Recording the hard stuff

I was talking with someone on a FB group page and they commented that you can’t journal the hard stuff because others might read it. It means you can’t share the page, so others don’t get to be inspired by your art.

I disagree; I’ve always journaled the good, bad and ugly in my scrapbooks and art journals. As an ex scrapbooking teacher, I’ve always shared my art in person and online.

Sometimes I write it all out so it’s legible and figure, if I share the hard or ugly stuff, I might help others get through and be able to tell their stories. We can all help create safe places for others to share their experiences, especially around addiction, mental health and abuse / domestic violence. I’ve never felt my life has to look perfect in order to share online.

But, even for me, there are things I don’t want the world reading about. Sometimes it is just too raw, other times it’s because it would compromise another person in some way. Often it’s about my food addiction, addictive personality, Tony’s health or my relationship with others who support me (or have similar issues) that I’m wanting to talk about.

When I want to record things but don’t want it to be legible, I use “scribble writing” so I get it all out of my head, but no one can read it. I usually start in the middle of the pages then work up and down, so the lines aren’t consecutive, and make sure the writing is loopy and overlaps. If’ you’re a scrapbooker or art journaler I’d encouarge you to record it all, it’s very healing.

For the record, this page is about some of the head struggles I’ve had this week, more than 2 years post weight loss surgery, what I’m doing about it, and the support I get from people.

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But what next?

I have a small pile of 12×12 scrapbooking cardstock in colours I don’t use anymore so I’m slowly using it up as the base for works where the initial colour won’t show. This one has layers of gelli print scraps, stencils, old rub-on letters, patches of colour with Gelatos etc. All good so far, but what next? I’ll leave it on my desk for a few days and see what happens. (only part of the 12×12 is shown)


Scrapbooking soothes

Yesterday morning I was a bit miserable so spent the day scrapbooking and felt better in no time at all. I’m determined to use up all my older supplies this year, including cardstock I no longer love the colour of. I have been using paint and gesso to do cover ups, and stenciling to create new surfaces, which is all good fun. Here’s some of yesterday’s layouts. A few of these are my entries in the Creative Jumpstart 14 give-aways over at Natalie’s Studio.

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Stencil, spray, stamp

Tony is in Christchurch for ¬†long weekend, having some Granddad time with our gorgeous grandson Rory and his parents, Yasmine and Adam. He also had a day out with his brother Roger. Which means I am looking after the animals and making art. When Tony’s away the tv never goes on, the bed doesn’t get made, the meals are whatever’s quickest – and I tidy up just before he comes home ūüėČ Faith, Goldie and I spend our days in my home office – me at the computer or art desk, Goldie on the sheepskin and Faith on the mohair rug in the lazyboy. How good is our life? Here’s a little of what I have done over the last couple of days. ¬†The green one is a card, the rest are in my art journal. I also did some scrapbooking but they’re a pain to scan or photograph, especially at night.

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Like an old-fashioned diary

I sometimes hear people say that in 100 years time there will be no evidence of us; blogs, Twitter, emails and digital photos mean we’re not recording our lives in the same way that our forbears did. It’s true that we’re not recording our lives in the same ways as the pioneers did. The days of a quill pen, bottles of ink, and diary are long gone. But many of us *are* leaving a trace of¬†ourselves.

I still write letters to some people and, yes, I use a fountain pen with fabulous coloured inks. I admit they’re not 10 page wonders full of the¬†adventures¬†of living in a new land far away, but they are a record of my hand writing, and the fact that I care enough to put pen to paper.

And of course I scrapbook, as do many thousands of people around the world. I don’t even remember how I started scrapbooking but it’s the perfect hobby for someone who loves to play with scissors and glue! In the early days of scrapbooking ¬†becoming popular as a hobby it was quite regimented in a sense, with very strong emphasis on preservation and archival materials. A lot of people still scrap that way, and they are leaving an amazing legacy behind. Most of my scrapping is still safe enough but I also do more art journal style pages now, where the photos are copies and I don’t care how long the page lasts.

I have no children of my own, so that begs the question – if I am documenting my life, who am I documenting it for? I used to think I knew the answer to that, but not any more. There are a few possibilities that occur to me. Some relative might want the scrapbooks as a reminder of our family. Maybe. I might adopt a child in my 50s and they will want the scrapbooks. Um, not happening. Or some poor soul will have to dispense with them when I die, just like I had to deal with my Aunt’s teaspoons. Likely scenario.

So why do I keep scrapping? For the love of it. I love the colours, the papers, the artistry, the freedom to get my thoughts down in a permanent form, the chance to tell people how I feel about having them in my life. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what happens to my scrapbooks, what matters is that creating them enriches my life.

For the record, the photos are not great – light fell across the pages, the camera wasn’t straight on so I had to crop them funny, etc. In real life, the photos are straight, the edges square etc. Oh well…

Crusade No. 41 – Grid Lock

Most months I try to do Michelle Ward’s Crusade over at the GPP Street Team site. Crusade 41 is entitled Grid Lock – Michelle’s tips include a very cool way of marking out a grid on paper or in your journal. I decided to use this Crusade for a practical purpose. I have started dong a scrapbook of our recent trip to Dubai and Italy; I decided the album would be black and white cardstock only, with a little black and white patterned paper here and there. My favorite scrapbook shop sent me some lovely supplies but I hate cutting into “good” paper – silly I know. So, I have cut a sample of each piece of patterned paper and stuck it in the grids in my visual diary. Now the sheets are not “good” any more and I’ll get on and use them.

If you haven’t been to Michelle’s sites before, why not pop across and have a look? And if you lurk but don’t join in, why not grab some supplies and have a try. Then have a look at all the other entries this month, they’re sure to inspire you. Don’t forget to leave a comment everywhere you visit, you’re sure to make their day ūüôā

Come over to the dark side

Michelle’s challenge for the Crusade’s this month was to journal on black. Excellent! I painted a couple of pages in my visual¬†diary and then things got busy…weeks later, I finally got back into it this morning. I did two pages; one is about dragonflies, thinking about their wings and playing with iridescent colors. The other is¬†a “proper” journal page, recording some thoughts on¬†my life with Tony, my¬†husband of 17 plus years.¬†¬†

tony journal page oct 09

I enjoyed working on a black background, which I suppose should not surprise me, as I often use plain black cardstock as the background in my scrapbooks. I used acrylic paint this time but the surface is a bit too slick – I think next time I’ll use black gesso. dragonfly page

On holiday for a few days…

Today I am on a course about Web 2.0 with Paul Reynolds- and then I am off to Wellington for a few days. My friend Natalie and I are going to SENZ; a 3 day scrapbooking expo. We are doing three classes during the weekend. Two with Nic Howard and one with Lusi Austin. Fun. See you in a few days time.

Anyone else got fun things happening this weekend?