Borrowing from Teesha Moore, "If you love to journal, make journals or have always had an interest in either," Journalfest is for you. "Even if you don’t really know how you feel about journaling but are interested in getting better at art and a creative life," Journalfest is for you.
I attended Journalfest 2010 in Pt. Townsend from October 27-31.
Journalfest (JF) is brought to us by Teesha More and Tracy Moore, the dynamic duo who have coordinated Artfest for the last dozen years. JF is three full days of learning, creating, mingling, sharing, talking, and journaling. I'm pretty new to art journals but not to being creative. I attended JF to see if art journaling is something I might want to invest more time in. It is. I love the fact that there are no rules. This is completely ironic since I LOVE rules and I love when people follow them. But not when it comes to getting your creative groove on. You just gotta let it flow. So here is my JF experience...
What a wonderful ride from West Seattle. I'm so lucky to live so close to the ferry, about a mile. No more dealing with I-5 and the Kingston ferry. I hopped the Fauntleroy ferry to Southworth then drove up the Kitsap Peninsula on manageable roads where I pilled over to take pictures and stopped for a snack. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, the trees were golden. Not much traffic in the middle of the day.
During the ride I listened to a podcast of old time radio programs. One was a show called Suspense and the episode I heard was Momentum, starring Victor Mature. It first aired on October 27, 1949. If you are a fan of watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents on Netflix Instant View, like we are, then you might have seen his 1956 presentation of Momentum starring a very young Joanne Woodward. Both the radio and Hitchcock episodes were adapted from a story by Cornell Woolrich. From Wikipedia: “His biographer, Francis Nevins Jr., rated Woolrich the fourth best crime writer of his day, behind only Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner and Raymond Chandler. A check of film titles reveals that more film noir screenplays were adapted from works by Woolrich than any other crime novelist, and many of his stories were adapted during the 1940s for Suspense and other dramatic radio programs.”
I also listened to David Harding, Counterspy. I can’t remember the name of the episode but an important official form a Spanish-speaking country is visiting the U.S. His aide, in cahoots with a couple of American no-goodniks, drug him and put an imposter in his place for the face-to-face meeting with David Harding. They’ll keep the poor old guy drugged until the right time to kill him, which is to be carried out by a cold-blooded dame acting as his nurse. But David Harding is too clever. A ridiculously tiny detail in the face-to-face tips him off that something is not right and he swoops in at the last minute and saves the old man. But the would-be murdering nurse gets hers. I’ll be downloading more old time radio broadcasts very soon.
On Common Grounds in Chimacum was all decked out for Halloween. I had driven past it then changed my mind in a flash because I'm a sucker for Halloween decor. For once in my life, I went to a coffee shop and didn't get coffee. I must have had a temporary brain freeze because I got a juice instead. And I discovered the most fabulous cookie full of oats, sesame seeds, flax and chocolate chips. Nice and chewy, not overly sweet. I later discovered that the Sesame Flax Oatcake is produced in Pt. Townsend by Candace's Cookies and they are available all over town.
Coffee and art. A good combination. Had there also been books, I might not have made it to JF.
These poor fools did NOT try the Sesame Flax Oatcake. Don't let this happen to you!
I arrived in PT with some time to kill. I wanted to take a nap to stave off the beginnings of a cold but JF check-in wasn't until 3 pm. A nice walk along the water is good for what ails you even if you don't know what ails you. In the off-season, PT is a real delight. It's quiet and you might have the whole place to yourself (almost). First and foremost I was in town for JF, but I decided to take this opportunity to explore PT in between classes, meals, and events. In the past, I had only stuck to the tourist stuff because I’d be on a tight schedule. But now I had four days and I would venture beyond the few blocks of the main drag frequented by day-trippers.
We interrupt this blog post with a quick eco-mash note I wrote in the sand. I texted this to S, who I was already missing.
Hmmm, was this just part of a much larger critter? Was it digging it's way out or burying itself? It was just a claw and not even a whole claw. And it now resides in my car, stuck in front of the speedometer.
Mt. Baker was brilliant.
I really liked the reflection of the boat.
