Hello, how are you?

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

A page from my Secret Messages Journal

Hello friends

I’ve been away for half a year! I’m not really sure how that happened, but there has been lots going on.  Too much to go into really so here is a quick precis of the first half of this year from my point of view:

The main thing is that I am feeling good now and I am still in remission (got another check up in 2 days time but no cause to worry about that as far as I know);

T lost his job at the end of January due to having had too much sick leave and that was quite a stressful time, so as I was beginning to feel a lot better he was beginning to feel worse – we are muddling through OK;
In March I attended a 2 day course run by Penny Brohn UK which was all about living well with cancer, I loved the course and I gained a lot from it, in particular I learnt about Mindfulness Meditation and that has been a life changer for the better;
I am working full-time again now (although I have had a lot of leave in the past 6 months – due to the generosity of my employers) and things are gradually getting back to normal;
I started going to Hoopfit class in April run by my lovely friend Gina, I’m still not very good at it, but it is fun;
I became a voracious viewer of art (probably at the expense of creating much myself) but seeing beautiful things every day really lifts my spirits and I have discovered so many wonderful artists thanks to the internet :-);
I did some display/information sheets for a new exhibition Poo@theZoo it’s the brain child of a fantastic group of local artists called Eccleston George and it was a privilege to work with them on this project.  My contribution was to tell the story of what happens to human poo after the toilet is flushed;
In May I had a birthday, I was 61! we went out for a picnic at a lovely spot and then we went away (not very far) in the camper van for a weekend;
At the beginning of June we went away again to a very small world music festival Mondomix and that was good;
The following weekend we had another long weekend of camping in the van at a campsite that is within walking distance from home – the reason for staying so close to home is that we have to come back at least once a day to feed and check on the cats;
As a late birthday present T and I went to London on 22 June to see an exhibition by the artist Yayoi Kusama, it was fabulous;
On 23 June we had a referendum in the UK on whether or not we should stay in the European Union
On 24 June we got the shocking result that by a tiny majority of less than 4% (52% -48%) we voted to leave the EU and since then I’ve been in deep shock, both of our main political parties the Tories and Labour seem to be self destructing and the £ seems to have disappeared down the pan. There is so much uncertainty, these are worrying times.  I have spoken about this a lot on my facebook page so I don’t intend to say any more here.

So that’s one half of this year in my life, never a dull moment!

Earlier in the year it was bothering me that I wasn’t being as creative as I would have liked so I decided to finish off a journal I started years ago.  It’s called Secret Messages and is an altered sample book.  I gave up on it a long time ago because I wasn’t very happy with how the first pages turned out. When I went back to it I just experimented with whatever came into my head. I also wanted to use up some of my extensive hoard of ‘stuff’ collected over the years because it  ‘might come in useful someday’ Here is a short video of the book, it’s a bit of an oddity:

For my own records and just in case you might be interested in more detail.  The book was a sample book I purchased in a charity shop.  The samples were window or wall screens, I think.

Front Cover

Front Cover

The only thing I did to the front cover was rip off the label and add the letters to form the words Secret Messages. I intended the journal to have no words in it (I didn’t quite succeed).

Inside front cover

Inside Front Cover

Inside the front cover I just stuck the piece of paper with washi tape and added the small ornate envelope with a message inside.

PAGE 1

Front of Page 1

Front of Page 1

Page 1: This screen was made of 2 layers of fine silk with paper strips with symbols between. I cut some circles out of some paper in my stash and glued it over the screen to form 3 round windows the I added more scraps of paper coloured red with distress ink, added three gold strips, some ‘gems’ and a ribbon border.

Back of Page 1

Back of Page 1

On the back I cut three matching holes in more paper and stuck it on, added white pen work and a border of wire and pink fluffy balls.

PAGE 2

Front of Page 2

Front of Page 2

Page 2: Another screen of fine silk with paper strips between. I painted this one with gesso leaving the two leaf shaped windows. I added colour with acrylic paint, paint markers and glitter and added a stick-on flower jewel and three ribbon strips to the side

Back of Page 2

Back of Page 2

On the back I painted again with gesso leaving the two windows, added colour with acrylic paint and glued on bits of deconstructed jewellery for texture.

PAGE 3

Front of Page 3

Front of Page 3

Page 3: This screen was made of 2 layers of fine silk with bamboo slats between. I added a collage border and then glued on the leather bag clasp and the yellow heart was a prize in a Christmas cracker.

