Journal Jaunt: Adventure to the MN History Society
by Protégée Kate Renee
Jill Waterhouse and her four protégées Kate Renee, Barbara Bridges, Anne Kleinhenz and Jennifer Palmquist went on a fieldtrip on February 19th 2013 to the Minnesota Historical Society’s Library. There, they planned to view the Minnesota 2000 Journal Project.
The five of us sat in the library and poured over 46 volumes of personal artist journals filled with writing, pictures, illustrations, mixed media, collages and memorabilia. The artists and creatives participating in this project were to reflect on “the obstacles and opportunities, celebrations and concerns, and paths explored, on their journey through the year 2000.” This artist journal project was organized in 1999 by Linda S. Koutsky, Mark Odegard, Roslyn Stendhal and Eloise Klein. We also were able to look through a comprehensive portfolio that gave use some history and background to the project and to the artists.
Some of the artists’ journals had elaborate covers, wrappings and beadwork. Each one was a small green hand bound book with three signatures. Nancy Coger’s book had taped in dead wood ticks, a different artist’s book had plastic pages made of recycled packing materials, and another was completely sewn out of fabric. There were clipped pieces of human hair, dedications to great great grandchildren and indexes to just name a few memorable components found in these books.
This project was an honest place for artists to explore, write, record and express what they were going through during that period of time. It was great to see one artist express his hesitation within his journaling, John Coy wrote, “I had the feeling I should try to make it splashier, more colorful and I wasn’t sure what to do so I left it alone.” I am sure many of us artists have felt this way when trying to journal on our own. It was also very exciting to see the enormous variety between these books and learn that there really is no certain way that artists journals must be created.
As part of the WARM program, protégés are expected to journal or document their two year process. During our time in the library, we barely had the chance to view all the journals before our time was up! We were able to skim and page through the journals. We took pictures and notes and got a few new ideas too but were unable to sit and read all the journal entries. We all left extremely excited and had a lot of new ideas to begin working on our own journals.
Interested in seeking out these archives on your own? Check out the information from the Historical Society at this LINK. The Society’s library is open late on Tuesday evenings from 5pm until 8pm.
Interested in getting together with other artists to journal? Roz Stendhal and Suzanne Hughes host a free journaling evening gathering at Minnesota Center for Book Arts called the Visual Journal Collective. Head on over to the MCBA website and look under workshops for more information. Or check out the information Roz provides which lists the monthly topics discussed at each journal collective meeting.