Saturday, December 22, 2012

Myth and Goddess Boudoir Journal

I haven't posted recently for three reasons - one is that Loner aka Jeff has the next book of his Appalachian Trail journal that I made and I need to photograph it before talking about it on here. Secondly, I've been spending a lot of my time on my large 12X12 altered art Steampunk journal #2 after attending the Upstate Steampunk Extravaganza and being totally blown away by the inventions, costumes and  I've mostly been making Christmas presents so haven't wanted to post about them until after the recipients receive their gifts.
But now I'm making some journals to keep, some to sell on my ETSY and some to save as presents.
 I'll start with one I've made for myself.  I often make books for other people and never get around to making one I'll keep, but I gathered enough ephemera to make one of the useful journals that Steffogal1 taught in very user friendly steps in a you tube tutorial. 
First she offered  peek of it in this video and then she did a tutorial on what she called a super cute and easy journal.  I love the style so much I've been making them like crazy.  Most of mine I call boudoir journals because they're the perfect size to perch on a nightstand. Don't we all need a part diary, part mini photo album - to capture those thoughts and ideas when we have a few moments of alone time? Boudoir journals are ready for , dream recording,  romantic memories, jottings, list-making and of course, photos of your people, secret admirers and legged loves!
This was an important project to me at this stage in my life, as part of the focused Jungian studies I'm involved in right now. It was also part of my therapy following my doctor's diagnosis of my fibromyalgia early last year and an escalation of the chronic neuroimmune disease in July. And I'm sure the tragedy in Newtown, CT, brought to light how death and loss, while integral parts of life, forever change our perspective on life.

 I started off with  a sheet of the 12X12
Engraved Garden Designer paperstack from K&Company. 
I just love this page with the crow. I've always had an affinity for the crow as a bird and The Crow both James O'Barr's graphic novel and The Crow as the movie, starring Brandon Lee were parts of the goth culture which was a rather important part of my life. The movie came out during the heyday of when my publishing house, Shadow Archer Press was publishing our goth culture magazine, The Howling.  Many of our staff and friends were huge graphic novel fans of such groundbreaking graphic novels such as James O'Barr, The Crow and Neil Gaiman's/Dave McKean's Sandman and we couldn't wait for the film to be released and had planned a huge gathering to all attend the movie in goth garb. But then we received the news of Brandon Lee's tragic death on the set in Wilmington, North Carolina (which I visited about ten years later.  I always become fully immersed in sub cultures and had done a lot of research on why O'Barr wrote the graphic novel and how director, Alex Proyas interpreted the story from his own personal perspective. The Crow resonates with me in many deeply personal ways and has been one of my totem animals - maybe as far back as when I was a child, and my father died four days after a fall from a tall building he was working on in Boston. 
I wasn't  allowed to grieve, except secretly because my mother thought it best not to talk about my father or his accident. I believe that America is amiss in rushing the grieving processes, major transformational stages of life. Periods of grief tend to teach us a great deal about loss, but also about love, depth, the true value of people as opposed to material things, as well as leading us to appreciate what's essential to a soulful life.
So for this boudoir journal, I tried to find items that spoke to that process as we travel through the various stages.
First of all I cut the page to 7/1/2 by 3 1/2 inches and then did the scoring and folding to make the booklet. I first added a cemetery sculpture of a mourning woman which I made with a Tim Holtz  fragment. I love using fragments because they're so easy to use to make small pieces of paper into artwork and add a 3 dimensional feature to any project. The woman in mourning further emphasizes the message of this journal.  The Victorians were students of mourning rituals and had many including photos of the deceased, jewelry made from lock of hair from the dearly departed, and other traditions which we might consider macabre.  But to them it was all part of the healing process.
On the second and third pages, I started out with a pocket made from a 2001 note card by Robert Frederick Ltd. that I couldn't bear to mail away, depicting John William Waterhouse's beautiful Pre-Raphaelite painting The Lady of Shallot (1888) - this has long been an important painting in my search for soul and meaning as it represents one must set forth into the unknown despite the dangers which might be encountered.  The painting was based on Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem, written in 1832 -  The Lady of Shallot, where a maiden is locked in a tower and can only view a knight who rides by in a mirror. Once the mirror cracks, she feels she must go seek him our and sets of in her boat, dressed in white, floating through water lilies (both symbols of innocence seeking Camelot.
Our red-headed young woman does encounter love but loss, as well, as we all do. Inside the pocket is a tag from Michael's famous dollar bins. On the next page is an area to jot down quotes or thoughts above a photo of a statue which is in my Garden - to me she represents Demeter or Ceres - the goddess of growth and fertility, but also the mother of Persephone or Hecate who must bear witness to her daughter being abducted to the underground (our subconscious) by Hades (Pluto).
The fourth and fifth pages are about growth, blossoming, blooming to full flower and adulthood,  Life seems vital and vibrant, alive and alluring.   The poppy foil and gilt envelope from K&Company Julianne paperstack holds a tag for photos or writing and the book of  stems, leaves and flowers above offers room for photos.  On the 5th page the botanical from the  paperstack tag barely hides one of my sketches of a nude woman who learns to be vulnerable under the enchantment of new experiences, offerings, pleasures.
Below is a photo of the page with the photo book and poppy envelope opened, displaying the magenta colored striped tag inside  the enveloped.

