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Visual Journal #1 (for 2011)

February 9, 2011

I’ve been a journaler for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure since the moment of conception I was probably doodling and writing in amniotic fluid from the insides of my mother’s  . . . ok, we don’t need to go there. The point is, I’m a journaler (this isn’t a word because I can’t seem to spell it right, so I’m making it a word here today). That probably has a lot to do with why I make books today. In fact I know it does. But, that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is to say I’ve gotten away from it. Far far away from it, and I went back last night, and it felt good. Rusty, but good.

See, I used to be a text only journaler. I can remember the pink diary my father bought me one year for Valentine’s Day when I was about 10 years old. It even had a lock and key. I Loved that thing. Still have it today. Not one single drawing, painting, embellishment or piece of ephemera in that thing. Lined paper. Words. Interesting. I think as a young child I was taught that only words belonged in books, especially books with lines, and it took me a really long time to break that rule. But once I did, there really was no going back.

I started visual journals about the same time that I started making books myself. See, regular old journals and diaries wouldn’t hold my ‘work’ as it was. The pages were far too brittle, too thin, and the binding would simply break beneath all the ephemera  I stuck in. So, I started making my own books and eventually started tearing up old discarded books to turn into my own journals because  . . . well, it just seemed right at the time I guess. I Love altered books and creating them, the idea of them, the feeling behind them. I Love them so much when I was student teaching I took my class full of seniors who had failed freshman English three years prior and had them make their own altered books filled with their own poetry and art. These kids THRIVED on this project. I couldn’t get them to do ANYTHING else. Spelling. Vocabulary. Games. Spoken word. Reading. Hell, watching movies. But I could get them to tear up an old book and replace the pages with their own words- their own thoughts.

I think we all get caught up in the notion that books are permanent and classic and untouchable. We’re taught not to write in our textbooks as teenagers (even though we do) and we’re taught to respect the written word. All this is nice and good, some texts do need to be revered, but some texts need to be diven (that’s not a word either, but dove doesn’t sound right) into.

Anyway, I’m getting away from myself.

Before Griffin was born I started a visual altered journal for myself. All throughout my pregnancy and throughout the two year battle with trying to get pregnant I had kept a ‘fertility visual altered book journal’ and now that Griffin was on his way I felt I needed another book to fill, because that chapter of my life was about to end, and a new one was beginning. Well, I created about 7 or so entries and Griffin was born, and the end of my visual journaling came. I lost myself in motherhood and soon in this business of mine.  But last night, I went back. I wanted to remember how it felt to paint and stamp and write words that meant something. It’s not great. It’s not Picasso. But, it’s me. I hope to keep up at least journaling once a month and documenting those that aren’t too personal here. I would Love to do more than that but I’m trying to be practical;) So, here it is.

There are a lot of book artists out there that I adore and Love and admire, but when it comes to visual journaling, I really think Traci Bunkers takes the cake. Check out her blog. Her newest ’30 Days of Carving’ makes me want to buy en masse a whole load of erasers just so I can carve them, but alas, I kinda suck at carving. Anywho- the two stamps featured in my first entry I did carve myself . . . so that’s something;)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2011 11:21 pm

    Boy, did I ever need to see that visual journal entry. It’s one of my big fears – losing myself and my path in motherhood. I also worry that I’ll be too selfish and focused on my work to be a good mother. The idea of being someone my daughter can look up to sit well with me. I’d like to keep that in my pocket, like a mantra.

    Really enjoyed this entry. Though I haven’t felt the desire to journal since before the pregnancy (and I intended to journal throughout it, but I never started), I too have been a journaler since my very first diary with a lock and key:)

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