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On Healing & New Beginnings - A Handmade Journal

Homemade journals are very inviting and in this instance, this one offered me a path towards healing. There is something very nurturing about taking pieces of art, paper, scraps, material, photographs, etc, and turning it into a place for your heart and soul to be accepted just as they are.

When a journal is handmade, I find it easier to keep intimidation at bay. It helps with the fear of a blank page or a large empty journal waiting for what should be ‘perfect art’. Handmade is somewhat imperfect and I LOVE that. In fact, the more imperfect they are, the more inviting and reflective I believe they become. Most of us have an accumulation of various papers and scrap pages. I also have a love of fabrics, Once upon a time, I made quilts. For this journal, I thought it might be fun to add fabric pages for a pop of color and texture.

More than anything, I’m discovering the representation, the reminders, the idea of peace and healing, even joy, that I want the pages to remind me of.

That’s the beauty of art journaling, it is what we make it. It’s not about a beautiful and perfect piece of art every time. It’s about the growth and the process of self-discovery through Truth, God’s truth for me, maybe for you too.

I came across this quote. As I read it, I felt every word making it’s way deeper within my mind, my soul. This is something I never want to forget. The truth within it, the fact that it made its way in front of my eyes at the time it did. Creativity and art have always been about the process of healing and seeking a form of physical peace through the making. I am not a licensed art therapist by any stretch. However, I choose to combine my faith and creativity as a way to draw closer or to be in further awe of our Creator. When I remain focused on art or creativity in this way, there is peace.

This journal is far from complete and I think it will be one that is going to take some time for me to finish, if ever. However, within its pages I have this beautiful quote as my compass and guide. I also have little pieces of art that I’ve created and I use them in various ways on the pages and the photographs.

Oh, the photographs. There’s a story there. I knew I wanted to incorporate those beautiful little photo sleeves and allow the fabric to show through some of the windows as a background. I’d say it worked! The day these photos were taken, it was a super cold Saturday morning in late January, I believe. My daughter and I made our way to one of the gardens in Madison, Wisconsin with hot coffee and doughnuts. (Doughnuts are not a common occurrence for us.) I was bound and determined to get some beautiful winter shots.! When I made it back to the car, it took quite a while for me to feel my hands again. Oh, the memories!

The pages of the journal are made from a mix of fabrics, watercolor paper (glued to pages within the binding), mixed media paper dyed with rust, photo-sleeves, painted canvas (drop cloth), collaged pages, collage scraps, and painted book pages.

The binding that holds it all together is a soft wire used in jewelry making and that Eeyore is from a friend. I believe he was a pendant or a charm of some sort, but he’s broken at that point of connection. He is wrapped into the binding and I find him to be a perfect reminder of joy.

-- Update -- May 2020 Here we are a couple of months later and the world has completely changed. In fact, how we live our lives going forward has most like changed for the foreseeable future. Whenever I look at this journal I smile. When I first created it, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. Now, when I hold it and look ay my entries I find peace and joy. I look forward to filling in more of those blank spaces with purpose and slow, beautiful, healing. If you create a handmade journal, I'd love to see it. Post your creations on Instagram and tag me @melaniefaganart and/or join my Facebook Creative Community - Melanie Fagan Creative.


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