But more than that I liked this specific section of the reflection. To me, it's an entire composition. Of course, I found the Food Co-op. There's nothing like finding a good natural food market when you travel. S and I have wondered why all food co-ops smell alike. Have you noticed this? I swear it never fails - you walk into a co-op anywhere in the U.S. and there's that smell. It's not a bad smell at all but it's definitely unique to this type of market. Do you think if I checked behind the cashier's counter she'd have an aerosol can of "Universal Co-Op Smell"?
Back at the Fort, I checked in, went to my room, unloaded my gear and got some rest. Here are my digs in building #225. Like a single room back in college.
I brought extra pillows, my sleeping bag in case the room was chilly (it was) and my headlamp in case there was as storm and the power went out (there wasn't and it didn't). Upon check-in we each received a swag bag. Hey, everybody loves a swag-bag. We each received a funky messenger-style bag. Inside the bag were samples from Golden, Liquitex, PanPastel, Sakura, The Paper Studio, Color Box, and a copy of Teesha's Art & Life.
The first evening we all gathered in the Commons and Teesha and Tracy gave us the run-down then Orly Avineri inspired us all to nothingness, to clear ourselves of expectations and just let this weekend happen to us.
I wasn't aware that I had the option of bringing "trades" to JF. I didn't even know what "trades" were. Basically, they are hand-made pieces of art that you trade for another hand-made piece of art. They run the gamut from homemade magnets to artist trading cards. I received some wonderful items even though all I had to offer was my "business" card which is my feed yourself logo with all my contact info on the back. I will be prepared next year!
The first day of JF I got up early. I always get up early. I'm a morning person and I love it. The world is quiet, on the weekends the stores aren't crowded, and I don't have to stay at my job until 5 or 6. There was no point in sitting in my dorm room until breakfast was served at 8 so I packed my supplies in the car and headed to town to find one of the coffee places Tracy suggested. The Undertown is open nice and early. And how cool is the entrance? Like the Underground Tour which begins in Pioneer Square.
Right on! The Sesame Flax Oatcake from Candace's Cookies. I rarely get pastry when I get a latte but I was on an adventure so I considered it a special occasion (for the second time). The Undertown uses Stumptown Coffee so the drink was very good.
They make a few baked goods right on the spot.
My first class was Oz In A Box with Katherine England. We used needles, wood, paper, an awl, a dremel (cool power tool) and book binding thread to make a journal book which fit inside a cigar box.Katherine had color copies of book covers from the Oz series. I chose the Gnome King because I felt he was the most Halloween-like of the bunch. After we drilled holes in the covers with the dremel, we folded our paper into signatures. Then we made the holes in the signatures.
Look how hard I'm concentrating. You have to make sure things are lined up before you start sewing.
Ok, let's start stitching. We used a coptic stitch invented by, you guessed it, the Copts, around the second century. We used no adhesives, just a chain stitch to bind the signatures together. This stitch results in a very nice looking spine, though I did cover the spine of my book. More importantly for journal buffs, this stitch allows the the book to open flat.
Hey, not bad. Looks like a book.
I love it! I can't wait to make more. I'm thinking Christmas presents.
After class I tooled around in my car to save time. I drove all over the park, meeting some deer along the way. The deer in the park are not bothered by people at all. I went to the beach several times and I was always drawn to these trees. I took lots of shots and played with them later on the Mac just for fun. Here are a few examples.
After dinner there was a bonfire down at the kitchen shelter. Inside the shelter was a nice wood stove, beer, snacks, candles, and lots of journallers. It was a journal party on the beach but inside. I talked to some very interesting folks. I drank a Bud Light. Lord, it was gross. First and last time for that.
On Friday morning I headed back to The Undertown. Tracy had leaked the secret about Bob's Bagels being at The Undertown only on Fridays. I happened to walk in just as Bob was delivering his wares. I had lox, cream cheese, red onion and capers on an everything bagel. The bagels were not huge didn't have much of a hole in the center - two of my favorite characteristics in a bagel. The sandwich was amazingly delicious. Still warm, crunchy, salty, and creamy.
