Resketch COLOR Journal Collaboration!

Hi everyone! Today I’m super excited to share with you the results of a truly amazing art journal collaboration in which I’ve been privileged to participate in the last 9 months!

Tina Walker, a fabulous mixed-media artist and designer at StencilGirl Products  (and one of my role models!), invited me and a wonderful group of ladies to be a part of the challenge. Our assignment was to select a blank Resketch sketchbook, pick a color to work with, and create an art journal featuring our choice of stencils from the expansive Stencil Girl product line.

My journal, entitled “New Learning Curves,” is all about how I turned 40 in the last year, and the struggle to love and accept my physical self through the inevitable changes that tend to accompany a woman’s journey into middle age. For me, the transition has been a bit of a rocky one. In addition to the typical weight gain and nagging injuries that most of us deal with as we reach this age, I’ve been learning how to live with chronic illness. In 2018 I was diagnosed with a vestibular disturbance caused by damage to my inner ear, which affects my balance and causes occasional flare-ups of dizziness and vertigo. In January of this year, I also began treatment for IBS, a condition impacting the digestive tract. Sometimes it’s a challenge for me to love my body in what has become my “new normal,” and this journal documents my transition in a way that is affirming and inspiring.

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Cover, featuring Soulful Scribbles Dots Dash stencil

As you can see, the color I selected for my journal was orange, and it was a lot of fun working with it along with all of the awesome StencilGirl stencils in my stash! I also used vintage and patterned papers, Washi tape, stamps, ink, stickers, rub-ons, paper flowers, Dresden, a Dymo label maker, altered magazine images, pens, die-cut borders, and my antique typewriter.

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“So Now What?” featuring Gridded, Triangles Mini Printmaking Stencil Set 1, and 1 by 4 Rails Set 1

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“Embrace Aging,” featuring Assorted Circles Set 1 and Polka Party

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“Tell Me No Lies,” featuring Hexagon Set 1 and Polka Party

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“Size Doesn’t Matter,” featuring Assorted Circles Set 1, Journal Texture #11, and Rounded Tiles.

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“The Power of Exercise,” featuring 1 by 4 Rails Set 1, Rectangle Mini Printmaking Stencil, and Gridded.

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“Accept Your Flaws & Limits,” featuring Crazy Quilts Crosses & Rounds, 1 by 4 Rails Set 1, and Hexagon Set 1.

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“And I Am Enough,” featuring 1 by 4 Rails Set 1 and Crazy Quilts Crosses & Rounds

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Rear Cover, featuring Soulful Scribbles Dots Dash

Those of us in the Resketch Collaboration can’t let you leave without saying THANK YOU for stopping by and sharing in our color journal story. And as a special thank-you, we also have a GIVEAWAY! We are giving away a random selection of Resketch journals AND a $25 StencilGirl gift certificate to ONE LUCKY PERSON! Make sure to comment below to let us know you’ve visited and let us know what color your journal would be. Visit each artist’s blog for more chances to win (comments are due no later than midnight EST on April 28, 2019!) We will pick ONE winner on April 29, so watch this space to see if you are a winner!

Be sure to visit the StencilGirl Talk blog to learn more about our collaboration, and click on the blog links below to see each member’s completed Resketch journal in full and learn about their inspiration!

a dogs life

Marsha.

Cynthia Silveri

I Make Messy Art

Happily We Go

HolyLise

Artful Stories

Stuff By Belle

Thanks again for stopping by, and best of luck!

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Art Journaling: Jul/Aug/Sept. 2018

Hello to all! Hope your summer is off to a great start!

The newest issue of Art Journaling magazine will be available on news stands July 1, and I’m thrilled to be one of the contributing artists! One of the issue’s themes explores the practice of self-care through art journaling, and my article, entitled, ‘My Little Book of Healing,’ describes how the process of creating enabled me to better cope with a series of medical challenges in the last 12 months. Thank you to Managing Editor Kelly Kirchner for putting together another beautiful issue, and for giving me the opportunity to be a part of it!

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Unfortunately, the medical issues I’ve faced since last summer forced me to put this blog on the back-burner for several months, but I’m looking forward to making a comeback!

Have a wonderful day!

