Sunday, December 6, 2009

1001 Journals

I am honored to have been asked to be interviewed for the Journal Project 1001 Journals, a place where we can all share our journaling work with each other and with the world. It is a very inspiring place to visit.
Here are the very beautifully intentional questions, and the answers I provided for the website, and I will post a link when the interview is added there:

1. Your background is in architecture and art. When working on an art piece do you use the same thinking method as in when you do architecture work or do you use a totally different thinking method: I got into architecture because I wanted to creatively affect the environment - making art really is the same impulse. In creating anything, I try to make something meaningful and beautiful that will also be functional. My early work as an architect also gave me some powerful tools I still use in my work: strong graphics to communicate clearly, and an ability to follow through on projects that I might not have had without that vigorous architecture training.

2. On your website there is an article about your work in the group Jfive ; a group of artist you did collaborative painting with; as a group did you all decide to take the piece in one direction? Or did everyone add onto it and let the piece go in it’s own direction? j5, later j4, was a very powerful experiment in collaboration for me - we were from three different countries (American, Japan and Germany) and we all painted simultaneously on very large canvases. We never planned, we never directed, we never decided anything before taking up our brushes, squirting out some colors, and going for it together. Sometimes we got paint on each other! This act of collaborative creation together was very joyful. Sadly, as our work progressed into the marketplace, that's where our communication suffered, and we couldn't sustain that level of joy when dollars and galleries came into the picture. The few years we worked together, and the resulting canvases were quite wonderful.

3. I love your journal entries posted on your journal blog and the stories and process you go through in creating them. Can you share with us the kind of process in creating your journal pieces? Funny to even think of them as "pieces." Journaling for me has always been about powerful self expression, about the process of getting it out, and not about what it will look like. I find if I even consider what the page will look like, this interferes with the freedom to make a mess, and make a mistake, and find the hidden inner voice that I am trying to free. I do have a sort of method, though - I start with color, add some images, add some words, and see what happens. I teach this method, then encourage students to take the work to their own place. Mostly we need to learn to let go of our carefulness, messy is always better in my mind, because that touches the intuitive pre-verbal place in our brains, which I believe is more connected to our authentic voice.

4. When you create a journal entry is it for self-expression or communicating with others? See above - 99 percent self expression. but I admit that when others connect to my work, it feels quite validating as an artist. But I try not to have this affect my process.

5. When did you begin your artistic relationship with shamanic influences in your artwork? The Shamanism sort of found me. In my first studio, another tenant in the building asked me if I wanted to drum together in the morning. I would drum for twenty minutes with him, then go to my studio and start work. Without me even understanding what was happening, the voice of the drum found it's way into my art. I ended up studying Shamanism for the last 20 years, and now it is an essential part of what I do. They say the drumbeat is the heartbeat of the Earth, and I have certainly been drawn into a desire to help heal the environment and protect Mother Earth as part of my art consciousnesss.

6. When working on your journal entries do you allow the physical pages to limit your expression? if you are wondering if the ink and paper and glue ends up plastered on my work surface - ha! Yes! But I also have some canvases around, and some postcards around, and mail art around, and they all receive the blessings of my messes. I could never work on just one thing at a time.

7. Many of your journal entries are made mixed media. Where do you look for your materials? Do you store materials before you use them or do you work with whatever you have at the moment you begin? Piles and piles of books and magazines and papers surround me. I love buying old books and tearing them apart. I am a paper-holic. I just have bags and bags of stuff at hand, and grab what I grab. One reason I love travel, is I save all the lovely scraps and bits of ephemera. All these bits and pieces end up in the collages.

8. Being that your journals are a personal project do you set deadlines for yourself? Or do you continue and to add on to it as you feel like. I heard one artist say in an interview that "if she doesn't get to do her art, someone will get hurt." I find that if I don't work in my journal, after a few days, I turn into a very grouchy unhappy person. For me this is an essential spiritual practice, so there is no question that I work as much as I can. Sometimes other work gets in the way, but I prefer to start every day with journaling, then let the other work flow from that.

9. What is next for your career as an artist? Where are you planning to show next? I am planning on launching a practise doing environmental Shamanism - using drumming and connection with spirit helpers to heal place and space and answer questions for clients. This will be in conjunction with my journaling work, and my magazine, "Creativity Cafe" which helps hold all these different interests in one place where I can share them. And as a shameless plug -- you can find out more about my magazine here:

10. Is there anything new that you want to learn as an artist to explore more possibilities in your work? Healing the planet is a priority for me, as I see so much environmental devastation in our food, in our air, in our ridiculous levels of consumption which have been normalized by big business. and for me, I have learned that healing the Self is the first step in healing the World. Since my journaling is the first step of self healing I know I will always be firmly committed to continuing and sharing this essential practice. Although it seems so personal, it really is part of the wholeness of all life that needs our nurturing.

"One does not stand still looking for a path. One walks; and as one walks, a path comes into being." --Mas Kodani


  1. I am not as creative as you are with journaling, but, like you, I can be a little bit crazy if I don't get to write out my feelings and other things that are going on in my life. Thanks for sharing yourself.

  2. Hello Aunty Em! Great to hear from you. I will be posting to you in the New Year with all my collaging, so thanks so much for updating me on your new addy! I decided not to use your journal in the end as I love it so much and as it is from you, I want to keep it!! So I have made us another one. I think it is fantastic that you were interviewed by 1001 journals. Gosh, that's fantastic kudos for you! Wow.