Hay Fever and the Arts Festival

This is The Book made by the participants at my Visual Journaling workshop in April.  Well done all involved, it’s fabulous 🙂

Hello friends! 

I hope all is good in your part of the world, here things are fine.  The Arts Festival started on Friday evening with a lovely classical concert at St Thomas Heritage Centre.  The Heritage Centre is actually a big, old disused church and it has been opened up for the week for the Arts Festival.  An art exhibition has been curated there portraying various artists’ interpretations of aspects of the town’s history it’s called Chalk Talks. 

Yesterday morning we had the grand opening of Reading Spaces in our local library, the exhibition includes a page turning machine; scrolls which reach from the ground floor to the first floor and are turned by rotating a wheel on the side; a beautiful book made by the reading group and the visually impaired group – this book has embossed pages instead of words, so it’s tactile and tells the story of Little Red Riding Hood, there is also an amazing installation made from old books, lightbulbs, corks and windmills, a reading nest for small children made of wicker, there is so much there you really need to go and see it youself, failing that visit the Ryde Arts Festival website.  Upstairs at the library the gallery is full of art contributed by local artists which is amazing!

There was a big Art Parade through the town yesterday afternoon, many local schools and groups participated and the theme was art and artists.  There were some great costumes and the weather stayed warm and sunny (for a change) 🙂

The Never Ending Story exhibition also opened at the Depozitory yesterday and it features the art of Lucia Para, who has created beautiful canvases which all seem to tell their own story.  Visitors are invited to write the stories they see in the images and post them into little bird boxes provided.  

This exhibition also includes the work produced at my three workshops.

Hopefully above you can see the movie of the book produced at my Introduction to Visual Journaling workshop held in April.  YouTube has been causing me lots of problems today, making the images look fuzzy.  It’s been VERY annoying.  If the images look fuzzy to you, as they might if you view full screen, you need to click on the little gear icon at the bottom of the screen and change the resolution, then go back to the beginning and restart the movie.  I found it worked best for me set at 480p but you may have to play around with it.

The exhibition also includes the Matchbox Mementos made the Foyer, the Family History Shrines made by  Ryde Social Heritage Group members and some of my journals.

Yesterday evening there was a Chalk Talks Salon at the Heritage Centre with music, poetry and performance where the artists opened and explained the exhibition, it was a great evening.

Today I’ve had a day off, which was fortunate as I woke up with a very sore throat, at first I thought I was coming down with a cold, but the constant sneezing and eye-streaming has made me realise it’s Hay Fever.  Today has probably been the loveliest day of the year so far, the sort of day when you shouldn’t be stuck indoors, but that’s where I’ve been most of the day battling with YouTube!  This is the first time I’ve had Hay Fever this year and I’m hoping it will pass soon.

Have a good week everyone and I’ll see you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂


I need some ME time!

Lose our Fear of being wrong


Hello friends

The local Arts Festival starts this Friday and it’s been a hectic few weeks for me.

I did the workshops at The Foyer, 4 evening workshops over 4 weeks.  It doesn’t sound like  a lot of time, but besides the actual evenings I was preparing stuff for the class in my free time.  Apart from one of the participants the few other people who attended seemed to be lacking in ideas or confidence to try things and I found it really hard to motivate and inspire them.  I am so out of touch with the younger generation.  But finally we got just enough matchboxes finished to go into the exhibition, it was fun but hard work.

I also did a workshop with my friends from Ryde Social Heritage Group and we made Family History Shrines.  To do the one day workshop took me several days preparation. The participants in this workshop were much more engaged, creative  and easy to work with.  I just needed to take them through the steps in creating the shrines and they threw themselves into it with enthusiasm.  That was really a lot of fun.  We have 10 lovely shrines in the exhibition.

I’ve also been finishing off the Art Journal book we made at my very first workshop in April and that too is in the exhibition.  I failed at creating the ebook but I think I have succeeded in making the book into a video.  I am going to try and post it on YouTube next week.

The Ryde Arts Festival website is finally up and running (a bit late!) and along with a couple of friends I have been trying to keep it updated with information.

On top of that I have had to prepare a speech and presentation I am giving at a conference in London early in July.

Finally things are all coming together and I am feeling relieved.  Starting on Friday evening when the Arts Festival Opens it’s going to be a busy week, but I am looking forward to seeing all the various forms of art and listening to the music that is being created for the event.

I just occurred to me the other day that for the last few weeks I haven’t really done much creative activity just for myself and I am really beginning to miss it.  I need to somehow find some ME time and get back in to the Flow of just creating in my journals for the sheer joy of it.

Fortunately I have plenty of art that I did previously but haven’t shared with you so I’m not going to run out of things to post any time soon 🙂

The page above is from my 6×6 board book journal on Circles of Wisdom.  That quote totally resonates with me and I am pleased to say I am becoming a much more confident and contented person and artist.  It no longer bothers me if the art I create is not brilliant or appreciated by others because I realise that just being creative is more important than the end result.

