This time it is not an online class, but a real-life one at a local scrapbook store. The focus for this class is the recently released book by Gretchen Rubin called Happier At Home. In her first book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen spent an entire year focusing on one specifc aspect of personal happiness per month. In Happier At Home, she is focusing on dealing with aspects within her home that contribute to happiness.
For this class, we read one chapter of the book at a time, and then, once per month, we go to the class and work on an art journal page that somehow reflects the theme of that month's chapter. Here is the fun part...we actually are doing the art journaling right in the actual book!
At first, I had issues with 'destroying' this perfectly good and brand new book. What if I wanted to go back and read some pages again? How will I read when the book is full of pages that will not even allow me to close the book properly? I will not be able to pass this book along for others to read! Etc., etc.
But then I realized that this was the control-freak, type A side of me speaking and the whole reason I want to learn art journaling is to be able to let go...
I want to get messy.
I want to rip out pages.
I want to have pages curl and warp with texture.
I want to learn new techniques to push me beyond my comfort zone.
So, I am embracing it and owning it and PURSUING it! And actually, by the end of this first class, I felt much more comfortable with messing up this book.
When I arrived at the class, we jumped right in with gessoing the first page of the January chapter. Now, I have to tell you that this threw me off to start with. Here's why... I had read the first chapter prior to coming to class. But the first chapter of the book starts with September (the author has her reasons, which she explains in the preface to the book). So, I had read September, but when we started the class, our instructor informed us that we would be starting with the January chapter...and I hadn't read it!
After frantically trying to read at least the pages that we would be painting on, the instructor then asked us to tear out the rest of that chapter!! I was in a tizzy at that point but after obeying instructions, I settled in to the fact that I could actually still read the rest of the chapter at home later. From then on, I slowly warmed up to the class and could look the instructor in the eye again!
After the gesso layer had dried, we used a circle stencil and moulding paste to add texture to the outer edges of the pages. Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of that step (it was all white and would be hard to see anyway). Once that dried, we propped up our book and used spray inks at the top (I did mine upside down) that ran down the page to colour it. I could loosely control the paint by using a water spray to make it run more and lighten the intensity of the colours. It was neat to see the colours make the textures pop off the page.
After the spray inks were dry, we used another smaller circle stencil and some Distress Ink to make the brownish areas. This was new to me. I had not used Distress Inks before. The colour comes out really subtle, not like a regular ink pad. You kind of rub the inks into the paper in a circular motion and the more pressure you apply, the darker the colour. This technique added some depth to the page and a touch of grunge.
Next, we added various stamps, some washi tape (black with white dots), string, mini clothespins and a transparency frame.
Lastly, we embellished with butterflies, flowers made of printed paper, words cut from the pages we tore out of the book and a little handwriting. When it was all finished, I stood back to assess it. It is not my typical style. The blue and green were not my colours of choice (but we had no choice). I don't usually grunge up my work... But then I reminded myself that this class was all about learning. And I did learn some new things.
I learned somethings about moulding paste and stencils for adding texture.
I learned a little about using spray inks.
I learned a bit about mixing colours and textures so that they blend rather than become a mucky mess.
I learned a little about timing between drying and sharing tools with others in the class.
I learned a lot about letting go of control.
I learned a lot about being patient with the process.
I learned a lot about taking some creative time for myself.
The absolute best part of this adventure is the new friendship that has been blossoming over the last few weeks. Carissa is a co-worker. We have been at the same school since it opened 16 years ago. However, we have been teaching in different areas of the school and we have been at different places in our lives and I guess it just wasn't the right time for us.
I don't recall the tipping point that began this renewed friendship, but I am grateful for it. She is an art teacher and my office this year was moved to be right beside her. Through conversation we suddenly realized how much we had in common creatively. She joined the Photo A Day challenge with me. We participated in December Daily together. We are starting Project Life together. And now, we are taking this art journaling class together.
Looking forward to our next art journaling class, and growing our friendship...