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Journaling Art Workshop

This page has been updated with after-event photos and description.

An evening of unconventional creation

“My son is a historian, and knowing I journal this way simply drives him crazy.”

This is how Jean Irwin, Arts Education Manager with Utah Division of Arts & Museums, began our session.

A lot of people want to keep a journal, and most people have done at least a little bit – but it’s very difficult to build the habit of writing in a book every single day.

Jean invited us to take a different approach. Why write day after day in a book, when our own minds don’t process memories like that?

Her approach is to treat our memories as the organic things they are – collect together the beautiful experiences we have and present them in creative containers, to invite us and those we care about to revisit those special moments and enjoy the adventure with us.

We grabbed pill bottles, mint tins, and many other creative boxes. We glued all sorts of papers, greeting cards, stickers, photos, words, sequins, and even sticks, shells and feathers onto our containers to “set the stage” for the kinds of memories they would contain. “Memories are like treasures,” one attendee observed, and we were making treasure boxes.

On a recent trip to Europe Jean said, “I cut out pictures in a museum guidebook and glued them down, and included a drawing of a detail to one of the things we saw – the person next to me was taking digital pictures and didn’t even notice the thing I sketched. When we’re really paying attention and building this kind of fun record of our experience, we notice things no one else realizes is there.”

Attendees included a fashion designer, several arts educators from a number of schools and universities, a really fun mother-daughter team, an international artist, and several parents. And we got to eat a wonderful meal, too!

Sharing numerous creative examples, Jean Irwin guided us through a process which went far beyond book journaling. She helped us learn how to curate memories, so those with whom we share our special moments will have as much delight in the experience as we had in making the memory in the first place.

 

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