Follow your nectar

Arriving 

It was a dark morning and the roads were bare. Snaking through the backstreets to go way out west the sky was starting to glow in strips between the streets empty of people and cars.

At the boom gates the shock of traffic told me that I’d arrived. The Sydney Flower Markets! A long held dream of mine, which due to a chance meeting with a fellow flower lover at a workshop on the weekend, was finally happening.

A non-priority that felt like a priority

Sure, it could be said that flowers weren’t a priority compared to my pre-Christmas to do list. That lethargy was pulling me towards holidays while my tasks nagged at me to stay in the here and now. But here I was. Stepping sideways, into an alternate universe. A universe of indulgence and leisure for me, and hard work and early starts for others.

First impressions

Forklifts circling, backwards, forwards, choreographed in a Summer morning markets dance. People in high vis vests striding, arms empty to the shed, arms full on the way back out. Quickly. Quickly before the colours you need go. Quickly before the sun rises higher and heats vans and wilts fragile petals. Quickly before the dreaded public arrive and slow things down at every counter and every walkway.

And here I was, beaming in my alternate universe, enjoying a quick coffee and soaking up the atmosphere before launching into the fray. Feeling like part of something old.

Sensory overload

Once inside my guide swung me up and down aisles, arms pointing, quick descriptions of people and flower farms, and imports, and species names, jumbled and mixed as we walked swiftly, her words like a tumbled bunch of flowers themselves.

The stall with buckets and buckets of flowering gums, Christmas Bush, stout yellow banksia. People walking through with just one gnarled perfect woody stalk ready to add to an arrangement.

The stalls that go down half a length of the market, a one stop shop, all the popular flowers, with a special emphasis of reds and greens this festive season. The stallholder a king sat low behind a vast counter top. Peonies, roses, November lilies, Lisianthus, assorted greenery spread out before him.

The tiny one-man show, with a single type of bloom that he grows, picks and transports and now sits behind, smiling. He has carefully arranged snapdragons and gerberas.

The vast stall with a sea of dahlias that leaves me overwhelmed and feeling giddy.

The plump, short bunches of waterlillies that have me feeling longing and wistful and wondering how they will handle the trip home out of water.

The boxes and boxes of imported roses, causing a stir, causing eyebrows to raise amongst those stallholders who proudly proclaim ‘locally grown’ on large hand written signs.

And amongst the blooms are trolleys being wheeled and me getting in the way, and slightly bawdy staff banter, and brides to be with armfuls, and florists with carefully chosen colours.

So many, so much. I drink in my fill, I drown in flowers and possibilities.

What I leave with

Two hours later I leave with an odd assortment of tall and short bunches, deep red, rust orange, buttercup yellow and white. I have three spools of ribbon which are almost 100m long combined. Maybe a plant pot or two. I have new sharp flower snippers which I never knew I needed. I have beads of sweat now rolling down the centre of my back. I have a whole heap less money then when I went in. I have an awkward gait of someone who didn’t quite think through how to carry all these.

Most importantly I have that kind of sweet sticky golden joy that glides down your core like honey along the inside of a glass.

It makes me wonder about why we wait so long to do the things we most want to do. As I leave I notice how the end of the year feels more glorious, beautiful and abundant than it did yesterday. This simple early morning visit to a place open all year round, less than an hour from home, makes me feel like I have stepped through into a new version of myself. Stepped back into the here and now energized, refreshed, and full of possibilities. This reminds me of the Artists Dates that Julia Cameron prescribes, and I realize I’ve been a bit lacking in these lately.

Why don’t we do what we really enjoy more often?

It humbles me as a coach to be reminded of how powerful it feels to do what we really love, and how complex the inner barriers can be to doing just this. It reminds me that I am just as susceptible to resistance and fear as my clients.

As an artist and someone who facilitates creative space for others I can feel how I am filled up and inspired with this experience of the wild abundance of beauty in so many different forms. It reminds me loudly that self-care can be about relaxation and rest but also about inspiration and the uplift of excitement blowing gently into our sails.

