Do You Keep a Journal?

I’ve been “studying” journals lately. I admire those who can keep a journal and keep it going, especially one that’s even interesting for other people to look at. I have a shelf full of blank journal books, but I can’t seem to get started. I want to do one . . . but . . . for some reason, I haven’t been able to get it going . . . it’s partly due to indecision, because . . . 

I don’t want it to be a “boring” journal. I don’t want to write about my day every day, and I’m not one to dwell on the past, so that’s not the type of journal I want to make. I want my journal to be an inspirational idea book for my future, mostly related to my passion of quilting.

So, looking through my May 2009 issue of American Quilter, I ran across an article on page 18 called “Creativity: Mapping the Territory of Your Heart”, written by Kristin Steiner. THIS is how I want my journal to work. There are pictures of her journal, and then the quilts inspired by them, and it was like she wrote that article just for me! It has inspired me to get started.

I have a motley collection of sketches and ideas scattered everywhere, and in my efforts to become more organized, I’m trying to corral it all into one place. And now I’ve been reading whatever else I can find on other’s ideas about keeping an Art Journal; not just any journal, but an “art journal”. I want the pages to be interesting, inspiring, imaginative, and creative. I want to be able to feel good when looking back at it, and keep it as a reference for all the ideas I have so that I don’t lose them in the black hole of a failing memory. 

Added to that . . . I’m sure most of you have heard about the Journal Quilt Project, begun in 2002 by Karey Bresenhan, and debuted at International Quilt Festival that year. The Quilt Art group has kept it going for this year, and you can see this year’s information by clicking here. (If you’re interested in making one, the deadline is not past yet.)

Well, two of my quilting friends and I decided that we would make our own little journal quiltlets. I have yet to do my first one. I have decided that I want to begin with the paper journal first, an idea book of sorts, like Kristin’s article suggests. My goal is to use my journal quiltlets as a way to try out new techniques to get the hang of them so that I don’t “mess up” a bigger project with trial and error. Experimenting with new stitches or materials, possibly painting or stamping, trying out embellishments, or even just a new way to applique a flower — (does it look better with 5 petals, or 6?).

I’m not an “art quilter” — my work is more traditional. But I still feel that keeping an art journal will help me not lose ideas that flip through my mind and are gone if I fail to get them recorded somehow. My intended goal is to keep both the paper journal and a fabric journal: build paper pages to record sketches and ideas, and build little quiltlets to capture techniques and to learn on. I hope both journals inspire my work to greater heights as time goes on.

I’ll post pictures as I get going. In the meantime, I’d love to hear any of your ideas on journaling as it relates to your quilting. Do you do it? Does it help you? Do you write, or is your journal more “artsy”? Do you journal only on paper, or do you make quilted journals, too? Have you participated in the Journal Quilt Project? Are you an art quilter, or a more traditional quilter? I’m just curious . . .

Published in: on August 6, 2009 at 2:33 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I am not an art quilter. Mostly traditional. I love the idea of documenting your quilts through journaling. I have not done that. But what I have done is try to photograph every quilt that I have completed. Whether they are gifts, charity, or just for me. I missed a few of the ones when I started quilting 25 years ago. But hopefully, my photo journaling, will one day go into a Quilt Journal. I’d love to hear how you progress.

  2. Don’t forget that your blog is a form of a journal as well. You mention that you don’t really know how to get started – but you already have! And it is great. Now you are just going to use a new medium. So go for it – and keep us posted.

  3. Yes, things happen for a reason. You found a way to start your Journaling when that article showed up just at the right time! Congratulations and WriteON!

  4. […] My Journal Quiltlet Almost an entire year ago (but not quite), I wrote this post. […]

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