The Modern Poet: A Zine

The Modern Poet Zine by The Zine Squad

Recently I've been so immersed in designing and working with patterns, colour and photography, that I'd almost forgotten how much I love poetry.

And although I've not been writing poetry recently, words are still my poison.

I note down phrases and quotes and combinations of words that I love when I see them (yesterday I got 'faux-blithe, febrile days' - YES!), and I remember my 100 days of haiku project with fondness, yet there's been a poetic dearth this year due to other commitments.

But then a few weeks ago I received a surprise package in the mail (after a clever ploy to get my address) and when I opened the package, I knew instantly that I'd been 'zined' by the fabulous Zine Squad.

The Modern Poet Zine by The Zine Squad

I was moved beyond words when I discovered the brightly coloured, hand-bound and completely hand-made and decorated bounty inside - The Modern Poet Zine - made especially for me.

I know just how much work and love pours into a handmade work of art like this, so the fact that it was conceived and created in secret on my behalf made me feel super-special indeed. To have it to keep and treasure forever is priceless.

I also remember the thrill of taking part in a secret-zine project of my own with the group. How much fun! How time flies!

Here's a snapshot of some of the pages of The Modern Poet Zine, designed by Jules, Katie, Vanessa and Tori:

The Modern Poet Zine by The Zine Squad
The Modern Poet Zine by The Zine Squad
The Modern Poet Zine by The Zine Squad

I'm not sharing all the pages, because I'm keeping some just for myself (hint: for the zine-curious the artists themselves have shared the pages on their own sites and on social - links above).

Some more of my favourite quotes from inside include:

"Words tumble out of me like flowers or gifts"

"My dreams are like the ocean - deep and beautiful"

"I have to remind myself to think of the quiet"

The Modern Poet Zine by The Zine Squad

I love the combination of different styles of art and of writing; the bright colours and the reminiscences of the sea and the ode to the moon in the symbols on the cover.

I love the abstract art as colours morph into each other and the tactile element of different layers on the page.

I love the cut-out hearts and references to sewing and to love itself - the great poetic topic of life.

Above all, I love that this guerrilla act in the name of art has me reaching for my own art journal, also sadly neglected this year.

Currently it's the Get Messy Art Journal Season of Fairytales. I've gathered inspiration and even drawn a fairytale castle, but it's dead-end inspiration unless I make my mark on the page.

The Modern Poet Zine by The Zine Squad

The back page is the best motivation: 'It's a test. Leap.' I'm leaping!

Thank you, thank you, thank you again to the fabulous Zine Squad for my Modern Poet Zine.

Who'll be next I wonder?

Striving for Love: Jump, don't jump

I've had a chaotic week. I've lost all the photographs from my phone.

I've missed having creative time.

I've dedicated my afternoon to art journaling, aka 'getting messy'.

Some pages are finished, some aren't. Friday is a good day to get creative isn't it?

Getting Messy Art Journal Pages

There's a lot of mess on the floor. I'm owning it. It inspires me.

Getting Messy Art Journal PagesThings that I love? That's easy:

Tea, teapots, pretty soap, Geisha-faces (read what I wrote about my love for Japan), fashion, stripes, the colour red (though I'm not saying it's my favourite colour or anything), flowers, stamping (with wooden stamps and ink as well as with feet. Sometimes.)

And I'm always 'Striving for Love'. Love for life, self-love, romantic love.

Getting Messy Art Journal PagesThis is the second 'Striving for Love' page and I continued the theme with a girl in red, heart-centred jammy dodgers and the words, my hand-written words.

'Jump, don't jump' came into my head when I found this image, and I like the idea of there being a gap, a ravine, a chasm to finding love, to finding yourself, to getting what you want, and there's a decision to be made as to whether to cross that gap, ravine or crevice, or not. Jump, don't jump.

Because... striving for love.

Something I love: yakking on the phoneSay it! Say it! Say it!

