Monday, September 15, 2008

Inspiration abounds!

Here's the first page to my visual journal. As always, you can click on the photo to see a larger version. I started this journal (which I just realized is very close to the word journey) last November after seeing a tutorial on Judy Wise's blog. It was so much fun to create - ripping up old paper grocery bags, dunking them in a sink full of water, crunching them up and then hanging them out on my old wooden clothes drying rack like sheets of pasta. I was up late one night ironing the pages and my husband thought I'd gone insane. I reassured him that it was for an art project - not laundry. I think he would have been genuinely concerned had I been ironing clothes.

I was so proud of actually learning the coptic stitch and completing the bookmaking part that I didn't want to mar its pure beauty with even the tiniest of marks. It sat on the kitchen counter for a few days so I could admire it as I walked by. Then it made its way to the upstairs hallway where I would occasionally notice it in all its recycled handmade glory as I went by on my way to bed. Months passed and it got shuffled in with a stack of other random papers and moved completely out of sight. I guess it was just a few weeks ago when I found it again and exclaimed "My journal! There you are!"

But who was to know that it was actually a journal? I don't even think it knew. It began the descent from the upper story of the house back into my daily life. I carried it with me a few places but forgot to show anyone - tucked between books and then once in a pile of mail it even rode with me over to a friend's house in the back seat of the car. Then finally, one fateful night - I remembered to bring it along to dinner to show my artful friend Farmer Sue.

She fondled it with amazement. Marveling at how the pages looked like old worn leather, she asked how I had done the stitching. It had been so stinking LONG since I'd made the thing, I just gave a sigh and said "I can tell you one thing, it wasn't easy." We sort of sat in silence for a moment and then she tossed it back to me across the table and said "So, what are you going to put in it?"

What am I going to put IN it?! IN IT?! How could she not think it was complete?

Oh, that's right - I was calling it a journal - duh! The time has come. Today it became my journal. Today it was a place for me to scribble, glue, paint, paste, draw, write and wander. It was a place for me to play. A place to put memories down on paper, wonderful memories of a weekend filled to the brim with inspiration.

What was intended to be an informal artist's retreat to celebrate the end of a work study group for Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way - actually turned into the beginning of new friendships. Friendships that I feel will continue to grow as we grow as artists, as women, as individuals. We laughed, we shared, we danced, we even threw off our inhibitions and swam under the bright moon in a clean North Georgia mountain lake.

Just the night before I had read Melissa Manley's inspirational Camp Creed which was ever so fitting for our retreat. We read it aloud that night and then again the next morning. It was just too perfect to not use as a quote for the first page in my very artfully inspired visual journal.

The pictures in the post below titled "And We Danced..." are a few of my photos from the weekend. Another friend Jennifer Carter who actually facilitated (did I say that correctly?) The Artist's Way group has more photos on her blog. I love seeing this magical weekend captured through another artist's eyes. Great job, Jenn!

I am truly blessed to be surrounded by so many artful friends. Inspiration abounds!


Candace said...

HOLY MACKEREL! This is simply fantastic, both the art and the post. Thanks for sharing... I have had my little bags ready and just looking at them, going "mmm". Talk about inspiration, Jamie. You certainly are.

Southern Girl said...

Hey, Jamie!!! I don't know about you, but I've had a difficult time "coming down" from last weekend. I haven't laughed so much and so often in such a long time...(:

Lilly Rose Chen said...

it's beautiful! I'm always so amazed by your artistry. I'm going to have to check out this Farmer Sue person that you talk about often. She sounds like a real neat person.

Katie said...

Hey Jamie~
What a beautiful post and journal!
I thought I better stop by and answer your garden question, before it's too late.
We plant a lot of greens in the fall: lettuce,spinach (lots of spinach to freeze), kale, swiss chard, turnip greens. We also plant garlic soon, carrots, beets and turnips.
Sounds like you've been having fun!

Lynn said...

Beautiful...and nice to see you back to the blog.
I went through the Artists Way with total stranges 8 years ago...we are the best of friends now, meeting 2 times a month to cheer each other on. (also, journaling became a huge habit)

Anonymous said...

Hey Jamie, thanks for popping by, I had forgotten how well you write. Hmm.. so you did the whole Artists way form whoah to go? Did your life change?

ash said...

You absolutely amaze me! Your pharm is stunning and your artwork is always breathtaking. I hadn't seen your site before, and I just blew my morning at work catching up on everything. You made my Monday!