Back of Page 3

Back of Page 3

On the back of the page I added a collage border, stuck a paper doily, coloured with galatos in the middle and added a centre piece from a deconstructed ear-ring.

PAGE 4

Front of Page 4

Front of Page 4

Page 4: This screen was also made of fine silk and bamboo slats but I removed all of the bamboo, then I added texture paste and acrylic paint and stuck on some old coins, tokens and pieces of deconstructed jewelry.

Back of Page 4

Back of Page 4

I covered the back of the page with pieces of old maps then added a border of soft feathers  to the top and side (for some strange reason when I am out walking if I see a feather I have to pick it up so I have quite a collection!), stuck on some gold stars and two old ferry tickets.

PAGE 5

Front of Page 5

Front of Page 5

Page 5: Another screen of silk and bamboo. I removed all but three of the slats of bamboo. cut some paper from my stash to make a border and then added lace around the edges, I put an old photo of T and M into an old brooch and stuck that onto the page with ribbons and fibres hanging from it. I put a strip of ribbon down the hinge side, added a wire work heart and added the letters to form the words You & Me.

Back of Page 5

Back of Page 5

On the back of this page I stuck some patterned paper, then decided I didn’t like it so I Mod Podged some printed tissue paper over the top of that, still didn’t like it so I used up my stock of gold letters on the page, still didn’t like it, added the green border with acrylic paint and stuck on some gold beads.  TBH I still don’t like it.

PAGE 6

Front of Page 6

Front of Page 6

Page 6: This screen was made of silk and raffia. I removed nearly all of the raffia, just leaving the strip in the middle. I wanted to use the piece of lace so I cut some paper to the same shape and stuck it on the page and I also Mod Podged on the piece of orange fabric. I enhanced the colours of the orange fabric with paint pens and painted the paper blue before Mod Podging on the piece of lace. I like the way it hangs over the edge of the page forming a frill.

Back of page 6

Back of Page 6

On the back I added more of the orange fabric which I enhanced with paint pens and I added course texture paste to the top of the page and rubbed in some gold colour to the corner.  Finally I threaded ribbons through the raffia.

PAGE 7

Front of Page 7

Front of Page 7

Page 7: This screen was made of sheer silk with lines of tiny black glass beads. I Mod Podged some white fabric to the back of it and then sprayed it with coloured inks and water, then I stuck on lots of sequins and gave it black border with duct tape.

Back of Page 7

Back of Page 7

On the back it looked a bit messy so I added a double layer of fine red, glittery mesh, still looked a mess so I added the strips of red fabric which made it look better, but the pink tasselled fibre and the eyes on two tags really improved it as did the black border.

PAGE 8

Front of Page 8

Front of Page 8

Page 8: This screen was made of viscous raffia and all I did was thread the coloured ribbon through it. The wooden thing that looks like a bird head is a brooch given to me for my birthday by a friend.

Back of Page 8

Back of Page 8

On the back I painted the black border.  The bark, sticks and seed pods were collected on a walk on our first camping trip.  The piece of wood with the heart was given to me at the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat in 2012.

PAGE 9

Front of Page 9

Front of Page 9

Page 9: This screen is made of raffia and silk. The feathers from the top are from our third camping trip, the white ones are goose feathers. The feather at the bottom I picked up when I took my parents to the local Alpaca farm, it is a lovely looking feather but it comes from a very ugly bird. I can’t remember what it is called but it looks a bit like an ostrich only uglier! I added a ripped paper border to the bottom of the page and a piece of ear-ring to attach that single feather. I added a purple border around the page with distress ink. The feathers at the top were glued and sewn down and I sewed an ornate belt buckle over them and attached a bead and tassel embellishment. I really like this page.

Back of Page 9

Back of Page 9

On the back I stuck down the artificial leaves and added a border of orange, ripped hand-made paper, I added a couple of butterflies to the leaves and the flower is from a hat I bought for some occasion (and never wore).  I added the letters to form the words Be Mindful because it is so important to me to keep practicing mindfulness.

PAGE 10

Front of Page 10

Front of Page 10

Page 10: This screen is made of polyester and fossilized leaves. The leaves are so beautiful I didn’t want to do much to it so I added the border it’s just brown paper coloured with distress inks. The little tag which has an imprint of a fern on it is a clothing tag. Down the side is a piece of a ‘hippy’ headband and at the bottom a piece of corrugated cardboard, two more feathers and a paper rose.

