Monday, February 27, 2006

Paper Chain Journal

“The Gratitude Garland, Exploring Blessings Link by Link,” by Marney K. Makridakis, in the Somerset Studio, Nov/Dec 2005 issue, has been a creative inspiration to me using a simple childhood art form to express my thoughts.

I tried journaling once after reading “Simple Abundance,” by Sarah Ban Breathnach, but something always got in the way of finding a few minutes to write. I had an extra errand to run, I had other priorities, or to tell the truth I was just plain too tired at the end of the day to want to write, and I lost interest.

I write poetry and an occasional article for our local chapter of the Harley Owners Group but that is the extent of my writing; however, the thoughts and ideas in my head never stop.

Art has become a more important part of my life since a car accident in 1999.  The right side of my brain seems to be in control.  Of course when I print a number backwards now days I just say I meant to do it, and it looks right in an altered art spread or art piece.

When I read the article on using paper chains as journaling, I immediately knew this was something I wanted to do.  Now I had a way to express how I felt when inspired by a special person, event, or place.  I have the freedom to use my art and the freedom that there are no blank pages to remind me if I forgot to make an entry or was too tired.

I recently spent a morning with the girls from the local GRADS teen parent program working on fun techniques that can be used in their scrapbooks for their babies.  We worked on folded paper frames, mini matchbook scrapbooks and I saved the best for last.  I cut all the strips for the paper chains, found old magazines, and brought my paper chain journal I had started to show the girls.  

The girls loved this new idea and their teacher told them when they completed 30 days worth of journaling on their chains she would give them an art credit.  I left extra materials for the girls.  We talked about ways to display their chains and the one they liked the best was to drape it around the ceiling.  It was fun watching their excitement as they cut out magazine images and words, played with layouts, and finally started gluing their first link.

I received a small card from one of the girls that day and it became the basis of my paper link for the day. I also like to write a date on the inside of my paper chain to remember the day.

My goal is wrap the ceiling in my art studio with my paper chain memories. Once, twice, maybe three times around, and someday my kids can count the links, wonder what I was thinking when I made this one or that one.  I hope they laugh when they find themselves on a little paper links.

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