Sunday, January 31, 2010

intuitive connections

My Mom got back from Hawaii yesterday, and she called to tell me of the whales and dolphins she saw numerous times.
I opened my journal to the day before - and there were some dolphins swimming on the pages.
Now just how does that work?

"Good instincts usually tell you what to do before your head has figured it out." --Michael Burke

["Хорошо инстинктов обычно говорю вам, что нужно сделать, прежде чем ваша голова догадался."]

Saturday, January 30, 2010


So a few days ago I showed you the process of making a journal out of sheets of watercolor paper, sewing the signatures, and adding some images with the sewing machine.
I wanted to show you one of the pages - before and after.
because it's layers baby, layers and layers, it's all about layers - the more texture and layering, the better the page looks.
I added some acrylic paint, some gold paint with a sponge, some ink stamps, some collage images, and then some words, and voila:

"Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it's not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere." --Barack Obama

Friday, January 29, 2010

Six ways to kneel and kiss the ground:

1. believe
2. make some pages in your journal
3. go outside and look at the full moon tonight and know you are loved
4. meditate on all that is good. have compassion for those who have a hard time finding the good in their own lives.
5. eat some healthy food. do some yoga. walk and stretch. feel your body make it's own healthy way.
6. believe

And remember - healing the self is healing the world. Share it.

"If ya ain't got it in ya, ya can't blow it out." --Louis Armstrong


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

just for fun . . . .

I always collect odds and ends for my journals, collages, and artist trading cards. For umpteen years I have saved the paper fortunes from inside the cookies whenever we ate at a Chinese Restaurant.
I always stick these on the outside of envelopes I send, and often in my journal pages. They just add that certain "je ne sais crois."
So, I have decided to share the abundance.
I am going to sell these sheets of 30 various fortunes I have collected over the years for $5 a pop!
Just go HERE to my website to purchase via paypal.

And may you be blessed with 30 of the best fortunes ever; my favorite: "You must be willing to act today in order to suceed."

"I'm not opposed to commerce, even though I'm an artist." --Tracey Emin

["Ben ticaret için olsa bile, Bir sanatçı I'm karşı değilim."]

Monday, January 25, 2010

Filling your handmade journal - part 2

Yesterday I showed you photos of the process of making a journal by tearing watercolor sheets, folding and then sewing the signatures together, and gluing those signatures into a book cover. Today - let's start filing your book!
First, I find it essential to have inspiring materials all around me - rich watercolors and watercolor crayons and a jar of water to start with:

Then paint the page - start with water, add the paint and some crayon, you can go back over the crayon to blend in the lines.

Then when the paint is dry (this might be next day - or you can use a heat tool to speed up the drying) assemble a pile of wonderful images. Magazines, ephemera, stamps, personal photos and photocopies, wonderful papers, all these things should be right in front of you to inspire you. Tearing strips of some of your wonderful papers (think wrapping paper, oragami, handmade joss papers) can help you make a border around the pages.

I have just added my sewing machine to the work table - so here I am showing you how to sew a few images on first. This really adds wonderful texture to the page. Maybe add one or two to each, and even the stitched squares that show up on the opposite side are cool.

Some of the sewed images before more collage:

I like to glue the loose threads with a touch of white glue - it will dry to invisible.

Then you are going to glue on more bits, and finally, the marker. Words, of course, might be an important part of your journaling process. I like to use letter stamps for the big words, then I often trace around the edges with marker to pop them out. I also think making marker lines around the photos helps hold them to the page and make the whole collage look more finished. For me, more is better, clutter doesn't bother my eye, but you stop when you feel done. The funky layers of images and color help my words flow at this point, and I just feel inspired by my own exploration. It's not about making something you will frame, it's about getting your feelings on the pages. So just enjoy! If you do too much and feel the page is crowded, next page hold off a bit. and with this heavy watercolor paper, you can go back with paint over the images if you like . . . . you might be adding these bits and pieces, marker doodles and lines, words and thoughts, for days and days to come on these pages. This is why I show you a different finished page here - soon, when the "lire and red" page above is done, I will post it here for you to see. So you'll have to come back.
and do remember: Fun Fun Fun -- anytime you get to play and express yourself, how is this not FUN?

and here is the cover of my latest journal, showing you how I use photos, a stamp, and lots of marker to get words and images to fill the pages. I often work many of the collaged parts at my studio, then I can take the journal with a set of markers to the coffee shop, or on a trip, and fill in the words and doodles in a leisurely and contemplative way. I can think of no greater joy than to make a journal like this, start it off with some paint, add some basic background images, then take it on the road to add local ephemera, doodley words and squiggles, and lots of ideas. A long train trip? Journal Heaven!

