Application & Interactions – Week 3: Development

Week 3 Lecture & Resources


Research

Visual Inspiration for Journal

Beautiful botanical art by Julia Whitney Barnes.

I was really inspired by the beautiful botanical art of Julia Whitney Barnes, who makes cyanotypes with flowers and adds colourful painted details to create visually striking compositions. Equally striking are the “Nature Medleys” of artist Jill Bliss, shown below.

“Nature Medleys” by Jill Bliss, created using foraged items from nature.

I also encountered a unique handmade zine (shown below) by the Munich Zine Library with an autumnal theme, enhanced by the pages being shaped like real leaves. I like how you immediately know from its format what it’s about, and the different leaves create a layered effect not unlike the real leaf-litter found at this time of year. It feels like visual poetry when you see the sequence/progression of the pages in order.


Workshop Challenge

Journal Development

I learned quite quickly that some materials are more robust than others – having used thin layout paper stitched together to make some of the inner pages of the spring journal, when I tried to paint these to add some colour, I found that the edges curled up quite a bit with the wet media.

As a way to work around this, I added in supplemental papers and printed photographs to make the inner pages more robust, keep them sitting flatter and also easier to leaf through.

I also used bulldog clips to help pages of the journal stay in shape:

Below is a bit of an experiment with some pieces of a Leylandii tree (or Leyland cypress), an attempt to create a silhouetted impression with paint which didn’t quite work as well as I had hoped, because the technique I used didn’t give a very defined outline of the plant.

Using my photographs of nature taken on walks and meanders in the garden throughout the last few months to the journals.

Above are scans of plantlife such as ferns and oak leaves found on walks in my local area – within metres of my home, I was able to escape and find some breathing room in the natural world. It not only provided a welcome distraction but also a huge source of creative inspiration.

Experimenting with scale for the four different mini journals.

Spring

Experiments: Attempting to print and write on tracing paper with different media

Summer

Hand-drawn type on a photocopied print of one of my photographs taken in the summer using 120 film with a Diana F+ camera.

Autumn

Refining the design of hand-drawn lettering for the cover of the journal.
Inking the lettering by hand onto cartridge paper using a dip-pen and Indian ink.
Cover design for autumn journal. Cartridge paper with handwritten ink type, hand stamped lace motifs and a watercolour paint wash.
Printing with rubber stamps onto cartridge paper. A visual nod to the copious number of photographs I took (hundreds, possibly thousands!) over the last few months, resulting in a series of snapshots of moments in time.

Winter

Hand-drawn lettering for the cover of the winter journal – white Polychromos coloured pencil on black Canford paper. The style of the uppercase “w” is intended to evoke clear starry skies commonly seen in the darkness of the winter season.

Reflection on the week

Some thoughts on using an autoethnographical approach.

– Therapy: Writing/designing/creating/making personal work can be a way for us to make sense of ourselves and our experiences – these personal narratives can be therapeutic, both for the “author” (or participant/storyteller) and the “reader” (or audience). (Ellis et al. 2011)
– Ideally aim to be evocative and engaging, telling a visual story with a sense of narrative.
– Considering how my personal experience compares to that of others.
– The pandemic is something that could be described as a collective experience, though the way it has affected the lives of individuals varies, depending on personal circumstances.


References

ELLIS, C., ADAMS, T.E. and BOCHNER, A.P., 2011. ‘Autoethnography: An Overview.’ Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1).

Instagram. 2021. ‘Julia Whitney Barnes.’ Available at https://www.instagram.com/p/CVAtSrMFdxV/ [accessed 16/10/2021]

Instagram. 2021. ‘Munich Zine Library.’ Available at https://www.instagram.com/p/CUfrCfpswcO/ [accessed 14/10/2021]

Jill Bliss. 2021. ‘Nature Medleys.’ Available at https://www.jillbliss.com/nature-medleys [accessed 16/10/2021]

Julia Whitney Barnes. Available at http://www.juliawhitneybarnes.com/ [accessed 17/10/2021]