Wednesday, December 07, 2016

more beautiful blocks of time

 I wrapped eight more journals this morning.
That makes 37 so far.
Only 163 or so left to go.
Wondering if I like them multi-coloured like this, or if I should paint them white (after wrapping them)
They are true diaries in that I write every day.
First thing in the morning,
I begin a new page with the date at the top, and then I write whatever is at the top of my mind.
The best ideas are right there when I wake up.
Problems I've solved in my sleep.  Answers to questions.
New decisions that seem urgent.
Journaling is a daily art practice.

When I wrap the journals up like this, they lose the personal moments and become more about time itself.  The exterior textile wrap twists around the book and mimics my rapidly changing mind. Somehow, when the emotion of the interior is represented this way with fabric on the exterior, the book transforms into a textile covered block of time.

If you are interested, the history of this project can be seen first here, and then here.

To what do our lives cling?
Our lives cling to their narrative.        
Helene Cixous


  1. the intimate treasures of a lifetime

  2. That I probably will burn some day.

  3. they are like presents. I am so much in this thought, the time spent as the art itself, not the thing. Very beautiful , all of this.

  4. I think the different wrappings give them each a personal, individual look, and give them more of you, because of why you chose that particular fabric to wrap each one. Libraries are all so beautiful.


  5. I was going to say something similar to, Jude, I think they look like presents, and honestly they are.

  6. I find I am mesmerised by this wonderful journal wrapping of yours! A beautiful undertaking and the reading must bring memories to the surface again, the finished, wrapped journals are truly works of art.

  7. It's early morning and I'm reading this and filled with admiration for your commitment to writing daily and the journey of it all. I wrote spasmodically, sometimes for a few days, sometimes not at all, sometimes in one book, sometimes in others. I love your focus on the project even though your mind maybe be like mine acting as a butterfly in your writing, flitting from one thing to another.
    How about trying the books in colour blocks and seeing if that is more appealing.
    I have bookcases where I have taken the dustcover off the books and I having them on the shelves in order of colour. I love the effect.
    Thank you for showing us this inspiring blog post

  8. It's a beautiful image of time, time enjoyed, time well spent. I like the different fabrics for wrapping. It's another layer of personal thought.

  9. I too have such journals, begun in earnest in January 1992, the year I was turning 40. That means I have done this writing almost every day for soon to be 25 years. I have a box full and then some. None wrapped. I don't go back to them, though I've kept one or two in my studio for a while because of a sketch I'd made that I want(ed) to use. Or a poem. Mostly, though, left for my children to know me better -- or not.

  10. If you do burn them sure your fire is good and hot...they'll burn like bricks, and resist destruction. It makes me smile how you are considering your journals and I'm wondering how your daughters feel about your project... this is such an interesting time in our lives...both wanting to feel lighter and the same time considering legacy

  11. Judy, I am reading a book called "When Women Were Birds." I have been reading it for some time because I come upon a paragraph or even a sentence that stops me in my tracks and I have to ruminate on it. In the very first section of the book, Terry Tempest Williams tells a poignant story of her mother, dying at age 54, informing Terry that she is bequeathing her journals to her, but she must promise not to read them until she is gone. Terry promises. Here is what she writes after her mother dies: "On the next full moon I found myself alone in the family home. I kept expecting Mother to appear. Her absence became her presence. It was the right time to read her journals. They were exactly where she said they would be: three shelves of beautiful clothbound books, some floral, some paisley, others in solid colors. The spines of each were perfectly aligned against the lip of the shelves. I opened the first journal. It was empty. I opened the second journal. It was empty. I opened the third. It, too, was empty, as was the fourth, the fifth, the sixth--shelf after shelf after shelf, all my mother's journals were blank."

    Your journals are full--gloriously full I am guessing--and it is, of course, your decision, and only yours, as to what should be done with them. But whatever you decide, you have created a thing of beauty in each of them. This wrapping you are doing brings to mind preparing a body after death, by wrapping it, lovingly, in lengths of cloth. Painting the wrappings white alludes to a shroud, especially, in
    my mind. The life of these journals depends on how much you decide you want to share of yourself.

  12. over the rainbow--it sounds like you have experience in trying to burn journals. I am intrigued.

  13. about this work...there's something here compelling and so 'your very own'. i'm glad you keep letting us see where you go with it.

  14. Thank you for positive feedback and also for the advice and opinions about the multi-coloured fabrics.

    I want to reply to Carol Wiebe's comment about that mother's blank journals. My heart stopped when I read that they were blank inside.
    My mother's would have been blank inside too I think.

    As far as thinking that my daughters would love to read these when I've passed - I think that there are just too many of them and that the kids will not know what to do - and probably will end up storing them for a while and then dump them.

    At least when I do this wrapping of my life's work, I am honoring it within my own lifetime - something not too many women artists have happen to their life's work.

    p.s. When I re-read them, I am keeping the multiple family stories I come across in chronological order in my lap top. Someday to be made something of - not to know just now.

    thanks again for all support

  15. a couple of years ago i began something a little similar...not wrapped and tied but wrapped and somewhat maniacally stitched. quite therapeutic and better than simply setting fire to my self-indulgent pages of embarrassment from which, quite frankly, very few words seemed worth retrieving. but i have only finished one thus far. it's waiting for something to happen to it next but hasn't told me yet
    ...time to start wading my way through another one, maybe.

  16. I think they look like elements of a quilt in their colours. Maybe painting them white would make them more sculptural. But I like the individuality of each piece, similar to an old quilt where one can point to an individual piece and say "That was my favourite dress when I was eight" or "That was my dad's shirt".
    I admire your practise.

  17. 35 or almost 40 years of almost daily adding the date in the right hand corner and writing...blah blah blah or other. At the end of the year, I go through the journals and pull out poems and such and burn, shred or do away with the rest. I can't tell if it is a good thing or not but it is part of most of my mornings...I've always known I wasn't alone in this...may we all write on!

  18. carol - I have put that book When Women Were Birds in my cart. Thank you for that title.

  19. Burn them only partially, or bury them underground to be discovered by a later generation. Instruct your grandchildren or great grandchildren make art with them fifty years after you die.
    If your journals are anything like your blog, total strangers will enjoy them.


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