Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Thoughts on Visual Journaling and The Bead Journal Project

Please note:
Registration for the Bead Journal Project closed on May 30, 2007.
There 239 participants in this year's BJP.

* * * * * * * * * *improvisational bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, detail from cover of hand made book
As of this morning, we have 32 participants who have pledged to make one "bead journal page" per month, starting in June of 2007! Already we span the globe... 10 states and 4 countries! If this is new to you, here are the guidelines.

I wish all of you could see the emails I've been getting. Everyone is so enthusiastic and excited about doing this. Some see it as a challenge to develop personal style, some as a means to practice and learn bead embroidery, some as a way to explore current issues and events in their lives.

I see it as a way to journal out-of-the-box. Give me a note book full of lined paper, and my journal will be dominated by intellect. Even following Julia Cameron's guidelines from "The Artists' Way" and writing off the lines, I still find my words full of thought process, rationalization and linear boundaries. Some years ago, I became aware of "visual journaling," which involves more of the play instinct - paint, paste, heart-to-hands. The freedom and apparent spontaneity of it appeal to me.
circular writing by Robin Atkins, detail from one journal page
If you've read my book, One Bead at a Time, you know that most of my bead embroidery is improvisational - without a plan or pattern. Over and over again, I notice that this work comes from somewhere deep in my heart. It seems to bypass my brain, bringing forward something fresh and dynamic every time. Rather than revealing what I think is real, it is real.

So now, full circle, back The Bead Journal Project, for me it's an opportunity to combine the idea of visual journaling with my favorite medium (beads) and my favorite method of working (improvisation). I intend to put the possibility of exhibition as far away from consciousness as possible. Right now, this is just for me. This is my place and my time to let it all hang out, to let myself be carried away in the moment, to let go of judgments and interpretation and planning, to go deeper than words. Wheeee!
improvisational bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, detail from framed piece
In case you'd like to read more about visual journaling, Sharon B (one of my favorite bloggers) has written and provided numerous links on this subject. Here is a somewhat historical look at visual journaling. Here are 13 steps, ideas that could help you get started and lots of links.

What are some of your thoughts about visual journaling? Do you have a favorite book or website to recommend?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

2007 Bead Journal Project begins in June!

Please note:
Registration for the Bead Journal Project closed on May 30, 2007. There are 239 participants in this year's BJP.

* * * * * * * * * *

The Bead Journal Project just became "official!" In my last post, I casually tossed out the idea of committing to a beaded journal page, one per month for a year. Quite a number of you commented, saying "count me in." All right!!!! Let's do it!

After email correspondence with a few of you, I've come up with some guidelines here. As you can see, it's rather loose. The only real rules are that you do one per month and keep your size consistent.

Now let's see how many people we can get on board. I need your help with this. Please tell anyone you think might be interested. The more participants we have, the more support there will be. Also, we'll have more possibilities for exhibition of our work (completely optional for each participant, of course).

I'm asking each participant to email me. Please confirm when you will start (June, if possible!), and give me your contact information. Also please let me know if you're willing for me to add your name and contact information to a public list of the participants. If you have any suggestions about this, feel free to email or comment on this post.

Like Mary, I can hardly wait to get started and totally look forward to whatever will unfold!