A Different Kind of Trash Journal Technique

Getting beyond the white of the art journal page can be daunting to say the least.  Without a clear plan, visual journaling can take a quick turn for the worst, or never get off the ground at all.  I try very hard to practice the “no mistakes” approach.  In other words, if I feel that something looks off or wrong, I take the stance that it can always be covered up or changed somehow.  But just to start, at the very beginning, spontaneously,  launching from the blank page can often seem impossible.

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So, I devised an easy and free way of kick start the journaling process with built-in meaning.  First, a little back-story.  I live on Main Street USA.  It’s a pretty busy road with nearly constant 30 mph daytime traffic, along with the occasional family out for a stroll on the sidewalk.  I love living on a busy road and I actually can appreciate most of the daily bits and pieces of trash that land on my lawn.  Okay, I could do without the cigarette butts and that condom that I found one day was just plain AWFUL, but the other bits and pieces are like little stories of fast-paced life, tiny puzzle pieces of human nature.  I only pick up the most perfect, often colorful littered gifts for my trash journals.

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On a lightly gessoed surface, I adhere one or two of these generally flat pieces of trash using Golden extra heavy gel medium.  After the gel dries completely, I ask myself what does the shape remind me of?  What does it want to become?  I build off of the collaged piece, constructing a scene, usually of the whimsical type.

This is a fantastic way to be original and make art from your heart (or your lawn).  I love that you never know what your going to get.  It’s truly spontaneous.

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With a few acrylic markers, some pencils and a blending stump, I’m able to sit on the couch, drawing and coloring, incorporating the trashy element.  I really like the idea that  its’ life as litter has ended and its’ life as art has begun.

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Too Share and Not Too Share….PLUS Bookbinding

I was recently asked by Sam Bowling of Single Hop, in lieu of the recent Heartbleed bug, what were the top 3 things that I would never share online.  This got me thinking…I’m such a low-tech, gullible and trusting individual that I may indeed have shared info that I shouldn’t have in the past.  (I tend to be a blurter, blabbing on about this that and the other thing).  I guess I really don’t understand tech threats at all because my initial reaction is to think of a physical predator.  So the two first things that I would never share are my physical address and too much about my kids.  The address part is kind of silly though, because I’m sure with just a quick Google search, that info could be easily obtained. The kid part is simply paranoia.  Keeping my kids safe in this sometimes scary world leads me to limit talking about my kids.  It’s not that I never share things about them, especially their inability to clean up after themselves, but I just keep it infrequent.  Secondly, I would never share any account info, i.e. bank, credit card, social security, any passwords like to Paypal, Facebook etc.  In other words, the “numbers” of my life.  This would also include photos of documents with any personal info on them.  This second one seems just far too obvious.  The third thing that I would never share online (which I have in the past) is my vacation schedule.  Again, going with the physical threat, I wouldn’t want the wrong person to know when I’ll be gone on vacation, you know?  Isn’t there something about your mother’s maiden name too?  Like never share your mother’s maiden name in combination with your social security number? I guess that would be fourth on my list, my mother’s maiden name.

Geesh, I’m down right ignorant when it comes to these sorts of things!  I’d probably be embarrassed if I understood the scope of my ignorance!

I am NOT afraid to share the current state of my house, which is thoroughly trashed by my whimsical kids.  I am not afraid to share a couple of seriously awesome candid chicken photos of Lillian, my favorite and absolutely gorgeous Cochin hen:

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Just look at that FACE!  Those wattles and those dark, soulful eyes…

I’m also not afraid to complain, repeatedly, sometimes bitterly about not having enough time in my life to do all the things that I want to do.

Anyhoo, on to the bookbinding…I have several amazing classes this week to teach.  One is on bookbinding using the bind over tapes method pictured below:

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This binding method is soooo awesome.  You can bind many signatures together, sewing up and down each, and sewing over your tapes (in this case, leather pieces) as you go.  You don’t have to think about a cover until you’re done with the binding process.  I found this process in the book, Adventures in Bookbinding by Jeannine Stein a great book binding resource.

Well, I guess I’d better go now.  Not that I’m leaving my house or anything.  Eeks, now I’m paranoid!