Back of Page 10

Back of Page 10

On the back I just used the same brown paper border and those are little wooden disks with numbers on (they might be from a Bingo game).

PAGE 11

Back of Page 11

Back of Page 11

Page 11: This screen was really strange it was made of very thin and fine stainless steel and it was like fabric but metallic silver.  I actually did the back of the page first, I used paint pens to draw on the metal background, I outlined everything in black and added a black border to the page.  Then I added a double layer of red glittery mesh and put the kitty tag between the 2 layers.  I fixed the mesh down with a gold ribbon border, sewed on the strange wooden figure that came from a necklace and added a row of bling to the bottom of the page.

Front of Page 11

Front of Page 11

On the front page to cover up the stitching  I stuck on some torn green tissue paper, I added some green paper lace over the top so that the metal could still be seen, added 3 paper roses and edged the page with red ink.

PAGE 12

Front of Page 12

Front of Page 12

Page 12: This screen was sheer but stiff silk, I didn’t want to do anything to alter the screen itself so I added the border of orange printed paper. On the day of the referendum result it was really hard to come to terms with it, even though I expected the vote to go that way, the reality of it shook me to the core, it’s hard to explain. I went for a long walk along a beach to clear my head. Whenever I go for walks I collect things that catch my eye and on beaches I am always attracted to colour so I collected all these bits of rope and cord and when I got home I stuck them onto the border of the page. The fish tag is from a Weird Fish T-shirt. This is the only page in my book that has a title, it’s called ‘Give them enough rope…’

Back of Page 12

Back of Page 12

One the back I wanted to give a feeling of being lost so I used a piece of a map and then gave that another border with map tape.  The heart tag is to remind me not to give up hope 🙂

INSIDE BACK COVER

Inside back cover

Inside back cover

I wanted to leave the information about the make up of the screen material but I ‘knocked it back’ with a thin covering of gesso, then I randomly added torn paper and the Number 3 card. I didn’t do anything to the back cover.

THE WHOLE JOURNAL

The whole journal

The whole journal

It’s a bit fatter than it was when I started and it’s been good to experiment and try things out even if a lot of them didn’t really work. The process is more important than the result so I’m happy anyway.

Sorry for the long, long, long post, I’ll try not to leave it 6 months before I post again 🙂

Big love

AJ

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Be a realist!

Be a Realist!

Hello friends!

I hope all is good with you.

So the reality is I’ve become a ‘not very good blogger’ but that’s just how it is at the moment and I’ve got to stop letting it worry me.

The Ryde Arts Festival is now well under way and got off to a spectacular start on Friday evening with the opening of the Landmark Trees project and a concert of a piece of music composed (by two young composers) especially for the event.  It was fantastic!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWhat was particularly good about it was that the hangings for the Landmark Trees were made by a local artist working with four different youth groups.  It took them about 3 months to paint them.

The concert ‘Seasons for a Soldier’ was played by the local Symphony Orchestra but also included an adult choir, a youth choir and the marching band of the local Sea Cadets.

The whole piece is about the seasons of 1914 – from optimistic Spring through to desolate Winter, reflecting on what it must have been like for all the young men who, in the autumn and winter of 1914 volunteered to fight for their country.  There are ribbons on all the trees outside with the names of the men from the town who lost their lives in WW1.

I’ve been volunteering over the weekend: on Friday and Saturday evening at events in the old church and this morning just sitting and welcoming the visitors who came in to see the installation and listen to a recording of the music.  (Actually I did a bit of art too while I was there) 🙂  Also yesterday afternoon I spent several hours updating the Ryde Arts Festival website.

You can’t see it in the picture (because people are sitting over it) but on the floor in big white lettering are the famous words from a Rupert Brooke poem “…That there’s some corner of a foreign field. That is for ever England”.  The chairs are just put out if there is a concert, but during the daytime people walk into a vast empty space with these wonderful tree hangings, the line of poetry on the floor and the music playing.  I think it’s really impressive and I’m proud to play a small part in the annual Arts Festival.

The spread above is in my Altered Book Journal.  I was a bit surprised in how it turned out, but that’s the way the pages wanted to be so who am I to argue?

I don’t know anything about Anwar Sadat other than he was the President of Egypt from 1970.  I’m guessing like most politicians he had good points and bad.  He took his country to war with Israel but he also entered into Peace Talks with Israel which culminated in a Peace Treaty being signed.  He and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On 6 October 1981 President Sadat was assassinated during the annual victory parade held in Cairo.