The Undertown's walls are covered in great art. On day two of JF, I had Draw + Collage with Carla Sonheim. I wanted to explore drawing again. I used to draw as a kid and a young adult. Then I let it fall to the wayside. Carla lead us through a series of exercises to loosen up and get our brains talking to our eyes and hands. We used pens, pencils, charcoal, water color, and anything else we might have in our gear. For one drawing exercise we had to draw the person across from us but with the absolute least amount of looking at the person. Here is Shanta's rendition of me. She brought out my inner Diane Keaton and I didn't even realize I had one, I love it! I left class a bit early this day because of a splitting headache. Shanta was thoughtful enough to pick up my portrait and bring it with her to dinner to give it to me. Thank you, Shanta!Here is my drawing of Shanta. I have to admit, I really like it. It was a really great class. I'll be doing more of Carla's drawing exercises. Another series of exercises resulted in awesome, colorful, creative lions. Look at these amazing images. So many interpretations of the same set of instructions.
Here is my lion. I'm really digging him.
We also did some collage work. Here we are flipping through magazines, cutting, pasting, arranging, creating.
OK, who loves chipped paint, raise your hand? Couldn't pass up the chance to capture this door on building #204.
Back to the beach after class and before dinner. Here are more shots of the shapes, colors and textures I couldn't ignore.
Saturday morning I was back at The Undertown for my pre-breakfast latte. I also discovered Aldrich's Market, another natural foods store. Really nice stuff inside. Open every day (even on Christmas) at 7 am. Inside the market I found this cool old scale. It's a shame that no matter which way I shot it, it looked like a toilet. Day three of JF I was part of Wild, Joyful Journaling with Liesel Lund. We started by getting UGLY, as ugly as possible. I didn't hold back. I used everything I could get my hands on, including real grass and my empty latte cup. I smeared, tore, taped, painted, glued, stapled, splatted, and splotched. And I dug it. I had planned on hanging this in my office but Misu, our girl cat, kept eating the grass so I had to toss it.We created wonderfully layered, colored, textured collages in this class. We really just let it go, let it flow. I specifically worked on two pages that have had me stumped for months. I just wasn't sure where to go with them and was afraid to touch them. So I made sure to touch them as much as possible. For some reason I didn't get a shot of them.
The biggest hit of collage gear was the piece of perforated cellophane type paper Liesel gave each of us in our packets. It came from the bread at Safeway. Lucky for me, my local Safeway has plenty of it!During lunch I ran into town to check out the farmer's market. Really good market. Just wish I could have bought some fresh stuff but I had no where to keep it overnight. I even had to pass up the Mystery Bay Farm goat cheese! But not the cool t-shirt, that I bought. This guy was straight out of an Edward Gorey illustration. He rode that thing too.
The last night of JF we had ourselves a masquerade-journal party. Bring your mask, bring your journal, have a glass of wine and enjoy. Performing live tunes was Surrealized. Funky electronic groves.
Tracy Moore, aka, Ithaca Eye.
That mask, hand-painted in Venice (according to the info printed on the inside), was a steal at Marshall's for, I think, $17. She made the cool belt herself.
A Journal Prompt Faerie was roaming the the party and this is what I drew for her stash of prompts. Just one, huh?
The mother-daughter team from Oregon.
Steampunk journal man.
Holly, the mistress of the tarot cards. She read my cards and had some very insightful interpretations.
On the last day of JF, I planned to go into The Undertown for one last latte then come back for some hot breakfast before I hit the road. On my way out of the parking lot I spotted Holly and invited her to come along. While we sat sipping our java, I spotted this hole in the wall next to our table. Hmmm, are those little folded notes stuck behind those bricks? Only one way to find out.
The first, and only, folded note I excavated was this fabulous poem by Black Luna Toeshark (Toeshark for short). Click on the photo to enlarge. I didn't read any other notes. I'm saving them for when I return to The Undertown.
Shine Tidelands State Park was a good spot for this heron to wait for lunch to swim past. The park sits just on the north end of the Hood Canal Bridge.
Attending Journalfest was part of part of the tarot reading by Holly. I know, sounds confusing but I know what I mean. Challenging myself by being this social, doing this on my own, showing other people my creative journal work, silencing the inner critic and several other things, was - is - part of part of the reading. These specifics didn't come up while Holly and I were talking but they were bouncing around in my head. Artfest in is April but right on the heels of K & D's wedding in Costa Rica. I'm going to try really hard to attend Artfest. Either way, I'm headed to Teesha and Tracy's studio in Pioneer Square for the open journal nights. Another challenge to myself. Next Friday is my first visit.