Sunday, 31 May 2015

Live generously

This page already had the gelli-print on it when I came to it in my journal. I kept looking at the trees and thinking about the way the branches spread outwards and upwards. I was also keeping in mind my word for the year - flourish.

To flourish, I need to live generously, spreading outwards and upwards, letting God prune me as He will to increase my fruitfulness in the right areas. He will shape me, but I need to grow and plant seeds, otherwise there is nothing to prune and nothing to harvest.

Thursday, 28 May 2015


'We do not necessarily improve with age: for better or worse we become more like ourselves.'
Peter Hall

Hmm. If I am distilled as I age, what is being deepened and made more concentrated in me? I can hope for grace, mercy, humility, love, but if I'm not showing them now… It's like drying an apple and expecting it to taste like an apricot.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


No-one likes to be pruned, but it happens. One of the things that I realised on my recent retreat was that only fruitful branches are pruned. Those that are unfruitful are cut out all together.

So now I can rejoice in the pruning, knowing that it means I am already fruitful in that area, and that I am being prepared to bear more fruit.

Sunday, 24 May 2015


I'm never quite sure what to do when I reach a black page in my junque journals. Should I cover up most of the background with colour, or go minimal?

I had some black washi tape, so I started with that. I liked the white so went with it, tracing round the edge of a linked rings mask in two opposing corners. I didn't feel like adding colour to the rings, so doodled in them instead.

When I was finished with the doodling, it looked as if the two areas of pattern were reaching out to each other, so I linked them with a few lines.

My imagination kicked in, and I thought about the lines being stitches - if the thread was drawn tight, it would pull the two patterns together. If we want to draw together in community, we need to look for the things that will draw us together, the sameness rather than the differences. After all, we are all more alike than different.

Friday, 22 May 2015


While I was working out what to do in Kim's journal, (see the previous 2 posts) I cut out a bunch of heads from a fashion spread. In the end I didn't use them, but they were sitting on my workbench. I wasn't sure where this page was going, but the heads were begging to be used, so on to the page they went.

They set me thinking about how society can pressure us in so many ways to fit into a mould, to become clones of each other, to act in certain ways and like certain things. But if you want to flourish, you need to be happy in your own skin, to just be yourself and not allow others to force you into a shape that isn't authentic for you.

Why be a cookie-cutter person when you can be your own unique self?

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Feeling a little abstracted...

Just a quick post today. Another spread for Kim's journal on monochromatic faces. This is a rare one for me as I don't usually use photos of myself. But this is posterized in Photoshop and then changed to black and white to fit with the monochromatic scheme.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Circle Journal

This week I have been working in Kim's journal for the circle journal/round robin. Kim's theme is 'Monochromatic faces in the crowd.' See here for Claudia's take on it.

As you can see, I chose purple for my single colour and then laid down a background with acrylic paint, stencils, and bits of collaged book pages that you might just be able to see peeking through. The theme made me think about crowds of faceless people with one standing out. I wanted to create a strong, determined face using a stamp for the eyes and Copics for the outlining and shading.

Then I thought about the other way to stand out in a crowd - just be yourself - which reminded me of the Judy Garland quote. And the page was done. I just want to do something on the reverse, and then the journal will wing its way to Shel in Arizona for her take on the theme.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A canvas

In the spirit of pushing myself further, and after reading Dina Wakley's Art Journal Courage, I splashed out on to a canvas. I approached it like a journal page, complete with words. I have to admit, it took a lot longer than my average journal page. Somehow I felt that I needed to be more careful. I covered a lot of things up that I didn't like.

But finally, I am pleased with it :)

Friday, 15 May 2015

When the wind blows...

On a recent retreat, we went for a short contemplative walk around the wetlands, only about ten minutes. As we walked, there was a gentle breeze. I noticed that the grasses and reeds were moving a lot in the wind, whereas the trees were hardly moving at all.

So, do I bend with the wind, or resist it?

And there was a rustling noise coming from the grasses, too, but other plants were quiet.

So, do I make a lot of noise when the wind blows, or do I bear it in relative silence?

When the wind blows - whether it is bringing change, suffering, hardship - how do I react to it?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Attracting what?

Having thought about pollinators in my last post, my husband threw a question at me that made me think further along those lines.

Flowers are there to attract birds or insects to pollinate them and so cause the plant to bear fruit. So what sort of flowers are we bearing? What sort of people are we attracting?

Brightly coloured flowers generally attract birds. Scented flowers generally attract insects.

But sometimes the things that are attracted just eat the fruit or even the flowers, without helping the plant to produce seeds for the next generation.

So, what sort of people do you attract? Do you have people in your life who continually push you to grow and bear fruit? Or do you keep attracting those possum people? You know the ones I mean - they always eat the fruit with no regard to the future productivity in your life. They steal your joy and your peace.

How can you attract the right sort of people?

Sunday, 10 May 2015


I've spent a lot of time recently thinking about growth, especially as my word for the year is flourish. . The retreat I went on last weekend was based around John 15 - abiding in the vine.  Abiding in the vine leads to fruitfulness.

Once the flowers turned up on my page, I began to think about flowers and fruit.  Just because a plant produces flowers doesn't mean that it will produce fruit as well. It can bloom with a million blossoms, but there is only fruit if the flowers are pollinated. Which led my thinking to: what are my pollinators? What are the situations, or who are the people, that make me produce fruit?

I came to the conclusion that they come in two categories - the encouragers and the annoyances.

The encouragers cause me to grow in fruitfulness because they push me to be better, they show me how to do it, they mentor me and make me accountable.

The annoyances cause me to grow in fruitfulness because they make me exercise patience, grace, mercy, when it is hard. The more we exercise a muscle, the stronger it grows, and it is the same with these desirable traits.

What and who are your pollinators?

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Building community

More gelli-printed labels. These reminded me of buildings and made me think about how a building goes up.

First of all, a big hole is dug to put in the foundations. It isn't until this is done that you can truly work out how much the building is going to cost. Up until that point it is guesswork. Once you start to dig you know what you're building on, then you can make other decisions. It can take as long to dig out the hole and pour the foundations as for the rest of the building to go up.

And that's how it is in building community, too. There is a lot of groundwork, and it can feel like a great big hole for a while. Then suddenly, the foundations are in and you can start to build on them.

So if you're trying to build a friendship, a community… hang on in there. It is worth the time invested if you stick at it.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The company of women

This page went through many phases. At one point I drew leaves on it and painted red all around the leaves.

I hated it.

So out came the wet-wipes. It took five of them, but eventually the page was stripped back to something I felt I could work with.

But the wet-wipes had made some of the bits and pieces I'd glued on go soggy and start to peel. I gave them a little help, which left the surface looking slightly distressed, but I was okay with that.

Some doodling and printing and I was happy with the background.

But what was on my mind?

It was the eve of a retreat. I was going to be spending half a day with a group of women, only a few of whom I knew. Now, I don't know about you, but I find the company of other women comforting and terrifying in equal measure, especially when more than half of them are strangers to me. There is the whole comparison thing - which I try really hard not to do. But there is also comfort when a group of women start being vulnerable with each other and sharing those stories with which we can all identify; those stories of how we all fall short.

I had such a wonderful time with periods of silence and intense contemplation, and times of belly-laughing at our own shortcomings.

So, no matter how terrifying it can be in the beginning, the pursuit of community with other women is something to be embraced and treasured.