 

 

 

 

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Finding Balance At A Hectic Pace

My mother was a “hurried woman.”  There actually is such a term.  I’m not a fan of labels but I suppose it’s a good description.  I know I’m one as well.  Inherited or not, I run around from this to that carving out bits of time for kids, hubby, pets, work, and art.  (Notice I left out house cleaning, my favorite… NOT!) It is difficult to find balance to say the least.  I got a taste of what summer will be like this week with the kids home from school for April vacation.  Lots of deep breaths and much shuffling them around from place to place.  I don’t want to be so hurried.  I feel like a little less will equal much more.  In other words limitations are key for me to find some semblance of balance.  I want to do it all but I just can’t.  So my goal for summer is to simplify.  To take stock of what I do and re-evaluate it’s short term and long term importance.   I’m going to prune some branches from my tree of life.  Things that can go entirely will get chopped.  Some things will get trimmed, or at least take a back seat for now.

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I just ended a wonderful abstract painting class at MECA.  I’m sad to see it end.  The students in the class became like a little artsy family of sorts.  Very endearing it was.  Here is my favorite piece made from the entire outpouring of abstract work, by a student who wasn’t afraid to try anything.

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Below is my interpretation of a grid painting.

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And then my outside the frame/ sculptural work:

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And some yummy up-close texture shots from the above piece:

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Lastly is a minimalist inspired landscape.  Something that resembles balance in my mind.

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Tattoos in Bloom

Get 10% off tattoo guns for sale when you shop at www.AccessTattoo.com. Valid until April 2014.

And spinning off entirely into a new and exciting genre, I’ve just begun dabbling with henna temporary tattoos.  I was asked by my local adult ed center if I would be interested in teaching a class on the art of henna.  I had this done once, a most lovely and detailed henna flower on my leg, and ever since I’ve always wanted to try it.  So I said SURE!  I made my own dye, let it sit for the 2 to 3 recommended days and lo and behold, it was WAY too thick to use.  I added a bit more lemon juice and waited an extra day.  The stuff was then perfect!  I gave myself 3 tattoos, my 6 year old daughter received 4, and my 11 year old son got 2 on his arm, a Jabba the Hut and Jabba’s best friend.

Here’s my daughter’s better tatt:

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I admit I’m not that good.  It’s tricky.  Flesh is smooshy, not like paper at all.  But I like challenges thus will not be defeated…  And it smells glorious- like tea tree oil.  To be honest, I’d love to be able to draw with henna on skin much like I draw Zentangle doodles.  My latest Zentangle celebrates our family trip to the Boston aquarium.  I love that place.  It’s so serene. And the animals are so beautiful…

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And we really DO love Myrtle the turtle, the aquarium’s ambassador resident.  She’s a dear.

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Celebrate Your Own Unique and Creative Journey

As I meet more and more creative souls, I’m constantly reminded to celebrate my own unique creative journey.  I’m not in the beginning of my artsy craftsy endeavoring, I’m somewhere in the middle.  My journey is rich and full of ups and downs.  It’s far from perfect but I love it just the same.  I urge all my students, who are also my fellows peers and my equals, to celebrate their creative journeys, fully allowing themselves room to make mistakes and grow from those mistakes.

Being fully absorbed in the present moment is liberating for me.  I often only truly find this when I’m immersed in something creative.  I also never know where that present moment will take me.  I’m probably the perfect art and craft ADD candidate, jumping from one thing to another, traveling in spirals, leaving ideas unfinished, but one thing I know for sure: I find joy, peace, and true happiness when I use my hands and simply create.

I urge all souls seeking to make art or craft to allow themselves the room to make mistakes and to nurture their own unique creative journey.  Celebrate your beginning or middle, wherever you are on your timeline.

Here is an abstract landscape I recently completed.  It’s from a photo taken of a snowy foot-printed field at my kids’ school.  My kids think it’s a cheese planet.  Hilarious!

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Then, spiraling off to a different subject, I’ve been LOVING making hand bound books lately like this big belted beauty below:

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Here’s the inside, full of sewn paper pages, brimming with scraps of mementos and art from my past…

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And doodling is another passion I dive into on occasion.  Here is my happy word list.

 

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And last but not least, I taught a lovely group of ladies today a bit about Zentangle and how to approach this fun and fancy free doodle art.  Here is my Zentangle inspired and tattooed Easter bunny.

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Oh how fun this journey is…

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