Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A journal's journey begins here

I am taking part in an art Journal Round Robin organised by the lovely Louise. Thirteen ladies from all around Australia are taking part in this exciting new adventure.

I chose the theme Grimoire for my journal. It is made from salvaged materials and filled with sturdy watercolour paper.

I bound it in leather from a hideous 80s leather jacket from a thrift store.

Into the Coptic binding I included some stitched paper/fabric leaves.

The inside cover has wallpaper from a sample book.

One of my favourite Roald Dahl quotes on the last page and I stitched a paper pocket for notes and messages on to the inside cover.

On the back cover I made an Abracadabra triangle.

I based my own journal entry on the Russian witch and wise woman Babayaga (apologies for the blurry image above, it is the only one I took in haste before sending the journal off).

Babayaga lives deep in the forest in a hut that stands on chicken feet surrounded by a fence topped with human skulls that have glowing eyes. In the fairy tales she is usually depicted as a most fearsome witch with iron teeth. She flies around in a mortar and steering it with a pestle and wipes all traces of herself with a Birch broom. But Babayaga can also be the wise woman that grants wisdom and riches to the pure of heart. She is said to be the guardian over the fountain of the Waters of Life and Death.

And here is Babayaga stirring her cauldron while sharing her healthy recipe for Bone Broth for Supple Joints and Limber Body. 

 I have added a charm made from a couple of chicken feathers, a wee bone and a heart charm.

The journal is wrapped in a cloth I dyed with leaves and flowers from my garden and neighbourhood. I laid various leaves, elderberries and flowers directly onto the cloth (cotton) and folded it in half. Then I wrapped it tightly around a block of iron and immersed it into my trusted aluminium dye pot in which I had prepared an onion skin dye bath. The result is subtle but there are quite a lot of different hues and markings when one looks closely. 

 I have embroidered the cloth with a border of herringbone stitches which are called Hexenstich in German (meaning witch's stitch - appropriate for a Grimoire, don't you think?) 

Instead of the artists signing in somewhere in the journal I encourage them to write their name and date onto the cloth and either embroider it themselves or I will embroider them when the journal comes back. I can't wait to see what these creative ladies will come up with. If you'd like to follow our progress you can do so here.

SPOILER ALERT: If you are part of this art Journal Round Robin you might want to stop here (unless you don't like surprises or just simply can wait ;-)

As a little thank you for each lady working in my journal I have made tiny talismans in the shape of dream catchers. I used a pesky, weedy vine from the garden to make the  wee frames and yarn, beads and embellishments from my stash.

I have given most a "wish" or theme based on the embellishments used. I made a few too many so everybody will get a choice.

And so the journey has begun for our journals as they make their way around this vast land.

Bon Voyage and until we meet again.

A long overdue telling: the Gray Fox Epistles

Last April I read on Rima's blog about a mysterious project of fairy tales retold and sent by mail by a wonderful writer called Sylvia Linstead. I signed up on a whim as Rima's taste is very much my own and I have always loved myths and fairy- and folktales. What a fortuitous decision that turned out to be!

In May a beautifully stamped thick envelope arrived in my mailbox. And that was the beginning of my monthly literary magic fix ever since. Upon opening the envelope a few wild rose petals fell out much to my delight a faint rosy smell still clung to them all the way from the mountains in California so very far away from here.

Sylvia is a very gifted raconteuse; she weaves her magic with words and almost as if in meditation she guides you deeply, so very deeply into the wild of her native landscape in which most of her stories are based. There you learn about plants, animals and of humans ready to reconnect with nature on a very deep level.

By the time you come to the end of the story you will not be quite the same, your surroundings might take on a slightly different hue and your perception of nature will have deepened.

I have nine tales so far, all beautiful, all treasured greatly, all have inspired me in some way and enriched my life.

And so it has taken me nine months to share this tale with you. I hope you will go and check out Wildtalewort and give yourself a little magic in your life and subscribe to the Gray Fox Epistles - you won't regret it!

Have a wonderful, magical time!