“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time.“ --T.S. Eliot

["E la fine di tutto il nostro esplorare sarà arrivare dove abbiamo cominciato e per conoscere il luogo per la prima volta."]

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Making a handmade journal - part 1

So I missed the art day at my Church - I was still coughing too much to share the germs. I decided to share some journal making here instead. Since I had a day dedicated to art, and I needed to make something, I am going to show you how to make your own handmade journal. First - make your work space ready - a big surface is really helpful for tearing paper, assembling materials, having what you need at hand. and here is a hint -- when I moved my computer away from my work area, I got more productive. My desk is just a sheet of marine plywood on bookshelves, and I covered it with mylar so the wood is not too rough.

You will need 22" x 30" sheets of watercolor paper - cold press, so they are smooth to take all your collaging. You will be marking the length at 10" and 20" to tear the sheets into three equal rectangles.

Use a large metal ruler to tear the paper into three parts.

Fold the papers into three parts, the pages will be folded as a flip out for your book, so each sheet will be in thirds:

You will sew sets of two or three with a sewing machine - this is making what is called signatures in bookbinding terms - these signatures will be assembled together to make the whole book have more pages.

I am using a cover from another book I bought at the 90% off table at the bookstore - I removed the papers which came in it to use for collage, and I will glue my sewn signatures into this cover. Of course, eventually, I will collage on the cover also. Here you see the three signatures sitting on the book cover I am reusing. I also will sew these three together with cord so the middle one stays put - the front and back will be firmly attached with glue, but having all three connected is important - I simply tie the heavy cord together in the middle, and this can be covered up with collage paper if I don't want it to show in the journal.

I put lots of glue on the ribbon to glue the three signatures together - white glue is actually very very strong. Spread the glue with a piece of cardboard so it is well distributed.

Here is the binding - the three signatures held together with the ribbon.

The glued binding -- use clips to hold them together while the glue dries:

Here is the book - three signatures of three pages each, glued together then the front and back page are glued into the empty cover. Each page has a fold out, to make the pages bigger - more page area = more collage! Tomorrow I will show you the sequence of painting, collaging and adding words and marker to a page.
and don't forget to enjoy the process, however your book turns out is fine - it is YOUR journal, and you can enjoy the making as well as the filling of it.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." --Ursula K. LeGuin

["Det är bra att ha ett slut på resa mot, men det är resan som är viktigt, i slutet."]

Friday, January 22, 2010

Eihwaz - Rune of the Yew Tree

Eihwaz speaks to the time we are to remain dormant before change occurs. Obstacles in our path can seem like mistakes, problems, or curses. But when we slow down, we build up patience and wisdom. Eihwaz counsels that this is a time to wait for the spring of water to fill, to wait for the fruit to ripen on the tree.
I have been quite discombobulated with our cross country move, our job stress, starting a 9th grader in a new school, a more frugal budget, and even my health has been under the weather.
But today, the Rune I pulled counsels me to wait; to draw on the strength of a bow of yew, that there is no need to lust after a desired outcome, simply to Trust.
I woke up at 2 A.M. this morning, unable to sleep. My first response to kill time in the middle of the night was to surf the web - looking at artists' blogs, workshops, others' journals. I felt stuck. Then I realized - my worktable had my computer on it. So instead of grabbing a journal, I had unthinkingly just turned on the computer.
Wrong thing to do.
I rearranged my whole work surface in the middle of the night - all the computer stuff went to my "office" desk, and I dedicated the work table only to the journals and art supplies.
I arranged the pens in a nice row, covered the bare wood in smooth plastic mylar, put within easy reach my stamps, paints, watercolors, and the piece de resistance -- set up the sewing machine on the end of the table.
Now I can SEW images onto the pages - something I have always meant to do, but never got around to.
I am working on a one day journal project - last night I set up the pages with watercolor and some sewed images, and tomorrow we have a craft day at the new church.
We are called to bring unfinished projects to work on all day, and share our work.
YES! This is the perfect introduction for my journals to my new congregation.
I hope to lead another creative journaling group here and this is my chance to demo this work.
I plan on taking photos of the journal's growth throughout the day - so come back soon to see a photo essay on the One Day Journal.
So true that all the stress of my life falls away when I get excited about this work, when I get to make new pages and share them.
Journaling really is healing.
and see in this page I did last night if you can spot the sewing:

"Be willing to lose everything to gain the things that really matter in life, the things of the spirit which are from everlasting to everlasting. A whole new world is unfolding; remember to give constant thanks for everything." --Eileen Caddy

["Wees bereid om alles te verliezen om de dingen te doen die echt belangrijk in het leven."]

