Monday, January 13, 2014

In Which I Report on the Watercolor Traveler Workshop

The weekend's art workshop was Ab Fab. The instructor, Laurie Doctor, combined words and images and poetry and movement and it all came together in a Final Flourish with the completion of my two travel journals. 

The pocket side of the journal of days and its carrying case.

One is a journal of days (above and below) with pockets for mementos picked up along the way. Perhaps carnets from the Paris Metro. Or a bright feather fallen from the sky in Santa Fe. I also made a case so I could carry this book with me. 

The other side of the journal and case.

The second  journal (below) has stitched together pages to gather notes and plans. Quotes and meditations. Sketches and watercolors. 

There are some blank pages in this one so I can keep playing with it.

There was quite a stream of creative juices flowing in the room of twelve artistes.

One woman, and I love this idea, had an on-going project of making a collage a day. She started doing this last January. She had come into a cache of discarded library catalog cards and was using them as her tiny canvases. Brilliant. 

I asked to see these and she brought in her collection on the second day. On one side of a card were her collaged images of people or animals or machines or objects from nature. On the other side was the raw data about a book from that library's catalog.

(Of course this was a painful reminder that my own project of creating a card catalog of my library was languishing.)

If I thought there were going to be no words this weekend, I was wrong. Ms. Doctor read to us or mentioned poets William Stafford and Marie Howe. She read a bit to us from the book, Seven Nights by Jorges Luis Borges, a series of lectures he gave after he was appointed head of the Argentine National Library. He was blind by then and imagining Paradise as a kind of library.

I am still floating on a Creative Cloud.  


  1. Sounds like a wonderful creative shot in the arm, not just the instruction, but the experience of being around other creative people. The pocket idea is great. I usually glue an envelope in the back of my journals for little things I pick up along the way, but this might work better.

    1. I love the pocket journal because I am a pack-rat when it comes to little mementos. I don't know if you can tell by the photo, Kathy, but I already have stuffed a business card of one of the participants, a measuring paper, a few decorative paper squares, and another tiny accordion into the spaces. I think this is really a quite handy and decorative way to capture memories.

  2. Belle, what a lovely journal! And I love the pockets. And I love the idea of the card catalogue card collages. We have some old card catalogue cards here (left at the library for people to write notes on) and I shall have to think of something artistic. Well, i'm not artistic, but at least I should use them as bookmarks.

    1. Kat, I am sure you are artistic! I never considered myself artistic in a visual way, but I keep practicing. This workshop helped.

      I remember that for a while there were stacks of the abandoned catalogue cards at the library. I wish now that I had pocketed some. I forgot to say that the woman stamped each of her 'canvases' with a date stamp like the libraries used on the Date Due cards. Really, very clever and I wish I had thought of it!