Visual Journal Prompts

This blog exists to provide writers with suggestions to develop their visual journals.

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Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Monday, June 21, 2004

You have heard of shoe-string budgeting? Well now there is shoe-string publishing! That is when you publish in an appealing way, for minimal costs.

Perhaps one of the most rewarding things for me this year (2004) has been seeing the altered books that the Grade 3, through to Year 12, students have made in each of the schools I have been working in.

I took along a bag of altered books and showed them what students of mine had done. The challenge was to guess what each book had been in another lifetime. Even I had not realized that the gold sprayed book, that looked like a glamorous album, had once been a standard desk diary. The book that the kids really loved was made by Angeli - one of my Year 7 students. She had taken a business directory and meticulously covered every page as only an artist could. The pages were seamless. She had glued pages, in six page lots, together and then covered them with pages from glossy magazines. It blew everyone's mind away when they saw what she had done and the teachers and children were fascinated with the transformative element of the project.

Upon my return children screamed with delight and tripped over one another in the rush to show me how they were transforming books that would have gone to the paper recycle place. I was gob-smacked as I looked at how enthusiastically the kids had taken up my suggestion. These books will be treasured instead of being discarded. These books will be treasured instead of being discarded. They are being filled with responses to exercises that I have presented, personal photographs, incredibly moving pieces of writing, symbols, images of their favorite things, dreams and hopes. That warmed my soul. It felt like a sauna embrace.

I call this Shoe String Publishing because you can literally publish at little or no expense, 'publish on a shoe string'. At the end of the year we will be wrapping these books up in Christmas wrapping. I cannot think of a better gift.

Have a peek at what these students are doing. Be inspired and make albums by using recycled magazines, directories or old books, to store your art and writing in. Remember that the Visual Journal Lounge has lots of tempting links to support this addictive art form.

Friday, April 11, 2003

When it comes to Street Photography it should be said that many people are unaware such a genre exists, so it may strike them as odd when they come across someone photographing graffiti, torn posters or derelict buildings. Usually Joe Public will put the individual down as a harmless crank and at best ignore them . . . . but there's always one who wants to know, "Why? What for?", so you mumble something, anything, and hope it satisfies them.

Unlike Joe Public I am not going to ask too many questions. I am just happy to check our this harmless crank's work. Something will get my creative juices going and who know's - it may lead to a great novel.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Over recent days I have laced up my cyber boots and been trudging all over the place checking out the visual journal world. Amazing! It has been like visiting some really first class lolly shops. I have stood, looking in the windows, awestruck. To find the keyholes that I have been peeking through slip into Soul Food's Visual Journal Lounge and have a browse through the new links.

Luna Jaffe suggests putting your image cards in a sturdy shoe box. For variety, make image cards out of insoles, to depict the footprints you have left behind and put those in your shoe box.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Today we began our visual journals in class with this lively exercise.

Take a newspaper or magazine page and randomly cut thirty words. Cut out big words or little words. Once you have the words use them like magnetic poetry and write the last thing you say to the world before dying. You can make any adjustments by cutting off letters and arranging them in any way you like.

Some examples from today are
fruit I missed the World Cup.
noodles are good
tell Mum I will miss her

So! Have a go and then decorate your page. My class are now harrassing me to do psycho style letters demanding less homework in English.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Nothing Trashy About This
We' ve all heard about or seen the works of artists who collect trash and sculpt it into interesting forms and meaningful shapes. Although "Trashlog" indeed also deals in found objects, it is very different. Nico Van Hoorn, from the Netherlands, has found a way to photograph bits of trash he finds along the roadside so that each and every piece looks like a simple, well-planned contemporary work of art. Each day, Mr. Van Hoorn picks up something that fits his parameters --paper, plastic or metal, never bigger than 10 x 15 cm, as flat as possible -- then photographs it and posts the resulting photo on his site. The archives go back to May of this year, and each day's offering is interesting and, in its own way, a thing of beauty. The meaning of all this is left to the viewer. Van Hoorn does not clutter his site with needless words. He is a collector, but a collector of a very different sort. Apparently he is looking for a more permanent home for his photo collection, but until he finds one he will continue to post his works on his website, and we will be the richer for it.

Gather some trash and weave it into your writing today.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Visual Journal Carry Bag
Whenever I am running sessions I always like to use collage. It can be very hard to write 'cold turkey' so to speak.The visual images that we pull out of magazines invariably help the flow of words and provide some self insight. A creative, craft exercise can lead to a fresh flow of ideas and words. At one session I had some bereaved women making comfort envelopes for the recently bereaved. We decorated the envelopes with comforting images and then filled them with small items. Later, I had another group make a creativity package for a friend, to help stimulate the flow of ideas. So when I saw the collaged, vinyl totebag at Aisling D'Art, I figured that it was an activity that I should tell people about. Try making a bag and filling it with all the items that you need to do your visual journal work. Then you are well equipped to work on your Album of Memories at any time.