In my Secret Gardener's Journal I created a series of dreamscapes such as this one depicting a tea party with the birds. This book was published by Somerset Studio March / April 2003 in the With One Palette section. (Acrylic paint media, collage and encaustic.)
Reliquaries of Forgotten Dreams is a class that I teach on conceptual travel journaling. Last summer (2004) I visited the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston. I read that there would be beautiful gardens, but was otherwise completely unprepared for the sights I was about to behold. Entering the Museum was like taking a trip to another time and place . . . Venice, Italy during the time that Henry James lived and wrote there. I loved that Isabella Stewart Gardener was able to recreate the look and feel of a Venetian Palazzo and decided that in my class I would take my students on a conceptual journey that would capture the sights and sounds of Venice during the Belle Epoque. It was this imaginary journey, as well as the one I wrote about in Rose's Journal (below), that inspired my 2004 collection of rubber stamps, La Belle Epoque and ultimately led me on a real three-week "Grand Tour" in 2005.
"We are but birds of passage and must build our nests out of what materials we can find." ~ Lady Wilson 1889 Working with a found book, I partitioned the pages into alphabetical niches, essentially creating a vessel (or nest) within which to store ephemeral treasures. I collect old alphabets, such as those found in children's books and Victorian scrap, as well as bird ephemera. The Delicate Nest is a place to store these treasures and others. It is a place to tuck found feathers, scraps of paper and thread, quotes, snippets of poetry, love letters, and other personal treasures.
This hand-sewn, collaged and painted journal was created in May of 2001 and circulated the United States as part of the late Linn Jacob's journal collaborative. Each of us created a journal to be passed through the group (Linn Jacobs, Beth Black, Cynthia Mooney, Sunni Maissen. Brigit Pitcairn, Michelle Wipplinger and myself), each adding something to the collective voice until the journals were complete.
Rose is my paternal grandmother. She immigrated here to the United States from Italy when my father was a little boy. She was blind. I didn't know her well because she died when I was quite young. In hindsight I realized that she must have led a very lonely and isolated life. In Rose's journal I was able to give her the life she never had. This journal is a little like my conceptual travel journal in that I took her back to another time and place and created a fantasy life for her. I also created a beautiful suitcase to accompany her on her journey.