I know that time of year can be exhausting. We are often juggling family responsibilities, Christmas parties, work deadlines, and feeling our energy flag from a busy year. It can feel like we are limping to the finish line. At my visit to the flower markets I am reminded that connecting with what fascinates and inspires us is always worth the time.

(Image is one of mine)

More than happy

There’s a lot of talk about happy.

Discussions about positive psychology are often connected with this word, Gillian Rubenstein discusses it in her book (well as she might, given the book is called ‘The Happiness Project’). And there’s a lot of hearty debate amongst researchers about how to define it.

I don’t like it.

It feels like a lazy word for me, a word that bundles up lots of states and tries to put them under one big marquee with its own banner at the entrance.

I rarely feel like ‘happy’ is a useful descriptor when I’m navigating my own life.

I notice that times I feel ebullient and optimistic, light like a balloon, and full of possibility.

Soemtimes I feel excited about an event or a yearning or looking forward to.

Sometimes I feel particularly rested and well nourished and I notice how grounded, gracious and settled I feel in this state.

Sometimes I feel poetic sweetness around me, and notice tiny flecks of beauty scattered about.

In relationships I sometimes feel aware of how warm, appreciative, connected and content I feel.

Sormtimes I feel playful and creative impulse, humour and movement all flow through me, and I laugh more readily, ape around and make jokes.

Sometimes I feel relieved, when something hard is done with, or stress waters subside after a big downpour of challenges.

Sometimes I feel tender, like sad and moved and sweet all at once.

Sometimes I feel held and seen and safe, so that even feeling ‘bad’ feelings feels OK.

Sometimes I get satisfaction from having done something, I get a thrill of adventure, sometimes a sense of satisfaction or a glow of a value being enacted.

So, it’s not that I don’t like being happy, feeling happy, or using the word happy but just that there is so much more nuance to feeling good, feeling well.

In art therapy we use metaphor and imagery to explore and express how we feel. It’s not always black and white – we see mirrored back in our images that we can be experiencing a mix of feelings at any given time. We might also look to our bodies for tension or sensations, and use this to help us sense into how we feel emotionally about an issue.

What does happy and its many friends feel like to you?

Creative Project – Talking with Aija about The Happiness Jar App

Welcome to the Creative Project! This is the fourth interview in a series I’m doing with people who are working on a creative passion project in their lives. By ‘creative project’ I don’t mean just things related to the arts – but anything that is about bringing something fresh into the world, creating something that wasn’t there before and drawing on your own creative energy to make it happen.

What is the difference between people who get behind their ideas and make them happen and those who are swimming in ideas but never get moving on them? How are people making time for their creative projects and weaving them into their lives?

What can we learn from others who have backed their ideas with action?

I want you dear reader to be able to glean any gems from their experience that might help you with your own creative projects. I’ll even share stories about a couple of my own creative projects, and some of the learning I’ve done myself along the way. So let’s get started!


In 2016 Aija Bruvere created a free mobile App The Happiness Jar based on the principles of Positive Psychology. I stumbled across the app late 2016 when it was just launched and being shared by a colleague of hers in a business group that I’m in on Facebook. I thought it was a great tool and wondered more about how and why she thought to make it. Here Aija describes the creative process, the importance of trusting your instincts, and the next steps and vision for her project.

What is the happiness jar app? Can you explain it for someone who’s maybe not familiar with the concept of a happiness jar or how apps work? 

The Happiness Jar is a very simple tool (an app) on the mobile phone to allow anyone to notice, capture, sort and store happy moments. Instead of having a physical container, box or jar where you could put notes about your happy memories (which is also a great idea!) The Happiness Jar mobile app would always be within easy reach, right there on your phone. Keeping track of happiness becomes really easy, you can take new happiness snapshots or go through existing memories adding the special ones to your happiness collection. It is like visual gratitude journal (plus you can add written descriptions of happy moments too). The Happiness Jar is for your eyes only it is your personal treasure chest that does not get shared on social media or anywhere else.

