Bonjour Madame: Journaling the Journey
I decided to call my Paris workshop Bonjour Madame because I wanted to emphasize language and communication. Overall my experience has been that French people speak considerably more English than we speak French, but it hardly takes any time at all to learn a few French pleasantries, such as bonjour (good day), pardon (pardon me), s'il vous plait (please), merci (thank you), and au revoir (goodbye). To that end, I included in everyone's workshop kit a set of French phrase stamps to use in their journals, as well as a set of an old type face to add a few phrases of their own. I also chose the title Bonjour Madame because it has a sense of whimsy about it!
During my two-week stay in France, I found French people to be quiet and reserved, as well as approachable, friendly and welcoming. After returning home I found myself almost saying bonjour at the grocer or when meeting with friends, as I did in Paris where every encounter was completed with merci au revoir.
A Color Story
My plan for this visual journal was to create a color story. My journal is divided into four color chapters. I always create chapters in my journals so that I do not feel compelled to work front to back. And, I like to use anything but white paper, which immediately eliminates that glaring blank white canvas. Everyone was asked to chose a color scheme and arrive with paper for four signatures in their chosen color palette, as a jumping off point. Along the way, my color chapters evolved to be more about juxtapositioning colors.
Because Paris has been a recurring theme that I have played off of in illustrating Character Constructions, it seemed fitting to give figures center stage in this workshop. I designed a kit that contained all the collage elements needed to develop characters large and small. As an illlustrator of art stamps, I carried over that methodology, and supplied my workshop participants with the tools they needed for personal expression. I gave everyone a kit that contained enough material for 20 or more journal pages and dozens of characters. This worked out well as it gave everyone the ability to work at their own pace and to continue to journal their stories later back in their own studios. And, to give our Bonjour Madame mascot something to cover her sweet little head, I also designed a series of six hats and demonstrated some of my embellishment techniques working with paper, string and ribbon.
In addition to characters, I developed some other illustrations for journaling, such as a chiffonier with lots of little drawers that could actually hold things. In Paris, we visited boutiques where materials were stored in old cabinets and drawers, and I thought it would be fun to mirror that on the pages of our journals.
(This page contains the chiffonier I designed, as well as the fish that I found at Tombées du Camion, and some items that were in the shared pile such as the little clown that I altered to allow him to ride the fish. The houses in the background were also in the shared pile. The women on bicycles are from the Mannequin Cafe collection.)
And, because we were living "like Parisiennes" in our Paris apartments, I also designed a couple of different apartment illustrations for use in our journals. I crafted the workshop similar to the way I design a stamp collection, with imagery to illustrate our personal stories.
(One of two apartment illustrations I designed. Our apartment was on 13 Rue Beaunier.)
In addition to the collage materials in the kit, I asked everyone to bring some collage material from home, along with some to share. I found some serendipitous imagery in that shared pile, as well as in the petit reins (little treasures) discovered on our daily outings.
Last year Barbara Smith and I went to the flea in Mt. Dora, Florida, where she introduced me to the Polaroid pogo printer. You just plug your camera into it and chose the photos to print, and viola it prints these tiny little photo stickers. This was so much fun of course I had to have one and brought it along so that we could incorporate photos from our daily explorations into our journals.
This page contains Merry-Go-Round paper that I discovered in Michaels and included in the kits, as well as one of those little Pogo photos of the Metro (bottom right). On the left, is a Polaroid transfer of a merry-go-round, my contribution to the shared collage material. I printed a whole series of transfers using vintage Paris slides. Merry-Go-Rounds were a common feature in Paris parks and other public places.
Black and white images like these formed my first impressions of Paris as a young woman, which carried over into illustrations for the Mannequin Cafe collection. Both of which had a place in my Paris visual journal.
(A sweet gift from a friend that arrived on the eve of my journey. The note says take me with you, so I did!)
(The La Mere Catherine graphic was actually copied from a plaque, a gift from a fellow traveller that is now a part of my story.)
I printed information about the fashion exhibition at Versailles onto this dressform. Another inventive way to add texts to a visual journal.
I am always looking for inventive ways to incorporate texts onto my visual journal pages. Here I found an old Underwood typewriter graphic and a free Underwood font online!
This page details some of the hats and hat embellishments that I experimented with. It's a great way to give a 2-dimensional paper element some texture. You cannot appreciate the texture in this photo, but the hats were created with suede paper. The embroidery patch in the upper right corner was a Paris find from La Drogerie.
The figure on the right was embellished with ribbon that wrapped a patisserie purchase, and the hat is embellished with feathers discovered in La Drogerie. This page and the last one in my journal are in a pink palette, a nod to Versailles and Marie of course.
This is my final entry, created after the journey to incorporate a delicate piece of ephemera from Laduree which was also a gift from a friend.
As you can see, I am very particular about the materials I choose. Every element used so far is meaningful in some way to my story. I have incorporated a lot of materials that were given to me by friends who supported my dream to lead a workshop in Paris.
Thanks for stopping by!