Thursday, January 21, 2010

check in - what lights you up?

In our covenant circles at my U.U. church, we would do a check-in. It is an extended status update (to borrow from Facebook) about how our lives are going. It sort of is an oral journal page, if you will!
I have been sending my check-in's to my two BFF's back in New Jersey, and it feels sad to do this in an e-mail and not in person, like we have done for years. I don't have anyone here yet in the new State of Colorado to do a check-in with. Also, until my brother and his wife leave for their U.K. Gig next week, we have been living in the basement, to be out of their way. And this basement is a bit cold. So for a few weeks now, I have been in a cold basement, trying to get my studio set up, getting my 14 year old daughter to go to a high school she is not happy with every day, and to top it all off, I got a dooooozy of a cold.
So right now, it is 3 in the morning, and I am sneezing and coughing, and bundled up a bit, sitting at my messy desk in the new studio which is still chaotic and not put together well.
And I open my journal to write.
Nothing comes.
I feel there is something radically new for me here in this new State.
I feel like my work needs to take a whole new turn.
I know that our reason for being here on this earth has to come from our heart - that the thing that lights us up is the very thing we should pursue, not just for our own health, but for the health of all. Journaling has been this light for me - what feels like my soul work.
Up until now, I have been photographing, collaging, pasting images and words and colors in these books, but I have so many other interests that I want to explore.
I love making art in community, and if I can, I will get together a creative journaling group meetup here.
But I still feel like something is missing.
It might just be a question of getting settled in here, finding my routine. This work does feel like a calling, and I know how healing art is.
That's it somehow, making these pages and sharing them feels so healing to me, I want to share the healing-ness of it more than just here.
I am thinking of asking the local women's prison if they would like me to come teach a class. or something like that.
There has to be a way to give back with this work.
any ideas?

"Healing Art is being born as we speak. The concept is catching fire, is awakening in people's spirits. . . Artists, musicians and dancers are realizing their imagery has meaning . . . that their imagery heals them, others, their neighborhood, or the earth."
--Michael Samuels

["हीलिंग कला का जन्म होता है के रूप में हम बात कर रहे हैं."]

Friday, January 15, 2010

Kano - Rune of Opening

Ah - Kano - the exact perfect Rune for me, as I finally have arrived at our new life here in Denver. Kano speaks to the morning of activities with clear intent, the renewing of goals and things falling into place, and things opening up with clear light shining on what had been dark areas.
I can use Kano right now, and as we settle into this new place, although there is stress, I am learning to trust, and take the gifts I have with gratitude.
It is all work -- learning to transmute our negativity into love is our gift we give to the world.
The hard stuff? I am working on making it into good stuff . . . .
Blessed Be!

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

["En resa på tusen miles måste börja med ett enda steg."]

Thursday, January 14, 2010

forging ahead . . .

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

["Volg niet waar het pad kan leiden. Ga in plaats daarvan waar geen pad en laat een spoor."]

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Looking back, looking forward, just being here now.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” --Henry Miller

["Si usted puede leer esto, usted es impresionante!"]

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

breath in, breath out. Repeat.

"When you give a color a name, it is the beginning of blindness." --Zen saying

[jos voit lukea tämän, olet mahtava!]

Saturday, January 9, 2010

the power of art

Gathering images, throwing them on the scanner, making the pages interesting by moving things around, adding a stamp, a photo, a scrap of newspaper.
Last night I had a little art date.
I was fishing around in some old papers, and found a bit of a map of Paris, ticket stubs from a movie there, a small photo of Edith Piaf.
I messed around with these and some more scraps on the scanner to make a collage for the journal.
Edith Piaf has always inspired me -- and inspired a generation of people who listened to her music through hard times. By expressing herself so poignantly, she spoke for many who needed a voice. She put all her pain and all her emotion into her music.
Art, when voiced from a true and authentic place, can be the voice for many.
I find that just working in my journal, making some images, writing some words, helps get out what I need to get out.
Find some beauty today in your world - express this beauty. You will find healing in this process.
And what heals us, heals the world.
Just ask Edith.