You get to store all the happy photos or notes and you are also sorting them and creating your personal happiness timeline and profile. So after a while it becomes clear if more often happiness for you is about for example Positive emotion or maybe Enjoyable activities Relationships or perhaps Achievement or sense of meaning and Purpose.

What inspired you to start this project? What was your vision for how it might help people or bring benefit to the world?

I remember really clearly when the inspiration came – it was after reading Elizabeths Gilbert’s extremely popular post January last year about keeping a physical Happiness Jar where you would have to put a note in with at least one happy memory every day. At the end of the year you have 365 colorful and beautiful memories to look back at. And then I thought ‘but what about people who travel a lot or don’t have space or time for a physical jar – there surely must be a digital happiness jar?’ But it did not exist! So I decided I needed to create it.

This idea of happiness pathways is taken from a famous theory in Positive Psychology by Martin Seligman, but with this app it is your actual memories and experiences make your classification and the jar very personal.

I believe it is very important to appreciate little daily moments of happiness because that is how happiness and wellbeing is created long term. My vision still is that The Happiness Jar makes the world a happier place one memory at a time, it lets us store and recall small happy moments and ensures that happiness is something of here and now not something forever in the future.

How did this project fit in or relate to the work you already do?

It is very much in line with the work I do. I am a Positive Psychology coach, a Happiness coach. I work one on one to improve wellbeing and happiness as well as give workshops and seminars on Science of Happiness for companies, I teach a Happiness project course at a Business school and I also lecture on Happiness on cruise ships. So The Happiness Jar app is another more practical application of ideas I love to spread and promote.

Do you have a technical background? Had you worked on any app development projects before? Did you feel daunted by the technology aspect?

I do not have a technical background and I have never worked on an app development project before. However this project actually flowed with ease and grace. I feel the key is to create a team of likeminded people who also just love the idea and then create clarity of what is the minimum we have to do for this to be a success.

Who (if anyone) did you team up with to make your project come to life?

We had a very small team of 3 people: Me Aija Bruvere as the creator, author of idea, leader and then the team leader-programmer for technical execution and development Edgards Zvirgzds as well as a designer Liva Asmane for creating the visual aspect of it.

I think the right people attract when the idea is clear and the world is ready for the idea, I had never worked with that programmer or designer before but it was clear the connection and team vision was formed around The Happiness Jar idea specifically.

What did you learn about your own creative process along the way?

That at first there is this one very clear idea and the conviction I have to do this, then there is the expansive stage of more ideas associated with it and how to make it even more impressive and great. So there is this huge influx of related and unrelated ideas at one point. And then I had to ground it, to narrow it down to the minimum simple clear idea again to make it happen within the short timeframe. Team work and discussions are helpful in the creative process.

What stage are you up to now and what will come next?

We have just released the app and done initial push for promoting it mainly through our own networks and on Facebook. So we are still at the launch stage. The focus right now really is the promotion (getting people to know about it but with no budget for promotion) and also on building the version for Android phones which proved more difficult and time consuming than we though. From idea to reality, getting to this stage, took about one year.

My vision for the project is that the The Happiness Jar app will have a second stage that requires building a platform. Luckily we were able to create the app on a shoestring budget, investing a lot of personal time and enthusiasm but to go forward we would need an actual investor who believes in the project to take it to the next stage. So I guess the next stage is not so much about the creativity it is about creating a new business model.

What has been the response so far? How do you feel about the app?

The response from the right target market is very positive – people really say they love the idea and that they love how simple it is. It feels good to have created it in just one year from inception of the idea and in just 4 month from really getting the team together and creating a plan of how we are going to do this. While we have the vision for further expansion and that would require investment, the response from potential investors however has been much more reserved. But I guess our task now is to build up number of users to the point that investors are convinced people love this and it is worthwhile.

How do you feel about yourself as a creative person after making the app?

