The 17th GPP Street Team Crusade is here. Michelle Ward in her wisdom suggested a challenge that goes right to the heart of why I started the Commuter's Journal. She asked her Street Team to share the kits they carry to make their journals. After all, art is as much about craft and process as it is about inspiration.
The Ur Kit: My constant companion
In my case, inspiration came afterward. This blog began because I had a kit and a journal by my side at all times. Seven years ago I began commuting on Metro North from my lovely home in Connecticut to New York City. It's a long trip -- 1.5 hours on the train and another 30 minutes to get to and from stations. I'd often read (uninterrupted reading time is a luxury as any mom can appreciate), work, play Scrabble or Solitaire on my Palm Pilot or snooze. But I needed more. I needed to capture the adventures I was having, the experiences I encountered on my way. So I began keeping a journal in composition notebooks. I remembered how onerous keeping a daily journal became in my younger years and decided to give myself permission to put in anything that inspired, outraged, tickled or otherwise moved me. Little did I know that I was joining a growing movement!
So I packed into the shoulder bag I carried in lieu of a brief case the supplies you see above. These were just the basics -- pens, markers, glue stick (I must have gone through dozens of these). I often decorated the cover of the journals at home, which sometimes brought raised eyebrows on the train. Inside, I put drawings, poems, daily highlights and lowlights, heartfelt outpourings, recipes and tons of newspaper articles, illustrations and photos.
The Travel Kit: Minus brush
markers and water-soluble pastels (travel journal at right)
It was on a trip to Puerto Rico to visit my parents in 2006 that I got the idea of bringing all of this to the Web. I had been getting a lot of requests from out-of-towners for directions and places to visit in Manhattan, and I wanted to share some of what I was writing in my journals.
As the old saying goes, life happens while you are making other plans. There started to be hints that I might be laid off of my job by fall. At the same time, a medical condition I thought I had overcome returned. Soon my commuting days were just a memory.
But all was not lost. A thoughtful friend had sent me a small journal as a gift last summer. After drooling over the journal art I was seeing online, in the pages of Somerset Studio and in books, I leapt into the art collage world. The kit for creating journals expanded to include my old craft supplies, now resurrected for a happy, new life.
Then I found Michelle's Crusade 16, booked a trip on the Moebius Loop, and here I am. I'm thrilled to have found a way to combine my writing and art in a way that allows me to join a vibrant community of artists. And to think, it all started with a small art kit. Amazing!