"For me, singing is a way of escaping. It's another world. I'm no longer on earth."
--Edith Piaf

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ansuz - the messenger Rune

Another Rune journal page for today - Ansuz, which stands for signals, messages, and the God Loki. This rune indicates that connection with the Divine is at hand, and that this is a time for exploring the depths and foundations of life.
This morning I had a chance to explore those depths - I went outside to below zero temperatures, to a car covered in snow and ice which needed to get cleaned, so my daughter could get to her second day at the new high school.
Luckily, I had gloves, but unluckily not a very good scraper and not very good boots.
oh the cold.
Colorado sure delivers some cold temperatures.
But I managed to get most of the ice and snow scraped, warmed up the car, and got her to school in time. On the way we saw a kid walking to school in just a tee shirt and shorts, no coat.

Moving creates so much new stress, and right now I am just trying to get through the errands of new drivers license, car registration, check books, boxes and lost things, finding some boots and warm socks.
In a month, I think the message of Ansuz will seem a little more welcome.

"Nothing worth having doesn't come without some kind of fight." --Bruce Cockburn

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Breath in suffering. . . .

Breath out Compassion.
I love those two lines. When my heart races, when I feel panic or anxiety, when the stress of life feels like it will knock me down, I try to stop and say those two lines slowly several times. I breath in my own suffering, and then breath out compassion for myself.
Working in the journal, of course, is an extended way to do just this.
Playing with paper, images, color, words, arranging and gluing these things down in my journal is a way for me to process my own need for transmuting my anxiety into beauty.
This page today is really about that - making beauty.
Collage is such a powerful way to access the subconscious.
Actually, it feels like it is a way to heal the subconscious.
I know in paint, the same thing can happen, but I find the careful planning needed to make a painting interferes with my creative sub-conscious process.
For me, collage works the same way dreams do -- something gets spoken that I didn't know.
I try to not use my head too much, to just listen and let the images flow.
I have my studio mostly set up, and I am eager to mine the gems of my new life here at the foothills of the Rockies.
Life is not without stress, but what we do with our stress can turn our lumps of coal into amazing diamonds.
I can thank my journal for helping me with this process.

"I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind." --Emily Bronte

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Beginnings, Sad Goodbyes

A few days ago, we landed in Denver, my daughter and I, and went to the baggage carousel to pick up our luggage.
Standing very near was a tall man with waist length black hair, probably Hopi or Navajo, waiting for his luggage. As we waited for our bags, from behind him came a much older version of the man, a woman with short curly white hair, but the same face, just with many lines of age, a weathered and strong face.
He turned, and then how they greeted each other was so moving. They didn't say any words, they just silently leaned into each other and touched foreheads. They stayed that way, very still, silent. After what seemed like half a minute, she leaned back and took his face in both of her hands, and just stared deeply into his eyes.
The vision of this, the mother greeting the son with such deep, yet unspoken, emotion, made my eyes fill with tears as I witnessed their reunion, and my eyes fill with tears as I remember it.
That very morning, I had said goodbye to my two older children, whom I know I might not see for many months, economics being what they are for us now.
We love our children so deeply, we spend every day thinking of their well-being, feeding them, cleaning for them, asking them casually how their days are. I have done this job for 24 years. Now, two thirds of a continent away from two thirds of my children, I am facing a very new way of relating to them. We will skype, and text, and e-mail, yes. But they will be living on their own, and I will be a long, long ways away.
This very graceful Native American Mother, greeting her very elegant looking Native American son was a beautiful vision of this love parents have for their children.
The way no words needed to be spoken, just a deep, deep looking, a deep deep knowing, said so much of this powerful bond.
I am here in Denver now, unpacking countless boxes, getting my youngest daughter oriented and ready to start at her new high school in a few days. As I unpack, I have not a small amount of sadness at what I left behind, but also, I know looking forward is the way of wisdom and how we need to walk this earth.
I have already gone on a hike at Bear Creek Lake Park, and the ranger there told me of a great horny owl nesting area in the cottonwoods, where it is easy to spot and hear owls. I found a stone from my new life, and it will go on the altar that is already on my desk, to remind me of the permanent connection we have to the Earth, to our Mother, who looks deeply into our eyes, and promises that love with continue.

and no journal pages yet, but this is a part of a drawing by my beautiful and talented daughter, Lindsay, who will do great things with her art, and whose eyes I will look deeply into next time I can see her:

"Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form." --Rumi