Manifestation of a creative idea does have a certain sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. There is for sure an aspect of Happiness in it that is associated with Meaning and achievement. I guess the creation of The Happiness Jar can go into The Happiness Jar as something very positive that has happened for me in 2016! (laughs).

What tips or suggestions do you have for someone else with an idea who wants to make it happen?

Ideas that take you out of your comfort zone have a huge creative potential.

It is paramount to find the right people who can help make the idea into reality.

Trust that inspiration and idea that comes to us also comes with certain responsibility and we have to be grateful that it has come and can also make the world a better place by helping it manifest.

—-

About the interviewee:

aija-profile-picAija Bruvere is a coaching psychologist and business consultant currently living and working in Sydney, Australia. Besides having a degree in Economics and Business Adminstration as well as Masters degree in Social sciences Aija has obtained her Graduate Diploma in Coaching Psychology from University of Sydney, with particular focus on applied Positive Psychology. Aija Bruvere is passionate about sharing scientific research and making it applicable. Aija is the owner and founder of ABM Consulting, a firm specializing in executive coaching, workshops and seminars. Since 2008 Aija Bruvere has prepared and facilitated series of personal development seminars and workshops that focus on leadership, goal attainment, transformation, success and happiness. In 2015 and 2016 Aija has run seminars and retreats in Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore and Latvia.

More about Aija Bruvere: http://aijabruvere.com

More about the free mobile app The Happiness Jar: http://thehappinessjar.com

About the interviewer:

JadephotoJade Herriman is a Sydney-based transpersonal art therapist, Barbara Sher coach and facilitator. She works with clients to help bring more creativity into their lives, plan for their professional development, manage big life change and go after their dreams. She works with groups, individuals and online to deliver workshops and help support people work towards their dreams. She brings a playful, flexible and creative approach to serious issues, and draws on many years of experience working in organisations in project management, policy and research roles to bring practical solutions to her clients. To work together one on one or find out more about future workshops contact her HERE.

 

 

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!! :)”

Workshops for Women

Are you experiencing New Year’s slump? The holidays are almost over and you’ve hardly had time for yourself? Maybe you were hoping to feel recharged but you’re having a hard time letting go of the year that was. Perhaps there are still parts of you that still need attention but you want to do it in a way that’s fun, creative and nurturing.

Is ‘get more creative’ or ‘finally express myself creatively’ on your list of goals and aspirations for 2017? Still wondering how exactly you’ll bring that about?

I would love to invite you to join my wellbeing group I’ve created just for women.
Join me online on a 5 week journey with 5 women using art therapy methods to reflect, recharge and restore your faith in your own creative mojo.

  • We will step out of the competitive, other-focused, gold star seeking approach to art and reconnect with the creativity that is your birthright, reminding you that it can be your friend, your comfort and your joy.
  • We will practice making expressive art with personal symbols from our deepest selves, that we look at with curiosity and respect.
  • We will practice sharing with open hearts and helping our inner critic feel more safe so it can stop warning us away from creative expression.
  • We will take the tiniest steps and then large leaps – at a pace that feels very comfortable.

You don’t have to be anything other than exactly who you are to benefit from this group. You are brave enough, creative enough and if you can use Skype and Facebook you are tech savvy enough for this group.
If this is calling to to you trust that call.
We start next week – Tuesday 21st Feb at 1.00- 2.30 AEDT (Sydney time). The group will run for 5 consecutive weeks.
You get 5 (90 minute) live sessions with me in a small group setting, along with online group support between sessions. There will be handouts and resources as well as a special gift – yes by snail mail- at the end of the group.
Register and more details:
https://jadeherriman.com/w…/womens-creative-wellbeing-group/

Participants will receive:

  • An art supply list (online) or actual art materials (face to face)
  • Live facilitated process done with a small group of other women
  • Meditations
  • Prompts for journaling
  • Unique creative art process you can use anytime
  • Guidance on how to use art making as a tool for your well-being and healing.

