Journalfest 2011


Just back from teaching at Journalfest in the beautiful pacific Northwest – love it there. I've been going up for almost 10 years now and it feels a lot like a second home. The Bainbridge Ferry, the tall, tall trees, the grey, green and blue hues…they all comfort me like old friends. About 150 of us gathered in Port Townsend, Washington at Fort Worden to explore more deeply the art of journaling. Kindered spirits all.


 My first class was, Journaling Place – a chance to go deeper into a morning walk on the beach. We talked aobut how we could let a place speak to us and then how to capture that time, in that place in our journals. Twelve of us gathered on the beach, with a bit of fog, to wander and comb and look for stuff that spoke to us. Beach lovers all, this was not a new occupation. But after our beach combing…


…we found a quiet spot with just the right feel to turn our attention to. We then laid out our collections with the intention of…


…creating something with meaning to us. Here verticality and spirals combine to make a lovely "alter" of stone and movement.


Then back to the studio to interpret on the page what our morning at the beach had meant to us. This lively journal page espresses the spiral's outward unfolding of the stones in a beautiful and energetic way.


An alter made with the passing of a nephew in mind. Gaurdian stones as a ship sets sail? So beautiful and so much for the viewer to take in. And yes, that's a lime in the center. Not usual for that beach, but just one of the treasures that washed up.


Colorful, heart felt pages – a prayer for Mathew on his journey. Beautiful.


A wonderful mandala expressing and reminding the maker of attachments. The kelp attach themselves to stones to help anchor them while they float on the surface taking in sunlight and then after their bloom, wash up on the beach. Oddly beautiful and very moving in a strange way…to see the two life forms so beautifully combined.


The spirit of the mandala on the page expressed so lyrically, moving beyond the edge of the photo to create the whole.


A ship for the goddess Cerce – a beautiful sea dream from an ancient tale.


The kelp/stone set this student's wonderful imagination adrift on this sea dream. Drawing and a lot of storytelling ensued in this student's wonderful journal. Enchanting.

  I wish I had the time and space to show all my student's wonderful work from our morning on the beach – they ALL inspired me with their beauty and passion for place. Journaling in all it's forms, can bring the moments of our lives into such focus, rich with detail.


On the second day, we all gathered in the enormous USO building "studio" – it even had a stage!! With music playing, we had lots of great art supplies spread out to explore and play with in Finding Your Voice – an exploration of visual journaling. With lots of samples and expamples and ideas, my students were unleased to try out new techniques and ideas – geared for the new initiate to visual journaling, many wonderful pages were created.


Black gesso is one of my favorite journaling supplies and here a student has created a very graphic and strong page spread – the white writing and color popping off the page.


I love this student's use of colored background (a technique we explored) with the lovely elephant buddha – I love the centering of the collage elements reaching out to the edges of her pages. I can't to see this one finished!


One student explored some walnut ink from the class supplies – a beautiful, watery, layered page spread. The tucked in writing adds an intriguing texture to the page.


This student had been in my class at the beach too and had taken the time to do another wonderful exploration of her beach alter. A first drawing attempt – beautiful and heartfelt! 


I wish I could show you all the pages that were created in this class too! I think all my students spread their wings on their pages and all added a depth to their new or existing journals. We had a wonderful time together…I felt like I had invited them all into my studio for a day!


One of the great traditions of Journalfest is the bonfire journaling party! I love this!!! There is an old "Kitchen Shelter" from the days when the Fort was active that is a wonderful, cozy little journaling cabin, while the fire ring burns brightly in the sand. What could be better??? In my book, not much. 


I'm unpacking my supplies with wonderful memories of teaching at this year's Journalfest. Also beginning to work on my journal pages from my sand alter at the beach. Just the under drawing now…but more to come.

"The act of putting pen (or pencil or paint) to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equalibrium" – Norbet Platt

I couldn't have said it better. 

2 Responses to Journalfest 2011

  1. Stephanie says:

    I love the gathering and creating on the beach and taking this IN…such a lovely practice.

    Looks like a wonderful time Fran!

  2. rebecca says:

    you have transported me from the essence of life altars…to the heart pages of expression.
    how truly fortunate for each student to open a door in their creativity with you as a guide of compassion and support.
    as are you.

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