lucy and Grandpa eating lunch ...

... and here she is thinking about what she will write about her day out:

She sent us such a lovely card after her return home to her parents and brother and sister and my reply turned into more lesson prompts; I had arranged to continue to help her, long-distance, with her 'composition' - journaling in fact. One of her exercises each day was to pick a postcard at random from my 'art collection' and describe it, or turn it into a story, or try to recreate the colours with paint; in short to encourage her to really look at something, sufficiently closely that she could write freely and without pause. The advice I gave her may be useful to others - just click on the image and it should enlarge to full page size; you will see a little of what I suggested.

And here is an image of the card she sent us, to which I refer at the start of my letter to her.

(postcard from a painting by UK (Suffolk) artist, Clare Curtis)

Journaling can take so many forms and follow so many threads and paths. Right now I have all my notes and images to sort and incorporate into my little paper-book; and a magazine article to write by the weekend on our time at the Spring Flower Show, which was brilliant. And then I move back to 'farmhouse memories' and the page-blanks I am creating for that.

Meanwhile, 'hello' again to all journalers; it's lovely to be back and I will catch up as soon as I can with all the blog posts I have missed (hello, too to Pascale - good to make your acquaintance.)


  1. I've been wondering where you were.. what a lovely time you had with your granddaughter and how sweet of you to help her. She's a very pretty girl.. but then I'm sure you already know that.
    Thanks for sharing the pictures.. I enjoyed them very much.

  2. your paper bag page is beautiful. i love your story of you tutoring your granddaughter, who is just so lovely, and making learning fun by taking her out in the mobile caravan. you alaways seem so very very busy. i feel lazy by comparison. good to hear from you again, be well, suki

  3. You are both such dear people to respond so quickly; and thankyou. Feeling in low spirits since posting that entry; heard that one of the magazines I write for every month is to cease publication immediately - I had commissions until next January; half of my income axed in a flash. So I crave contact with dear bloggers whilst I re-think what I will do.

  4. I LOVE the part about your granddaughter; mine are 11 and 6, the oldest one is wanting to do beaches, so we are doing that later this summer. I am SO LOOKING forward to that time alone. I have ALWAYS encouraged their art, whatever form it has taken. AND tis so good to read of another doing the same.

  5. How wonderful to have this to share with your granddaughter! You will enrich her life more than you can imagine. Best to you - Jeanne in Oregon