For more info and how to register for the LIVE ONLINE group (suitable for Australian and New zealand participants only due to time zones), please click here https://jadeherriman.com/w…/womens-creative-wellbeing-group/
For more info and how to register for the IN PERSON group here in the Inner West of Sydney, please click here
https://jadeherriman.com/workshops/womens-wellbeing-group/

Reader question: How to tackle questions about your art from friends and family

I always get these kind of questions from friends and family: “What do you want to do art for if you aren’t an artist?” and the ubiquitous trio, “What good is that? How can you make money with that? Can you sell it?”. What should I tell them?

I hear you. If you are the black sheep of the family or others don’t enjoy making things like you do this might come up – especially in the holiday period if you lug a sketchbook with you to outdoor gatherings, or are busy taking up-close photos of Christmas lunch.  Well. I don’t know your friends and family so I cat be sure what will work to help them understand you better, but here are some answers I just made up – I hope they help!

“Some people knit or sew or birdwatch, I draw”

“Art is like having a hot bath – relaxes me and washes away the day.”

“Humans have been making art for thousands of years – long before there were galleries and agents. I’m continuing that tradition.”

“Who says I’m not an artist?”

“Art helps me feel good about life, and process my feelings and make sense of what happens in the world.”

“Would you ask why would you want to bake a cake if you’re not a full time pastry chef?”

“I think making art is part of staying healthy. It’s like the gym for my hands and brain. I’m just stretching my creativity muscles and staying fit on the inside.”

“Aw you know.. art makes me feel good, and doesn’t hurt anyone. There are plenty worse ways to spend my time.”

“You know how some people sing in the shower because it makes them feel good? That’s like me playing with clay – it just feels good, even if no one else sees it or I’m a bit off tune”

“I’m teaching myself some great new skills with acrylic right now – I love learning”

“Making art saves me money – I decorate my home AND entertain myself for the cost of just crayons.”

“I could make money from it by selling it or teaching it but right now I’m happy working in job at the (blah blah) and doing this just for love.”

” I prefer to make things as a hobby rather than just buy things. I think it’s better for the environment if I do less shopping and spend my time honing my skills instead.”

“I could sell it but I choose not to right now, I’m focusing on doing it for the joy of it.”

“How can you put a price on happiness? Some people would pay top dollar to have the kind of fun I have when I’m making art.”

“I love making things with my hands, it feels good. That’s good enough reason for me.”

Some of these answers are a bit cheeky, a bit provocative even, but I want to give you permission to gently question the questioners too if you have that kind of relationship.

You might even want to try having the conversation in your imagination through journaling. To do this, first write out the kind of comments you’re scared of hearing, then write out all the responses that you can think of, from angry, to cheeky, to witty, to reasonable, to heartfelt. Maybe even let your non dominant hand do the writing back and as you write feel the feelings that come up. Be angry, let tears flow. Keep writing until the emotions feel like they have passed through. Then go make yourself a cup of herbal tea or go for a walk and let the feeling of standing your ground and knowing your truth sink in.

You could also just try making a long mega list for yourself in your journal: ‘I love making art because’ or ‘I’m allowed to do what I love because…’.

The more open hearted joyful answers might be easier to give when you remember the pleasure that making brings you.

I also find that when we doubt ourselves it feels much harder to be questioned by others. When we feel sure in ourselves that what we do is ‘worthwhile’ / ‘allowed’ answering questions like this becomes much less threatening. So maybe practice saying and believing some of these answers yourself, as well as sharing them with others.

How do you answer this question? Share your ideas!

Mixed media meanderings – Winsome folk

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I have nothing much to say here except to share these little dudes with you. Black waterproof fine liner pen and creamy gouache paint, plus a little mixed flowers as headdresses. I quite like rough and wonky figures in my journals, kind of like they are emerging from the mess of the art materials. I also like chins in side profile, they seem so sweet and vulnerable somehow. I know that’s a bit odd, but there you have it.