That's the thing. I just can't stop saying it. Everything. I love talking, chatting, communicating, yakking on the phone. About anything. About everything.

Talking is my poison.

Communication is king.

(hysterical laughter) - imitating the additional subtitles you can activate sometimes on films that strive to communicate every nuance of sound, every rush of traffic noise, every laugh, every cough (inserts random background chatter).

I LOVE vintage telephones. My phones at home are actually very modern. One is a crystal encrusted skull, the other is a red stiletto.

Unfinished art journal page: green, floral, woolOne last page. This one is a mash-up of themes and ideas, and it's not especially seasonal with the knitted jumper, but I like it.

I think my message here is about constructing outfits like we construct our life.

"This outfit is tried and tested. It's OK. It's 'safe to use'. PASSED."

And I like the bright shade of green that matches perfectly between the jumper and the stickers.

The florals on the dark background remind me of period dramas and burgeoning gardens and sitting on the grass with a picnic (or maybe the biscuit tin). Random pages, random associations. Or flowers posed (poised?) in a vase for a still-life art class.

Maybe I'll journal these words onto the pages? They're transient, a bit like life, because the wool won't let itself be glued down in one place (but then, neither will I).

Art journaling frees my creativity and expands my mind. Or maybe it frees my mind and expands my creativity?

Join the Get Messy Art Journal community.

Addicted to Lists: Week 1 & 2

Lists are a big part of my life. Words equally so. But lists are always so provocatively there: calling, shouting and screaming for attention. To-do lists. Shopping lists. Bucket Lists.

When I heard the latest Get Messy season was all about LISTS, I was excited at the idea of making fun lists, creative lists, arty lists and listing as an insight into my life right now.

I knew straight away I would use this spotty-covered notebook with its creamy pages of handmade paper.

Season of Lists: Get Messy Week 1&2I bought it circa ten years ago and was too 'scared' to use it in case I 'messed' it up.

But that's the whole point of Get Messy art journaling. And what if I never got around to using it? What if no projects were ever special enough for these handmade pages?

'You need to make a mess to create art' - that was my first crucial lesson.

One of my favourite Get-Messy-mantras is 'use that special paper/book/washi tape/art set/insert-name-of-any-precious-thing-being-saved-for-a-rainy-day - THIS is the special project. YES!

My lists so far:

Season of Lists: Get Messy Week 1&2It was strange to write down a few things I am good/best at, and this page isn't so journal-y, it's literally just a list. A literal list.

But I also loved the simplicity of it with the striped washi tape, something which I think the beautiful paper of this notebook inspired.

Meanwhile, mysteries to me are definitely things that I have no real experience of such as 'under the sea' and 'SPACE' and 'death'.

But they also include the beautiful mysteries of the natural world:

The short life of a butterfly, the solitary life of a shark and the disappearance of bees. The Inca Trail is a mysterious place I'd love to visit one day.

I added 'the mind of a man' because, well, they are from Mars.

These pages turned out lively and colourful and I love that the butterfly crossed the page...

Season of Lists: Get Messy Week 1&2My second spread is all black and white.

I love the black 'mountains' of ripped paper and the ideas that flowed through my head when I thought of those colours.

BLACK is witches, voodoo, spiders, hackers and space (and magic). WHITE is purity and minimalism, doves, daisies, pearls, milk, paper, Tippex, swans and snow.

The white flower came about through ripped up notepad pages that I chose to tell a little story on, their petals scattering away like those ripped out for a game of 'he loves me, he loves me not.' Ah, I remember playing that!

I surprised myself with the way these pages are so devoid of colour compared to the previous pages.

Season of Lists: Get Messy Week 1&2I didn't have time to do much more, but for a very simple (unfinished?) page, I used my non-dominant hand to write down some 'lessons' I've learnt over the years. These came quite spontaneously despite the writing feeling very strange as my left hand clutched the pencil.