I hope you all have a great week and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂

Build Your Wings

Build Your Wings


Hello friends

I hope all is good with you, I am very well and happy.  We had a proper summery day today and it lightened my mood.

I really like this page from my journal, in fact I have a copy of it on my office wall at work. It’s there to remind me that if I don’t like my job I can actually leave, I can take a leap. When my boss saw it he liked it too and I gave him a copy.

So I am back at work this week and it’s just the same old stuff, but at least I have my own nice little office now and I can listen to Radio 4 all day.

I’ve got to give a speech at a conference in London in a few weeks time about Ryde Social Heritage Group.  I’ve got to get that written before this weekend!   I’ve just about written the words, no doubt they will be ‘tweaked’ a few times before I’m entirely happy, but now I’m working on the images to go with it, I thought if I had images on a screen then people wouldn’t have to look at me all the time, and the images will show the work of the group better than anything I can say.  But I need to send the images to the conference organisers soon just to make sure they are compatible with their software and equipment.

Ryde Arts Festival starts next weekend and I’ve still got a few things to sort out for that. Tomorrow is the last of my workshops at The Foyer making the Matchbox Momentos and I think we will just have enough to fill the display case for the exhibition.  I’ve been trying to think of other things I can do with the group.  Of course I would like to teach them about Art Journaling, but I don’t think they are ready for that at the moment.  I’ll talk to them about it tomorrow.  One idea I have is making jewellery from rolled paper beads, I wonder what they will think of that?  I am going to have to take a break before I work at the Foyer again, I think I need to have the whole of July off just to try and catch up with things I’ve been neglecting and maybe I will work with them again in September.  That is if they want me to.

I have finished making the Art Journal book from the pages created at my workshop in April and I’ve been trying to make an e-book, unfortunately that wasn’t as easy as I had anticipated (either that or I’m an idiot – not sure which). So now I’ve decided to make a movie of the images instead.  If I am successful I will post it on the blog so you can see the great work the class did.  Once the Arts Festival is over I will take the book apart and return all the pages to the people who created them.

I have to collect up all the Family History Shrines made by Ryde Social Heritage Group last week and deliver them, and some sort of heading, to the exhibition space by the middle of next week.  Gosh it’s all go here!!!

Right, that’s all for now, I’m tired and off to bed.  

See you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂


2nd Anniversary?!

2 years


Hello friends

According to WordPress, I have just passed my second anniversary of blogging, who’d have thought that I could keep something up for so long?  Not me that’s for sure, but I do like blogging and sharing my art.

I had most of last week off work but I didn’t have a restful time.  On Monday I went to work, on Tuesday I spent most of the morning at the dentist’s having a root canal filling then in the afternoon I set things up for my workshop for my friends making Family History Shrines.  On Wednesday I did a whole day workshop, it was fun.  On Thursday it took me most of the day to unpack and put away all the stuff we had used at the workshop and I also had to prepare some more things for my Matchbox Momento workshop with the young people at the Foyer.  We actually had a good session at the Foyer this week and achieved some good work.  Friday was a nice day so I took Mum and Dad out for a drive and a cup of tea and cake at Quarr Abbey, it was lovely sitting in the garden at the Abbey in the sunshine.  Unfortunately we couldn’t feed the pigs (which was my main reason for going – if you have read my blog for a long time you may remember I am a lover of pigs) because they had sold out of Pig Nuts.  When we feed the pigs they get animated and excited but on Friday afternoon they were just laying and sleeping in the sunshine and to be honest they smelt pretty awful.

Saturday was not such a nice day but I did a session in the cemetery with a couple of friends recording the inscriptions from grave stones to add to our website www.rshg.org.uk.  This is a project I started 11 years ago and there is still no end in sight and I am beginning to lose my mojo for carrying on it’s taking such a long time.  The thought that keeps me going out there to do a few more is that it would be shame not to finish the whole project.  But if I ever have a bright idea like that again, please just shoot me (just kidding) 😉

Yesterday (Saturday) evening we went to the Isle of Wight Festival, I didn’t really want to go by T was DJing in one of the small tents and needed me to drive him.  We used to go to festivals all the time when we were younger, but there is something about the Isle of Wight Festival I really don’t like, it’s very ‘corporate’ and big.  Fortunately we were able to drive to and park in the back stage area so didn’t have far to walk to Bohemia Woods the area where T was working.  We arrived about 7:30pm and had a cup of tea in the back stage area and then went for a walk around the site before he had to get ready for his set at 9pm.  Walking around the site I was aware of lots of really harsh noises coming from the various fair ground rides and small stages and also from people shouting at each other.  Many people appeared to be drunk.  As a non-drinker I always find drunks a bit scary.  I am sure when we used to go to festivals most people were stoned and non-threatening.  As we walked around it just seemed like some great big shopping mall full of weird people, loud noises and horrible smells coming from the various food outlets.  I realised that modern day large festivals are definitely not for me.   It didn’t look like the place was full to capacity so at least it wasn’t too crowded.  I think it would have been a total nightmare if there had been 90,000 people there!

