Tuesday, December 29, 2009

leaf book


it's very cold today, zero degrees with wind. a little bit of new snow blew around in the night. my toes are cold, and my head fuzzy from lack of sleep. even after the deep physical pleasure of yoga last evening, i did not sleep well. was it the wind, worries about money, or the full blue moon waxing? doesn't matter. 


i have long examined my own drawing, notes, journaling, for many reasons. i have gone on long-time hiatuses from journaling. and i teach journaling to my students. (i teach ELA in an alternative GED program for high school kids). i am following the journals of several artists online, and am very interested in how we record our stories, why we record them, and what it's all about. for now i just want to mention this, i intend to return to it from time to time. the little shifu books are all journals of a sort. they each record a story, and they all trace themselves back to one of my first books, a narrative printed and painted concertina book called no songs but crickets. i made it in 1995 and it was one of those "organic" things, it just happened. very few other books happen that way, but if you are ever on the receiving end of this kind of grace you know it. usually, it's just work. good or hard, but work. crickets was play instead. 

people who make visual journals for whatever reason fascinate me, or rather, the journals themselves, as objects, artifacts. why this is isn't important to me at this point. that it happens, is. these students of mine don't like to write. they have voices, stories, visions and dreams, but mostly as special education students their stories have been silenced or changed by some adult. and so i require them to write in their journals, and i teach them ways to make art in them, and they do. their journals become objects of importance to them, too. 


what IS it about a visual narrative? a story? 







13 comments:

iNdi@ said...

whatever it is, it IS and that's the important bit.

jude said...

it is the contuing context that gives things substance. that gives one the chance to communicate and the other to understand. i wish the journal had not become so commercialized. a lot of that stuff out there today is just sugar coated in some way.

Velma said...

i hear you both, wise women. i hate those schlocky journaling things, but admire like heck the burgeoning of anyone who is struggling to articulate something more than complaints and grocery lists. context and substance.

neki desu said...

i dread schlockiness or what i call the hallmark conception of life.
i also perceive in the way some posts are articulated a certain obligation to be meaningful, SIGH. so the rebel in me sometimes comes across as flippant.
right now i'm into it's- the- process- stupid- mode which i see as a form of meta journaling.

Velma said...

ok, neki, now i have to admit to my orneriness?! i totally understand. ( i lead a boycott in school in 8th grade) i don't mind humor or challenges, i do mind sarcasm and poor work.

neki desu said...

did i do it again? the mind reading stint i mean.i'll have to stop commenting.
the meaningful posts was not directed at you !!
i totally agree on the poor work. sarcasm...
if not gratuitous and makes me think i think i can handle it.well, i guess that's called irony not sarcasm.

Velma said...

no problem neki--i love your comments. i'm particularly aware of my tough attitudes about art, especially the whole journaling thing, and the hurtful sarcasm that often passes for funny. 2 issues here, i muddled them. i get trouble when i say someone's work is schlock. now a kid, i wouldn't criticize, but an adult artist, well, there it is. i'm not going to say someone's beastly piece is good if it's not!

r said...

black and white or shades of grey?

Velma said...

a question i once asked wendell berry. brave me.

chuck bolyard said...

i came across your blog by accident........i have never posted anything on line before...your artwork is interesting...i am an art teacher ..9th grade...i would love to teach an art class with all special education students. i could do so much more with them if they were not grouped in with everyone else........the powers that be are not willing to allow that.i like my students to do artwork involving calligraphy,poetry, and drawing..

Velma said...

is that really your last name? so unusual!

chuck bolyard said...

yep.........i am a bolyard.....most of my relatives are from west virginia.......i came across your name on the net by accident while looking up information on my cousin, velma bolyard allen, who wrote a book about her life in the hills.
looking at some of what you have written, i would say you and i see a lot in art as an important part of life....also unusual!

Velma said...

holy cow! my folks were from w.va. (where else does one find this name?) let me know how the book is sometime.

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