 

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Artists’ Café, Volume 11

Hello to all! I hope your December is off to a festive start! Mine begins with some good news to share! Back in 2010, when I began dabbling in mixed media, I became a huge fan of the Stampington and Company magazines–and instantly fell in love with Artists’ Cafe. This particular magazine is branded as “The Best of Somerset Mixed-Media,” and is a beautifully-curated compilation of the editorial staff’s favorite artwork from past issues of the full line of Stampington magazines. I remember drooling over the gorgeous pieces presented within its pages, dreaming that someday I could make art like that. Earlier this week, I opened my mailbox and my mouth dropped to the floor when I realized that Stampington had sent me a copy of Volume 11 of Artists’ Cafe, and that the article I’d written about my “Wrapped in Blue” art journal from 2015 had been selected to appear in it! For this awestruck artist, it definitely feels like a full-circle moment, and I can’t thank the staff enough for such an unbelievable honor!!

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Artists’ Café is available on news stands, and can also be purchased from Stampington and Company.

Looking forward to seeing you soon! Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season!

 

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Teaching-Inspired Altered Book, Part III

Hello all! Happy November! Hope this month is off to a great start for you! Here is another page from my teaching-inspired altered book.

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In direct contrast to my last page, which was dedicated to the teachers who’ve found romance with their colleagues in the classroom, this page is for all of the unmarried schoolmarms through history who have devoted their entire lives to the children they teach, eschewing marriage and family life by choice or by circumstance.

In the early days of public education in the United States, female teachers who wished to remain employed in their chosen profession were generally not permitted to get married; once a woman married, she was expected to relinquish her teaching license so that she could exit the workforce and become a ‘proper’ wife and mother, as all supposedly decent women of the era were expected to be (of course, it goes without saying that male teachers were not bound to the same restrictions). I imagine many career-minded individuals who found fulfillment in their work struggled a great deal with the heartbreaking decision of whether to marry. I’m sure there were also others who discovered that the heavy workload of teaching as well as the isolated, rural locations of many schools were inconducive to having an active social life; they likely struggled to find time and opportunities to connect with potential marriage partners. This page is a testament to the passion these women felt for their vocation and the pride they took in helping parents to ‘raise’ multiple generations of children, as well as the difficulties they may have faced in terms of their loneliness, their unrealized dreams, and the questions they undoubtedly had to answer repeatedly from well-meaning family members and friends who didn’t understand.

This page was created with a page from a vintage school textbook, a mathematics flash card, a slide, a graphic clipped from a vintage greeting card, a photograph, a German language flash card, an old punch-out coupon stamp, a Scrabble tile, and text trimmed from old books.

Thanks again for stopping by! Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

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Teaching-Inspired Altered Book, Part II

Hello all! Hope the first half of October has been off to a great start for you! Here are a couple more pages from the teaching-inspired altered book that I recently began creating at a workshop at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, Wisconsin:

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The small mini-page on the left, which was inserted into the binding with a strip of distressed muslin, was constructed from an antique greeting card featuring an illustration of summer greenery that has an appealing painterly quality and jumped out at me immediately when I spotted it in the instructor’s box of ephemera. An inkjet copy of a vintage photograph of two young women is adhered to an old piece of yellowed notebook paper, and layered with a distressed piece of lace and words cut from an old book, which read, “petty jealousies had led to bickering and quarrels.” The photo of the women and this phrase came together to embody the theme of this mini-page–the fierce ego wars and ruthless competition that often plays out between teachers in a school, year in and year out. I have experienced it firsthand myself in every school in which I’ve worked, and have found it to be a significant source of stress in my career life. In general, teachers are highly territorial creatures; they want to do things their way in their classrooms with their students–and they don’t want to be told what to do or how to do it by anyone else–even a well-meaning colleague or principal. In my fifteen-year career, I have witnessed and participated in many tense discussions and even the occasional shouting match over contentious issues–and have been aware of countless instances of backstabbing, bullying, exclusion, and terrible gossip. People may assume the business world has a monopoly on vicious workplace environments, but I beg to differ. While I wish I could say it wasn’t true, I hypothesize that much of the trouble is owed to the fact that for most of its history, teaching has been a female-dominated profession. I would estimate that 98% of the worst behaviors I’ve seen have been perpetrated by women against other women; this is the main reason why I’ve gravitated toward and formed alliances with my male colleagues throughout my time in the classroom.