After a while we made our way back to the nice quiet area that was Bohemia Woods.  T was playing in a small Moroccan style tent that would probably hold, at most, 100 people.  When he started playing a lovely friend of ours, Gina, performed her hoola-hoop dancing with LED hoops, she looked fantastic and was a great accompaniment to T’s music.  She has a company called Star Mystique check it out here.  Afterwards T and I had another cup of tea and then headed home at about 11:30, most other people were still partying 🙂

Today has been a quiet day with a little bit of housework, a little bit of art, a few emails and a visit to see parents.

Tomorrow back to work 😦

Above is another page from my Circles of Wisdom book.

That’s all folks see you soon

Big love

AJ 🙂



Another Teesha Inspired Journal

Another Teesha Inspired journal :-)

Hello friends, I’m back – I think.

I have my new computer and, as we all predicted, at first it caused more problems than it solved, but gradually it is getting sorted out and at least this one is not crashing all the time and eventually I will sort out all the glitches, it all just takes time which is something I seem to be a bit short of.

Today I did a workshop with some of my colleagues from Ryde Social Heritage Group and we made Family History Shrines based on a free ebook I found on Aisling.net here is the link if you are interested: http://www.aisling.net/freebies/family-hist-shrine.pdf

I got together with 8 friends who have all researched their family histories and I showed them how I create my mixed media backgrounds using acrylic paints, stamping, stencilling etc. and everyone created lovely 3-fold books.  Unfortunately we ran out of time but at least they left with lovely backgrounds and now they will be working at home to put details of their families into the books.  I completed my book a few months ago and then I showed it to my friends and asked if they would like to make books about their families too.  I was delighted when they all said yes and we had a great day today.  At the end of the month our work will go on display in an exhibition called The Unfolding Story for Ryde Arts Festival week.  In fact the work produced at all three of my workshops – Art Journaling, Matchbox Momentos and the Family History Shrines will be in the exhibition.  Woo Hoo that’s just great.

I am not at work this week well I went in on Monday, but took the rest of the week as annual leave.  The main reason for this is that this weekend is the big Isle of Wight Music Festival and it causes a lot of disruption for me getting to and from work, so this year I decided to avoid the hassle and take time off.  Unfortunately the weather has turned wintery again which is not good considering the time of year, but I am getting a few things done and it’s good just away from the daily grind for a few days.

The page above is the front cover of my fourth Teesha Moore inspired art journal a style, which you know I completely love.  I think and hope that my personal style is now beginning to show.  Anyone looking at my art would know it is inspired by Teesha, but I hope a bit of me shines through too.  Anyway after today’s mixed media workshop I realised it’s been a while since I played with acrylic paints, stencils and stamping and  I think I need to get back into that again soon.  I’ll have to find the time some how….

It’s late, I’m cold (it’s supposed to be mid-summer for goodness sake!) so I’m going to bed now to try and get warm, hopefully Billy the cat will come too – he’s a bit like a living hot water bottle.

Take care my friends and I’ll be back soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂

Flower Power

Flower PowerHello friends!

I am totally out of synch again!  I missed Sunday’s and Wednesday’s posts and I am posting this today instead of tomorrow because I have a new computer.  I got it for my birthday from my lovely husband and once I get it set up things should get a bit easier.  This ‘steam’ driven computer I am still using at the moment is really on its last legs and stops and crashes all the time.  However before I can set up the new one I need to transfer some files from this one to my external hard drive, and then I’ll have to set up the new computer so I can access the internet and my emails – oh you know all that techy stuff that I’m not much good at.  If I disappear for a while again you’ll know why!

Since my last post I really have been ultra busy.  My local history group had two Open Days in the Cemetery – believe me it’s more fun that it sounds – and as well as the actual two days we had to set up displays, learn scripts, I had to research and write a guided walk and then when it was all over we had to take it all down and pack it up.  If you are interested you can read about it here: http://www.rshg.org.uk/newsarticle.asp?newsid=349

The weather was glorious, lots of people came and we had a lot of fun!

The day after our Open Days was a Bank Holiday, this was fortunate because somehow I managed to sleep for 12 hours!  I never do that and normally I am an early riser.  My husband finally came to check if I was OK at 11am and woke me up.  I felt a bit groggy when I first got up but the weather was so nice I spent the rest of the day in the garden tidying up.

On Thursday, after work, I did my first (1 of 4) workshop with the young people at the Foyer.  Gosh that was a challenge!  I’m not sure they were inspired by me or by the idea of making matchbox momentos, that’s what I was asked to do with them.  Some of them did some fantastic work, but it was so hard to keep the attention and interest of others.   I am going to have to try harder for the next three weeks, I hope some of them come back next week, I was really looking forward to sharing a creative experience with new people.

The image above is another page from by Circles of wisdom book, it’s a kind of flowery theme, perfect for an old hippy like me 🙂

Right, now to start sorting out transferring from one computer to another, hopefully I will see you soon from my new super-dooper, ultra fast machine.

Big love

AJ 🙂