My plan was also to write a few notes in the front of my notebook, like a secret list to myself, maybe a little quote on my typewriter, but the ribbon got all caught up and it needs a little TLC...

Season of Lists: Get Messy Week 1&2This first page remains satisfyingly empty, to be messed up at random (and I love the possibilities of that, as well as the markings of the paper).

I'll add it to my to-do list...

New York City Art Journal

I've just returned from my first visit to New York City and as my head explodes with ideas, plans and words as I try to express and capitalise on all the inspiration I've been exposed to, I thought I'd share my attempt to art journal my day-to-day experiences while I was away. New York City/Manhattan Skyline in a fish bowlI'm part of the Get Messy Art Journal collective and my trip meant missing half of the Season of Happy.

Luckily I found my own 'happy', channeling an 'Empire State of Mind'.

New York City Travel & Art JournalIt started with this cute Sukie Travel Journal that has a mix of lined and blank pages with little envelopes (some brown, some transparent) to keep tiny, delicate things in.

I glued in my trawl of papers, receipts and flyers every few days and wrote down some of the things I'd seen/visited - when I had a spare moment.

New York City Travel & Art JournalI visited both MOMA and MOMA PS1 and loved the little stickers they give out as entry tickets at PS1.

New York City Travel & Art JournalThere was a visit to one of the many speakeasies - Beauty & Essex.

The entrance is disguised as a pawn shop with all sorts of treasures to browse and a vintage cash register. It was a bit busy when we went and the smuck of maître d' were snippy and confusing so it wasn't quite the full experience, but the interior looked suitably expensive and fabulous...

Meanwhile, I wanted a Kate Spade New York bag, but managed to resist. (It's still a lot cheaper than a Chanel 2.55.)

New York City Travel & Art JournalI knew that Victoria had a secret because everyone had a shopping bag bearing her name. I was lucky enough to receive a surprise birthday gift from there though which made my day.I wasn't disappointed on the tea-drinking front as is often the case when away from home.

On our first day of wandering I chanced upon T2 Tea and bought the coveted bamboo matcha whisk I've wanted for years and two kinds of matcha. I was served by a fellow 'Rebecca'. It was fate.

Now I'm part of the T2 'tea society' and coveting the beautiful teapots, milk jugs and handmade matcha bowls (yes, that's a thing!).

New York City Travel & Art JournalDrinking Argo's bubble tea and hot vanilla matcha were other tea highlights. I wish there was an Argo tea in Glasgow.

Luckily there is Tempo Tea Bar.

New York City Travel & Art JournalThis is a primitive little page featuring the circular remnants from postage stamps I bought at the Rockefeller Centre - you've got to work with the materials at hand in a travel situation. The Rockefeller wasn't far from our hotel (which had an amazing pool and sauna - the perfect way to start the day).

Room Mate is a Spanish chain so I had a chance to practice my language skills. In the lift. To myself...

New York City Travel & Art JournalI was a bit unlucky with some places I wanted to visit being closed.

The Brooklyn Art Library was the biggest disappointment because I took part in the Sketchbook Project a few years ago and my sketchbook is archived there. It would have been so cool to see my little book again, but also check out some of the others. Note to self: a reason to return!

I did manage to visit Greenwich Letterpress (on the second try) and bought a wooden stamp set featuring this cute little taxi and a rendition of the Chrysler Building.

New York City Travel & Art JournalSince I got back I made a full page of 'Happy Taxis' using different coloured inkpads.

The idea popped into my jetlagged-head the other night when I couldn't get to sleep and I wanted to get up straight away and start creating.

New York City Travel & Art JournalAnd the 'Chrysler Tower Flower' (my favourite page!):

New York City Travel & Art JournalEvery day in New York City felt like being on a filmset or in a book.

The street names and the sights. The buzz. The Empire State Building and Chrysler Building lit up at night acting as guiding stars through the city.

