Saturday, January 17, 2015

my truest body of work

the three journals I'm going through right now.  2002, 2009 and 1992 on the bottom
The main thing I do in my journals is converse with my current work.  Each piece takes months.
I sketch out what the piece looks like right now, and what it might look like.

I also sum up yesterday with an analysis or description of an event or conversation.  Sometimes I jot down my first thoughts on waking.
I think it is through our daily life that we can find answers to those big questions.
What is it like to be alive today?
What and who do I love?   What do I fear?
How does it feel?
In 1992 I made romantic collages, clipped my horoscope, was reading Pablo Neruda.  I was 41.
My work is thoughtful.  Everything means something.
I don't know exactly what a piece will look like when I start it because the work evolves over time. My journal helps me with that process.  I also use my journals to take notes on things I read because if they are written down I can re-visit those ideas or words and consider them in relation to my ongoing work.
These are just the most recent hundred or so.  
This year I'm going through my years of journals and then wrapping them shut with fabric and thread. I'm enjoying doing this more than I can say in words.   Both the re-reading and the shutting up.

Our inner selves are never really known.  Not even to ourselves.  I'm starting to accept that.


  1. Hi Judy,
    I visit here regularly, but don't often comment - shyness extends to the digital world! Thank you for sharing so much of your work and the things that contribute to the creative process for you. It is an education to someone who has flitted around the edges of creativity for most of her life, but never really understood how it all happens. Probably a legacy from a mother whose eternal question was "what is it for?" and for whom the rule was always that the current thing, whatever that was, MUST be finished before something new is begun. Much as I loved her, it was all rather stifling!!

  2. you are so brave Judy!

  3. Oh to have such an amazing body of work ... and even as I wonder how you can wrap your journals closed, I understand, having recently started to read letters written to my parents many years ago. And so I'm inspired to consider what to do with those I hope never to read again ... likewise, how to share those that make my heart sing.

    Thank you for sharing this

  4. Thanks for sharing this process. I also have many journals. Wondering what is the next stage for them and myself. Reopening some of those doors to my past self is a scary thought but my curiosity is stronger. I love the idea of sewing them up after mining all that is worth while to the works at hand

  5. Have you thought about scanning pages that relate to works that have gone on to be exhibited? A retrospective catalog in the works.

  6. happy new year judy.
    sharing a thought from our friend emily dickinson about collecting and recollecting:

    IF recollecting were forgetting,
    Then I remember not;
    And if forgetting, recollecting,
    How near I had forgot!
    And if to miss were merry,
    And if to mourn were gay,
    How very blithe the fingers
    That gathered these to-day!

    May you go blithely through yesterday until today.

  7. Deb, I have not scanned any pages, but I have transcribed into my lap top. I know it sounds obsessive - but yes, I am keeping the personal story and I am noting what work I am working on at the time of that story.

    I'm also tearing out a few of the sketches - not all. I'm not transcribing all the reading and the re-writing of artist statements and grocery lists and diets - but the personal dialog between me and my kids and my struggle as a mother-artist - yes I am keeping that together. I'm putting it in order and in context.

    Then I don't mind shutting those books up.

  8. Wow! I have so much admiration for anyone who can keep a journal going, and going, and going. No wonder you are able to do such deep and resonant work.

  9. That bookcase reminds me of your mile long weaving work--laid out they would be stepping stones on a long path. And the notion of sewing them shut just clinches it! What enterprise.

  10. I would just love to see a photo of the wrapped up journals. If I could make myself write a journal, I think I might wrap it up when it was full. Maybe with that thought in mind I can start writing because part of the reason I don't write in one is I don't ever want to see it again.

  11. I will be showing photos of them once I have at least a dozen to show.

    I am thinking about how the wrapped up journals could be part of an exhibition. I like your idea about them being stepping stones on a long path, Michelle, but I also like the idea of them being placed wrapped in a book shelf, or maybe stacked, or maybe bundled up in piles of 10....

    shall see
    thanks for all these lovely responses.

  12. Thank you for this, my thought filled friend. Very timely for me.

  13. The dickinson poem, touching… oh my, what treasure their lies in your journals.

  14. One of the many things that intrigues me about all of this is your choice to go through the years out of chronological order. Mmmm...

  15. you are so organized, you put me to shame.

  16. This is how I feel about my journals as well. When mine were destroyed in a flood a few years ago I was devastated. My life, my process, my becoming mother- artist-woman

  17. oops, on my phone and my comment didn't finish.
    My life, my process, my becoming mother- artist-woman became blurred stains on wrinkled paper. All traces gone. I still haven't quite processed the loss of my journals.
    I love how you are sewing your journals up. So powerful. thank you for sharing.

  18. is this ending or beginning? or just process? i read this and i say why do it? then i say, equally with conviction, why not do it? i have no answers, the whole thing is yours alone. and you know what you are doing.
    but you HAVE made me think! and that's a good thing.

  19. I will keep this article as a guide, Judy. I know that I have to write my thoughts about the process of my works in a journal, but never find the way. I am not used to put it in words nowadays. I think I will find inspiration if I re-read your words in this post from time to time.

  20. I love that idea of sealing up all your jounals--time capsules of your creative journey.


Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx