On journaling

On a Saturday morning once a month I take the bag that holds my working journals, crayons, pens, pencils, scissors, etc. and head across town to a regular art journaling workshop with Sally Scott. https://sallyscottsart.wordpress.com And each time it is a morning of fun, companionship and experimentation. I cannot boast that I produce art at these sessions – but that does not matter, because during the workshops I become immersed in the process, and performance anxiety fades.

 Sally (top); Jill and Lisa; and an example of Jill’s mono-prints

Aware of the process versus product debate, I googled the words “art” and “process” for some background information. This is what Wikipedia has to say: “process art is an artistic movement as well as a creative sentiment where the end product of art and craft, the objet d’art (work of art/found object), is not the principal focus”.

Art journaling is thus a marvellous vehicle for process art. It is also an adventure. Acclaimed and versatile artist and teacher, Sally Scott, is very good at helping us explore new territory. Each month she teaches us something new and I have played with paint, made mono-prints, cut and pasted, sketched, glued, gesso-ed pages, made collages, and more. For someone who is much more comfortable holding a needle and who does not like to get her hands dirty (except when gardening), this is quite remarkable.

When Sally Scott first started these journaling workshops a few years ago I hesitated. Not my thing, I thought. But, having done a number of textile workshops with Sally, I was drawn to revisit her inspiring studio and classes. When I saw that the list of possibilities included fabric journals I was sold.

Last Saturday was the first workshop of this year and it was lovely to see the other art journalers again and to meet new people who came with bright new notebooks waiting to be filled with surprises. I have a practice journal, a “proper” journal, and a fabric book on the go. The fabric book was started at one of the workshops, where Sally helped me make the signatures (sets of pages, stitched in a special way) for the book. The design for the cover was ignited at another workshop when I spent my time cutting out strings of paper dolls and then decided to fabricate the idea.

The cover and the unfinished Book of Dolls, which still has many blank pages.

The first of the dolls, dressed in African Shweshwe fabrics.

Here’s a good definition from a good book on art journaling, Creative Wildfire by L.K. Ludwig. “What’s an art journal? An art journal is a space, most often a traditional book, that houses a collection of artwork created on blank pages that are really journal entries. The journal entries, while primarily visual, can explore the full range of an artist’s experiences” (p.10)

And from the same book, Katie Kendrick has this to say about process: “I remind them [her students] that the process is where the juiciness is, where the life is, that when they have a finished piece, that particular journey is over, so enjoy the moments of creating.” (p.50)

Like stitching, art or visual journaling, can be addictive. I am thinking about making a travel journal on last year’s Great London Adventure. Dare I say, watch this space?




18 thoughts on “On journaling

  1. Sounds wonderful! Wish I could share the monthly play, experimentation, and journaling. I remember how super Sally’s ‘Red Shoe’ workshops are. Enjoy! Love & light…Asta


  2. ‘the process is where the juiciness is.’ Yes, indeed! Please add photos from the book of Dolls as you get them finished…and/or anything else like your travel art journal idea, too. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.


  3. You have captured the morning beautifully Mariss, and your musings, material, oral and written are always inspiring – thank you! 🤗


  4. Wonderful post, Mariss. The Art Journalling Workshop sounds like such a joyful, vital, and creative space. And as a former but avid journal-writer, I love the idea of keeping a visual journal. Your book of dolls is full of sweetness and charm. I’m positively inspired. 😊


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