It was a lifetime of cultural references finally visited and captured in my heart (and travel/art journal).

Next: the photographs!


The Magic Eye

Last week I posted my first 'Happy' pages for the Get Messy Art Journal 'Season of Happy'...but this week I found myself drawn back to the merry-go-round of MAGIC. These pages are more like collages as there is not much journaling. Sometimes you just need to go with that (and I've left spaces to go back and journal in the gaps).

'Magic' Art Journal/Collage Pages

Birds, ravens, hawks, eagles - harbingers of the dark arts?

'Magic' Art Journal/Collage Pages

I've used the little scraps and torn papers from the creation of other pages to create a 'collage of magic'. I particularly love the over-exposed fisheye print of the woodland path at Jupiter Artland...

'Magic' Art Journal/Collage Pages

When I was growing up, my Nana always had a 'magic eye' to see what I was doing and achievements at school.

Obviously it was really my Mum telling her things, but I love the idea of the magic eye because it made me feel special, like I had a secret, and that my Nana was watching when I first learnt to swim (she was a professional lifeguard).

I still believe in the magic eye, and there is a lot of imagery dedicated to the symbol of the eye in different religions as well as in ideology of clairvoyance, crystal balls, tarot, etc.

'Magic' Art Journal/Collage Pages

I love the quote in the image above, and the idea of 'seeing with your heart' which becomes an inner eye:

Magic is the simple act of believing what our hearts already know to be true."

'Magic' Art Journal/Collage Pages

This image is inspired by the paper theatre that made me think of Punch & Judy and other magic/illusion shows, where we believe what our eyes see (and the magic is what is hidden).

I love the circles of colour that conjure the madness and energy of the circus. The cut-out reflective sheet hints at the gaps in what is seen and what is invisible, as well as the hoops acrobat performers use in their acts when suspended in mid-air.

'Magic' Art Journal/Collage Pages

I'm a bit obsessed with the idea of cut-off legs, feet and shoes like this post inspired by Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

The anklet clock makes me think of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland while the image overall reminds me how fantastical and surreal dreams can be.

'Magic' Art Journal/Collage Pages

Finally, another 'collage of magic' pieces with stars, glitter, smoke, birds, a gargoyle, another foggy woodland print and more feet in Dorothy-esque glitter slippers.

Have a magical, colourful, inspiring and creative weekend!

Celebrating the Season of Happy!

The sun is shining today and it feels like a good time to post my latest art journal pages, inspired by the Get Messy Art Journal 'Season of Happy'.

Happiness as a concept is so different for each of us, but here's a few thoughts, images and ideas that make me feel happy"

Season of Happy - Wk 1&2Season of Happy - Wk 1&2 Season of Happy - Wk 1&2

I love the image of blowing bubbles because it takes me back to the carefree days of being a child with wild, chaotic, outdoor summer fun.

I've used a contact sheet of thumbnail images that came with the processed analogue film from my fisheye camera - the images were all taken on the beach at St Andrews in winter but the sun was shining and the waves were crashing and it was beautiful.

Being happy is about perspectives. Viewing life through a fisheye lens certainly makes me smile!

Smiling is key to happiness I think, and I love the idea of secret doors (through the clouds, in phone boxes, odd numbers - anywhere).

The last image features a radio (sewing box) because music = 'happy' for me. Different moods require different sounds and there's nothing better than creating a playlist of happy songs or making a mix-tape for someone special.

Taking the radio into the garden conjured the idea of music 'dancing on the petals of flowers'. I love that.

I also love a well-stocked and organised craft room. Those threads in a rainbow of colours make me want to get my own sewing box out...

I've designed a new blog banner for 2016 too. It makes me happy because I love the pastel colours - mint, lilac and lemon reminiscent of spring-time and summer and flowers and leaves. Oh leaves!

Be kind, be grateful, be happy.

Join the fun at Get Messy.