Anyway I really like the quote and I needed something with an Egyptian flavour to compliment the images (which came from a picture I bought in a charity shop yesterday).

Until the next time, have fun

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wonder

Wonder

Hello friends

Wow, summer is really here now, it’s scorching hot!  I hope you are enjoying lovely weather too where ever you are.

So that’s the Ryde Arts Festival over with for another year.  Well not really we still have to have meetings to discuss what went right and what went wrong and how we can improve for next year, and then the planning meetings and hopefully some workshops throughout the year until next summer.  I have enjoyed it and I received some lovely feedback about my personal art which is a bonus.

I spent today sitting at the Depozitory from 12:30 to 4pm but only had a few visitors partly I think because of the glorious weather, many people just headed for the beach, and partly because of the Wimbledon finals.  I am sure that everyone is delighted that Andy Murray won.

This week I finally managed to find a little time to do some art journaling in my altered book. This is a quick page I created with the theme of Wonder.   The quote is by Helen Keller and (in case you can’t read it) says “The infinite wonders of the universe are revealed to us in exact measure as we are capable of receiving them”.  It’s a bit different to the pages I’ve been posting recently and it felt good to be doing some mixed media and layers again.  I hope you like it. 🙂

Short post tonight because it’s T’s Birthday and I have to pop down to the local Indian restaurant to collect his Birthday dinner.

I won’t be posting mid week this week because I am going to London to give a speech at a conference on Wednesday and won’t get home until late.  Hopefully I will be back next weekend and in the meantime I hope you have a lovely and rewarding time.

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

COPYRIGHT

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

You don’t have to be perfect

You don't have to be perfectHello friends!

OK I am officially obsessed with the weather and it is still very, very cold here.  Fortunately we have not had snow again, but other parts of the country have.  It is however still very wintery and I don’t like it!

On Saturday I was going to do some work in the cemetery, recording inscriptions from memorials,  but it was just too cold and wet.  Instead I spent the day with my friends in the Learning Centre setting up display boards for our next exhibition.  It was an enjoyable day spent with lovely and enthusiastic people.  Even though we had the heating on all day, it never warmed up.  We had to keep our coats on all day!

This weekend I have had to download a copy of the history group‘s website to my external hard drive (because we are moving it to another host).  The website is so huge that it took from 7pm until nearly midnight on Saturday and from 7am till 6pm on Sunday.  I didn’t want to do anything else on my computer while it was downloading just incase it messed things up.  So I didn’t have time to post to my blog yesterday.  I spent the time preparing some more pages for a new art journal.  There is always a good side to things that seem a problem 🙂

On Saturday I went to the Library to see how registration for my workshop is going and was delighted to hear that there are only four spaces left.   It would be great if all 12 places were taken up, as I have prepared goody bags for 12 people.

The page above is the second page of my third Teesha Moore inspired journal.  As you can see another strange creature  popped up to join me on this page.  I have no idea where they come from but I suspect there are plenty more just waiting to materialise themselves as soon as I give them a chance 😉

Have a good week everyone and if you are in the UK I hope you are managing to keep warm.

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

Welcome!

Welcome to my worldHello friends!

I hope all is good with you, I am a little under the weather today and spent the morning in bed.  Then I started to feel better so I got up and got showered and dressed and went to visit Mum and Dad.

I think the reason for feeling poorly is that yesterday afternoon I went into town and bought all the National Geographic magazines that I could find in the charity shops.  I didn’t realise how heavy they were until I got about half way home.  I suspect the weight of them hanging off my shoulder has disturbed the alignment of my neck and given me a headache.  Still at least I got some good supplies for cutting up and collaging 🙂

Yesterday evening we had a social get together of Ryde Social Heritage Group including a Murder Mystery.  I had to play the part of a nun (which I wasn’t too pleased about) but at least I wasn’t the victim or perpetrator of the crime!  It was an excellent evening with good food and lovely people.

The spread above is the last page to do in my 6×6 journal and is the inside cover and first page.  It has lots of layers and looks a bit grungey  but I am reasonably happy with it.  The stencil and sprays I used I won on a competition on my friend Caroline Dube’s blog.  Thank you Carolyn!  The only thing left to do now is the cover.  That is always exciting for me and I hope I don’t mess it up.