On the 6th and 7th page, I chose a Steampunk woman holding a crow, from Graphic 45's Steampunk Debutante Collection, This woman is mature and decides to live a bohemian life given over to art, writing, reading and music. She holds the crow, a reminder that death must be acknowledged, and how its acknowledgement proves life as something sweet and precious - something important to savor each and every day. I made the art noveau tag from metallic copper heavy card stock using an embossing folder that came in a set.  I can't recall who made it though. It was a great set with four different tags or panels all in the Art Nouveau style.  To add inspiration for soul searching I added a "Mirror, mirror on the wall" type photomat accented from the 2011 Halloween tag stack by K&Company as well as a metallic copper and blue paisley border by K&Company. 
The 8th and 9th pages represent two more stages of a woman's life, first her abduction again to the underworld, an experience which is re-enacted over and over through fathers, boyfriends, lovers and husbands. Because women experience emotions so deeply leading in their ever-present  internal life, they sometimes feels they must give up parts of themselves to be committed to a relationship or to marry.  The 8th page with it's hues of reds and oranges represents all the intense emotions connected with these colors, passion, lust, anger.
I was so excited to spot the Trader Joe's Apple Cider one shipping trip and besides salivating over the idea of cider, I knew the illustration would have to have a featured place in one of my projects. The label is easy to remove (no glue on most of it)  and has a great texture. The illustration depicts these emotions in a unique and powerful way - the man is leading the woman up a ladder - to the heights of passion and life experience, but she refuses and struggles to escape because she's afraid of losing herself.
The tag just below, is from the Julianne K.& Company paperstack   and it's complex busy pattern, overlaid with gilt foil swirls shows how the spirals of life can be hectic and confusing and I tucked it into the bottom border of a bowed Cupid's mouth which is closed and silent.The background of the page and tag are both softer in hues of pink representing that behind all the emotional entanglements and doubts, order can bring order  out of chaos but our woman isn't ready just yet.
On the 8th page, she does indeed lose herself - in a wonderful way - bearing children - and this page shows the joys of motherhood and how losing oneself to the innocence of children, as presented by thew botanical card in the background of a lily, tells a different story. Another tag made of lime green cross-hatched card stock once again depicts the colors of  young life, but the crosshatching on the card shows how those lives Are 9intricately woven together from now on.
The final two pages represent the woman who has come to terms with her life.
On the 9th page I added another photomat from the 2011 Halloween K&Company tag stack and made a pocket from teal card stock, tucking in a card made from a piece of Recollections open stock paper from Michael. This tag: deeply-hued, voluptuous, abundant, rich in color, shows how the reds and pinks are deepened into mauve and burgundy through experience, reflection, insight and resolve.
On the 10th page, once again, I used a Robert Frederick note card of Proserpina by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. This goddess, also know as Persephone, Rossetti saw as the empress of Hades - queen of the underworld, who has become adept at exploring her subconscious depths. She is no longer an unwilling victim, but  now a mature and resolved woman, aware that to be fully authentic, she must also reside in the liminal world of Hades for half of her each year to become a fully authentic individual in her own right. She is adept at delving into the past and her subconscious through dreams, stillness, silence or meditation, and she'll continue to partake of the pomegranate because such journeys to the depths are imperative to soulmaking.
I tucked a tag I found at the side of the road once while walking - a scientific specimen card of the lunar, a perfect addendum to tuck into the Proserpina pocket as a symbol of a being whose greatest insights are discovered in the depths of the dark.

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