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...

Hot Air Balloon: Up, up & away - Get Messy Wk6

To Live Is The Rarest Thing In The World. Most People Exist, That Is All." Oscar Wilde

Profound words to ignite the spirit.

I've always been a dreamer and I feel the spirit of adventure calling me, leading me, nipping at the confines of my comfort; my mind searching, churning, sieving, relentless.

This week's Get Messy Art Journal prompts, and the current state of my home - freshly plastered, disrupted, chaotic, paint-splattered and with bare floorboards in many places - has had me fantasising about 'lift off' and being carried 'up, up and away' to a place far from the mess. A place more gentle, serene, dreamy and inspiring. Still an adventure, but with less cortisol adrenaline.

Today's page didn't require any mess, which is good for two reasons:

1) I'm up to my ears in DIY

2) All my arty materials are temporarily packed away (in a neat twist of fate, it is my creative space that is being decorated.)

It features digitally overlaid text on a photograph of a painting I commissioned by a local artist (Neil Slorance), as a gift for my husband on our first wedding anniversary.

Up, Up & Away Hot Air Balloon

The story behind it is of the two of us together, hand-in-hand, conquering the world, seeing and discovering things for the first time: travelling, living, experiencing the vast galaxy of life, in our own personal hot air balloon.

I've not been noticing it so much lately - the painting - so I think I'll move it to a place where I'll see it better, again, like the first time. But I still remember the message:

I want to travel the world with you, see the stars, and the galaxies afar. Shimmer like gold dust and diamonds from horizons yet undiscovered. Laugh and sing and dance like lovers. Because to live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist. But we are all made of stars.”

I said all my arty things were packed away, which is true. But while I was moving a wardrobe to paint a wall, I discovered a cache of discarded dry-cleaning tickets and clothes tags which I found to be artful and inspiring:

Up, Up & Away Dry Cleaning Tickets

It was the inspiration I needed to imagine an art journal page with branches of numbers connecting to adventures and experiences, and the people who were part of them. Like a mini travel journal entry utilising the materials you have available.

I thought it also played on the sense of 'your numbers have come up!', like on the lottery, or perhaps achieving a dream. And I like that idea:

A lucky break. A chance encounter. An opportunity. All of which lead to adventures - physically or of the mind or both.

Like having wanderlust or writing a bucket list and jumping right in.

One problem: before I could create my show-stopping improv page, the room where I left these tickets was quickly taken over by a large bookcase, a sofa bed, two huge suitcases and the doorway blocked by a hefty glass-fronted cabinet.

I experienced this particular adventure with my inside eyes, as you will have to do for now. I will endeavour to create it once order has been restored.

Second adventure-related problem: I don't travel light. I've tried but I can't (and I've read all the blogs about 'packing minimal'...)

And I'm very attached to the idea of 'home' and the sense of a dwelling place being more than just shelter and a place to cook food.

I'm not materialistic in that I 'must have' lots of designer things, but due to a lot of moving house as a child, and a few other life-happenings, the possessions that I own are important to me and I struggle to discard anything that has sentimental meaning.

I've never seen the film 'Up', but I know that it features a house attached to a load of (helium?) balloons.

How amazing - to be able to travel the world like in a hot air balloon, but still be at home, or at least, in your own house.

Wouldn't that be an adventure? I'd like a ticket to the stars please. For two.

Meanwhile, see what the other Get Messy creatives have been up to this week.