Creative project – Maria on how letter journals are improving my life

“It’s been a couple of months in this letter-journal adventure. It’s been a couple of journals too, I’ve lost count.

I met Jade in 2014, in the coaching training we attended together. I remember hearing her stories about letter journals, watching her videos and getting envious and interested to start with. Then joining the group and being in awe or in other words thinking “Oooohh!”. Then I thought: I can do that too! And joined my first swap.

It was quite a journey to start the first journal. I thought I had no materials and had to fight the little devil on my shoulders back, telling myself things like “what I do is also art” and “it doesn’t have to be perfect, just fun” or “they will make something out of this”. I happily discovered that as a mother of a 4 year old I do have a lot of material and driven by it I was able to finish my first Letter Journal. I shyly shared some photos with the FB group and was almost overwhelmed by the lovely feedback I got. Such appreciation of my efforts and results! I immediately felt like this was (and is) a place where I can dare to experiment and go beyond my limits. And thrive.

You must know that art, painting in particular, plays a huge role in my life. I grew up surrounded by art and I love it. Unfortunately, for some reason, for many years I didn’t dare to express my creativity myself or I even didn’t know that it was important to me.

Weeks later: after having some letter journals go through my hands and watching innumerable really beautiful and expressive examples through the pictures in the group I started getting curious. How do they do it?

So I went to youtube and typed “mixed media art for beginners”. A couple of videos later I was much smarter and went off to find some materials. I created my own stencils and I bought some others. I bought watercolors… tried them out. Watched youtube videos about that too. I made stamps with potatoes. Then I asked friends who recommended acrylic paint… I am starting to play around with that. Childhood memories awaken from the names of the colors: Burned Sienna, Ultramarine Blue. My hands get dirty. 🙂

So I have now a new playground with a beautiful mixture of concentrated solitude and of social interaction. I am surrounded by colour and patterns. I am back to getting and sending interesting, exciting “snail mail”. I am in a journey of discovery, aesthetics and appreciation. I collect beautiful things in my trips as well as in everyday life, and look at publicity flyers with other eyes today. Everywhere there is potential for art making.

There is an added aspect I hadn’t expected and that I enjoy even more than all the rest: it has to do my son. He is a very sensitive boy with a strong sense for aesthetics. Since he sees me painting and doing collage he has started to do it too. He used to paint and draw but only sporadically when I reminded him. Now he asks for it. We work or I’d rather call it play together side by side, experimenting with materials, me on my own side-projects and he doing his art or adding to letter journals together. We even make little joint projects and he wants to “make a book” too. He used to hesitate when painting, he asked me if he was doing it right or wanted me to paint for him because “I can’t, mummy”. I wasn’t sure how to go about that. How to get his fear away without making him dependent on my opinion. It seems that sharing a table full of paints, bits of paper, washi tape, etc. is the right way to go for both of us.

Thank you so much for giving me a way to explore the artistic side of me that absolutely fits me!! :)”

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