The page on the right serves as an ironic counterpoint to the page on the left. Created with a scrap of vintage wallpaper, a page from an old Gregg’s Shorthand textbook, a distressed game card, a vintage photo of a man and woman standing outside of a school that I found in my grandmother’s scrapbook, a piece of a page torn from a vintage book containing the words “Lovers’ Meetings,” a weathered card from a school-themed board game, and a chipboard piece containing the image of a fountain pen, this page is devoted to the romance that frequently arises between teachers in schools. In every school in which I’ve worked, there have been teachers involved in secret and not-so-secret romances, teachers who have openly dated each other, and even those who have married each other. This particular theme relates to my own life, as I met the guy who would eventually become my husband at the first school where I taught; he happened to be the special education teacher who assisted me in my inclusion English classes. Two of my best friends from college also married men they met in the course of their teaching positions. So…why has romance been such a prevalent phenomenon between employees in schools? As much as teachers want to think they can work their magic independently in the isolated spheres of their classrooms, teaching has always been a team sport–and anytime people work closely together in intense, stressful environments, love connections are bound to develop.

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to check out this post! Have a wonderful Sunday!

 

 

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Teaching-Inspired Altered Book, Part I

A few weeks ago, I paid a visit to one of my favorite places in the world, Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, and took a wonderful altered book workshop led by Lorraine Reynolds.

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I’d brought with me an old 1960’s-era library book that had been discarded from the library at the school where I work, and thus it wasn’t too much of a surprise when the book’s theme became apparent to me; this book was going to share the story of the joys and sorrows experienced by schoolteachers, past and present. As a veteran of the teaching profession who was at that moment preparing to start another year in the classroom, this was a topic that I knew intimately–and as I took out bits and pieces of ephemera from my own collection and combined them with items found in Lorraine’s boxes of antique schoolbooks, vintage papers, and imagery, my story (and that of all teachers through the ages) tumbled out with very little difficulty.

Here is the book’s first page. The phrase “Doubts and Considerations” jumped out at me from the book in which it appeared, because I think all of us who teach (and really, all of us in any profession) wonder from time to time if we’re in the right place, doing what we’re meant to be doing.

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Below, on the left, is page 2, which is dedicated to the physical school building where teachers work.

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The phrase “Comedies, Tragedies, and Histories” sums up the kinds of experiences that occur in those hallowed halls and classrooms on a daily basis, year after year. The background paper is an actual school composition assignment written on yellowed notebook paper from a high school student back in the 1930s. There’s also a vintage photo of a school, a Bingo card, a U.S. history transparency, a scrap of distressed linen, a fortune from a fortune cookie, a piece of broken vintage porcelain that I found earlier this summer on a Lake Michigan beach, and other found words and images trimmed from vintage books. On the right is a mini-page that has been inserted into the book with a piece of linen. It was constructed from an old greeting card someone had sent, expressing condolences to another individual after the death of her mother. This reminded me of my grandfather’s death back in October 2008, when I was teaching in a Milwaukee suburb. The word “distracted” that covers her mouth describes exactly how I felt as I was obligated to teach a full day of classes and conduct an evening of parent/teacher conferences immediately after I’d learned he’d passed away. I remember how excruciatingly difficult it was to pretend in front of the children that nothing was wrong, and I’ve watched my colleagues do the same while grappling with death, divorce, and other profound loss. So often we as teachers continue to work in spite of our personal crises and heartaches, and it requires a tremendous amount of strength to do so.

I am excited to share more of the pages in this teaching-themed altered book in the days and weeks ahead. Thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

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“Long Journeys”

Happy Wednesday! This is another page from my “K.I.S.S.” journal, entitled, “Long Journeys.”

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The page was inspired by a vintage photograph of a winding road, and features old book pages, a section cut from a map, magazine images, found text, Washi tape, and rub-ons.

As I was creating the page, I thought about some longtime friendships that I’ve been blessed to have since childhood and college, and about how they’ve endured through the years, despite geographical distance and changing life circumstances.  The individuals involved have been true partners on my life’s journey, and in many ways, they serve as guides to me, to keep me grounded and on the right track. Whenever I’ve felt lost or unsure of where I am in my life or where I’m headed, they’ve reminded me of who I am and of what really matters, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Thanks for visiting, and have a great day!

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