Monday, 25 May 2009

Pocket Pages and Napkins

Kristin's blank pocket page journal, as mailed to her in Italy

Slathering paint and stitching is as therapeutic for me as gardening (about which I wrote in my other blog this last weekend); and I could do with a little gentle therapy just now - it's a long story which will reveal itself as the days pass, in other posts. My painted paperbag journal is at standstill for the moment, but when I made the delicious spring-green pages for my own project, I made two others for dear friends, in colours to suit their journeyings.

The first was mailed to Italy, where my South Carolina guiding spirit, Kristin Steiner, was busily engaged on the 'Adventures in Italy' creative enterprise she runs twice a year with her husband, Bill. More about that to come, but Kristi's pocket-page paperbag journal was actually a crib of a design she sent me last year, though I adapted it until it was quite different to the original. I chose Orvieto colours, as I supposed them to be, and napkins for her to decorate her pages, for I know she journals every day.

the cover of Kristin's pocket page journal, all ready for her to personalise

The second pocket page booklet was sent to Helen (Cocoa and Blankets) in what I thought would be Venetian colours, because I had read her post about her visit to Venice. Helen's pockets also held napkins to do with as she wished (taking tea or to decorate her pages). Imagine how thrilled I was yesterday morning to read her post and see how she had used them. Her pages looked gorgeous - do take a look at her Sunday post (24th May: scroll down past her other beautiful creations until you reach the pages). She is way ahead of me for none of my napkins have yet been pasted onto my own pages.

Helen's blank pocket page journal, as mailed; she has now customised every page with motifs from the napkins I included for her

I had better hurry with entries in mine, before I lose all my journaling notes and colour-memories; for spring sap-green will soon give way to summer gold and I will need to make more pages to accompany me on my next visit to Malvern, to the 'Three Counties Show': farming and the countryside, and back to the hills.

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.)