A new year generally brings a new project and for 2021, still in Lockdown 3.0, something to share on-line is currently the only way to go.
First Hurdle – all the charity shops are shut, so casting around for a book you already have had to be the first option. Then Juliet had a great idea. She found an old desk diary that she had never used, perfect for a 52 week project, and ripe for altering!
Second Hurdle – now I know I too had one of these, where on earth had I put it? After an extensive search (including the loft), I realised that it had gone in the last clear out, so it was ebay to the rescue.
Third Hurdle – awaiting the post, and hoping I had bought a suitable desk diary. Already behind on week one “New Beginnings” I started on week two by making a ‘colour wheel’ using scraps of fabrics, mostly leftover from sewing face masks last year.
So now we are a few weeks into the project, how are we finding it, and what are we using?
Questions for the group
* What book are you using?
* If using a diary, are you enjoying the format?
* How have the prompts been for you? Are you able to interpret them in your own way?
I am using The British Library Desk Diary for 2019, which has a double page spread for each week.
The diary is a perfect book for this project, it even has the week number conveniently printed at the top of each page, which I am going to try and leave in. It has a lot of maps, which I have previously used in my collage practice, and some of those will be incorporated too.
The prompts have been OK – I just take them as a starting point and see what comes. One or two have already had unexpected outcomes, that have led me to further work that I would probably not have explored.
I have so many sketch books (can’t resist buying them) that I am using an A5 Daler Rowney which has quite thick paper and will take a lot of punishment. Each week I am using. Double page spread.
The prompts have been good because they challenge me, even if I am not always keen on one or another. I was able to work intuitively and the result of the New Beginnings prompt seemed to be saying Connectedness, how we are all connected to this planet and its rhythms and to each other, even when we cannot be together and so I am now trying to think about this theme every week, whilst still trying to work freely and instinctively.
I made myself an A5 coptic stitched journal made from found papers, including: magazine and vintage book pages; and tracing paper.
Some of the prompts have inspired me more than others. I quite liked the Create Your Own Colour Wheel and the New Beginnings prompts, for example. While, the Be My Valentine prompt seemed a little cheesy, on first sight, and I had no idea what to do for some time.
Then I thought to look into heart symbolism and discovered the history of the sacred heart, which was actually really fascinating, and I eventually created something kind of interesting. I guess the lesson is, just because you don’t like a prompt, doesn’t mean you can’t work with it!
I am also using the British Library Desk Diary from 2019.
The format is perfect as there is a double page spread for each week, with the number of the week at the top. The theme of the diary is maps. I decided to use the purpose of maps (i.e. to plan routes and stay on course) as a way of giving myself creative direction, guided by the weekly prompts. The paper is also a good weight and is really suitable for collaging onto.
I was initially unsure that word prompts would inspire me. However, I have been pleasantly surprised. The prompt comes out on Monday, I usually take a few days to mull it over, then spend a couple of days playing with ideas before there is a ta dah! moment at the end of the week.
When the idea of taking part in the #52weeksartjournal was decided by Seven, I had the thought that using an old weekly diary could potentially be a good fit. Often when you go to museums in the first couple of months of a year, it is possible to pick up a reduced diary, with fabulous images (remember those days when you could just walk into a museum) so I had a hunt around my spare / creative room. I found one V&A diary, but that had already been part cannibalised, but then I came across a 2001 version that concentrates on the V&A’s unrivalled collection of works by contemporary Victorian artists and designers.
The two page spread for each week are a good way of keeping on track with the weekly prompts. It is also a good size to work into – the size is between A5 and A4 which is manageable. The paper is a bit shiny and absorbent, so I have tended to work on separate paper before sticking them in.
Its been an interesting challenge to marry up the prompts against the diary images – some I have completely obscured, some I have left and done the artwork on the opposite page, but where possible I am trying to incorporate them within the artwork. Usually a few days contemplation of the prompt is needed before starting each piece. They are not what I would normally be inspired by, so it has been really good to ‘stretch’ my art practice.