I am progressing well with the preparations for my workshop, the poster and information sheet are almost finished and I’ve ordered a whole load of new pens for the participants to use on the day.  I have drafted out the instruction leaflet they will be able to take away with them and need to start thinking about what else to include in their welcome pack.

I have to go now, we are having a friend visit us this evening and he has just arrived, so I need to go and be sociable.

See you soon

Big love
AJ 🙂

Happy Holidays!

Finished-journal-cover

Hello friends!

PICT0285Happy Holidays to you!  I don’t have to go back to work until January 2nd and I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am just to have a break!  On Saturday I decided to put up some Christmas decorations and attempt to get myself into the Festive Spirit.  I went out to buy a Christmas Tree, I wanted a real one, and I honestly thought that having left it so late I would be able to get one at a reduced price.  Wrong!   They had sold out!  So I bought the only artificial tree I could find and now that it is decorated I think it looks fine in the corner of the living room.  Christmas TreeThe cats don’t seem to mind it either.  The first Christmas we had the cats they were about 9 months old and they both completely freaked out when a large decorated tree materialised in the living room and until it was removed they refused to come into the room.  Last year we did have a real tree but it was TINY (only about 1 foot tall) and the cats took no notice of it so this year is it in our new dining room.  You can probably just about see it in the corner 🙂  Fortunately this year ‘the boys’ are not at all concerned about the tree in the corner, they haven’t attempted to climb it yet but both of them have had a turn at sitting beneath it.

So my big news is that I have completed my A4 Journal which I started in October 2011.  As always I did the cover last –  I used texture paste in which I embedded some little mirrors, I sewed a big black button on the front to act as a sort of door handle and I used loads of different coloured acrylic paints to give it an ‘aged’ look.  The title letters are from a word game – coloured with distress inks and topped with glossy accents.  Finally I decorated the wire spine (which I have come to hate) with ribbons.  It feels so good to have it completed :-).  My 6×6 journal is also just a few pages away from completion and, because a new year is coming up soon, I have made a start on my 2013 Revo-lution book and I will be sharing both with you soon.

A4 Journal finishedFinished Journal Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Big love

AJ 🙂

Home, a place of safety

 

Home, a place of safetyHello friends!

I hope you are all well and happy.  I have had a busy weekend.  Yesterday I had to make myself go and do the voluntary work in the cemetery, it was hard because I knew RoseMarie wouldn’t be there, but I also knew it’s what she would want me to carry on.  It was a lovely sunny morning and my friend Kate came to join me and we spent a pleasant couple of hours recording inscriptions from some of the memorials.

In the afternoon I went shopping, I was hoping to be able to buy some old National Geographic magazines cheap from one of the charity shops, but I couldn’t find any 😦  However in one of the charity shops I did find a rather fabulous scrap book of newspaper cuttings someone (unknown) made in the 1930s, I probably spent more than I should have done on it, but I couldn’t resist!  In the same shop I also got some good artist brushes for a bargain price.  Well you can never have too many brushes can you?

It is now 6:30 pm and this is the first time I’ve sat in front of my computer today.  I had to resist switching it on because I had chores to do today.  I got up early this morning and started to clear out and tidy up the cupboard under the stairs.  Eventually we intend to move the washing machine in there to free up some space in the kitchen.  It’s hard to believe that so much stuff could be crammed into such a small space.  I was ruthless and threw of lot out!  When my husband got up (much later than me) we spent time working out how we are going to deal with the plumbing and then we went to a big DIY store to buy the materials we will need.

It was too late to start by the time we got back so I went to see Mum and Dad, who are both fine, and I’ve just got back from that visit.

This image above is a single page from my A4 size journal and was done fairly quickly (I guess you can tell that) as part of the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge:

Headline prompt: Security, what makes you feel safe and secure? What rattles your sense of security? Where do you go for comfort and refuge?

Color prompt: Cool colors (blues, greens, violets, etc)

Quote prompt: You can’t make a place for yourself in the sun, if you keep taking refuge under the family tree. Helen Keller.

Well, my home and my art room make me feel safe and secure so that’s where I go for comfort.  I managed to get my two cats into the image, but not my husband, he is probably around the back of the house tending to the garden, either that or he is upstairs haveing a nap 🙂  By the way my house is not as big as the one depicted on the page.

I’m not sure who to attribute the quote I used to, I have seen several similar quotes attributed to different people, but nevertheless it is what I feel about home.  I feel that I ruined it with the terrible writing, but never mind…

Have a good week everyone and I’ll be back soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