Journal making workshop with Gillian Lee Smith

Have had a really good day today at a journal making workshop held at a fairly new (and lovely!) craft shop in the Lace Market. I saw it advertised at a small craft shop in Nottingham city centre and booked a place. The shop (Debbie Bryan Studio and Shop – see link at the side) is lovely and full of delicious things – scarves, buttons, really sweet delicate ceramic boxes but, perhaps unsurprisingly, I was most intrigued by the mood boards she’s got displayed in the workshop area. I really love mood boards and seeing what other people find inspiring and where they find ideas etc. I arrived a little early and got a lovely warm welcome from Debbie and Gillian, who was running the workshop. Soon the other people arrived – only 4 of us but it was about right for the size of the room so we all fit round one table with Gillian leading the way.

The day was really good – relaxed and chatty, with everyone diving in and getting messy. We made a number of pages using different techniques such as gesso and ink washes, transfering photocopies of pictures, text and maps, collage adding pictures, tissue paper, sewing, stamping, staining and all sorts of things.

The covers were pasted onto the boards and were kept flat using the very professional technique of standing or sitting on them! Really because there weren’t any heavy books available but it works! And then we put the whole thing together and finished off – there are still loads of things we can add to them and techniques to build up the pictre but there wasn’t time to get it all in one day. The time flew by and it was really enjoyable.

What was nicest about it was that although there were a couple of people there who are in the craft and design “industry” (for want of a better word) and had degrees and proper training in techniques, I didn’t feel at all out of place since really i just dabble in this kind of thing. You do sometimes feel people are a bit elitist about skills and what they might refer to as my “hobby” but this wasn’t like that. It was really good to see how 4 different people using similar materials and the same methods were able to come up with a wide range of different looking journals – really applying their own characters to it so that the books felt like our own.

I already have a project lined up where I was thinking of using this if the workshop was good, which is good really as it gives me a focus – I did feel today that I could easily have got carried away and ended up with something I didn’t like as well as the pieces I’m really pleased with. And it’s also good to be so inspired that you can immediately think of ways to put your skills to use. So all in all, a really good day and if you get a chance to visit Debbie’s shop or do a course with Gillian, then I really recommend it. Links to both websites on the side here and pics of some of my stuff below.

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