7 Days of Flower Love Challenge!

OK so I seem to be sprouting challenges EVERYWHERE at the moment as if Southern Hemisphere spring energy has caught me and my business garden is sprouting new shoots.

Today is an invitation to join my FREE ‘7Days of Flower Love’ challenge.

What is the challenge?

  • Find a flower each day that you feel like taking a photo of
  • Take the photo (phone cameras are fine)
  • Share on the internet (our group or elsewhere) that same day, using the hashtag

I like to do these at the turn of the season as a great way to bring focus outwards to nature, and also to gently foster a sense of beauty and appreciation.

The last one was gorgeous!

So if you’d like to join we start on the 1st September (wherever you are in the world, just start on your 1st September) and we take and share one flower photo A DAY for a week. That’s it. Simple!

Where do you share? 

  • Share all over the inter webs using #7DOFL as the hashtag
  • (Optional) share in the dedicated face book group I’ve made for this challenge called ‘7 Days of Flower Love’ (just click the link or type this in your FB search)
  • If you do share in the group feel free to ALSO share on your own page. Your friends won’t see what you post in the group, only group members will.

What are the benefits?

And you might be wondering what is the point of all this. Are you? And I would answer: Oh so, so much. Joy. Generosity. Simple creativity. Engaging with nature. Connecting with other people. Learning about flowers. Brightening up your Facebook Feed. Helping you get outside for a walk. Helping you see beauty all around. It’s just generally good. And a week isn’t very long so you can totally do this even if you are busy.

IT STARTS ON THE 1ST SEPTEMBER! 

I will send some inspiration each day to the facebook group for those who want prompts for their looking and seeing, and their photographing. You can read those or just go right ahead and start sharing.

How to fudge the rules

Please DO find a flower to photograph each day of the challenge.

But in terms of what flower means…. If you can’t find a LIVE one feel free to take a photo of a bund of dried flowers, a fake flower, a statue, a seed head from a flower, a flower type shape in nature – be imaginative. But the idea is really to find real living breathing flowers and take their pic.

This isn’t a competition or especially for people skilled at photography, anyone can play along.

Join us!

Loving Letter Journals!

Well today I’d like to share with you a mixed media format that I absolutely love and am having a lot of fun with lately: Letter Journals.

WHAT IS A LETTER JOURNAL?

A letter journal is an envelope sized hand made journal (little paper booklet) that gets sent around a small group while people add art to it. While your journal is circulated by mail, the other members of your swap group circulate theirs and you work on theirs while they work on yours. That is, EVERYONE IN THE SWAP MAKES ONE and gets theirs back at the end. That’s it in a nutshell. Details on how it all works below!

HOW DOES IT WORK?

STEP 1: Find some people to play with

STEP 2: Make your journal

STEP 3: Start your journal (decorating backgrounds on several pages AND completing a spread on TWO DOUBLE PAGES plus signing those spreads with your name)

STEP 4: Post your journal

STEP 5: Receive journals from others in the group, work in them and post them back off

STEP 6: Share updates with your group along the way

The main thing is that the journal should fit into this standard letter sized envelope and that it should be posted.

You can hear me talking all about it (head cold and all) on my very first YouTube video over HERE.

What I love about letter journals is that:

  • it is a very flexible format, people can use whichever medium they prefer to make art inside the journal
  • there is real delight in receiving fun mail in the post
  • it’s the kind of art making that you can ‘set and forget’. What I mean is that once you’ve joined a swap and made and posted your first journal the others come to you automatically and you are given a regular prompt to make art if you have forgotten.
  • reduces the pressure – ‘after all’ you can tell your inner critic ‘its a collaborative effort and my piece is just one little piece in the whole’.
  • there is inspiration inside every journal – whether it’s a colour that you don’t often use that someone else has used to good effect or whether it’s a technique or subject matter that you find inspiring
  • it’s a great way to create more connection with people in your life around a common interest

For more details on how it all works and answers to some frequently asked questions see HERE. The details are pretty important to making swaps work well.