Autumn has arrived! The silver birch scatters its copper coins on the damp earth below, a light covering over the remnants of summer stalks. One of my favourite sights this time of year is of golden leaves falling silently through the sky, signifying a time for renewal. And just as the trees cast off their dead leaves, it feels right to be leaving behind some of what has been gathered over the past year or so and prepare for some restoration. Snuggled up on my sofa, a blanket keeping off the creeping chill, I am contemplating what I should write on the first page of one of my brand new Moleskine cahier notebooks. Encouraged by a fair few innovative ideas that I have come across just lately, I aspire to start a daily creative journal.

On my way back from the stationers this Saturday morning, I bumped into fellow writer and music editor for The Beestonian Lulu Davenport. She mentioned that she was thinking about getting her ‘art stuff’ out again and getting creative and I felt all the thoughts I had drifting in my brain suddenly assemble themselves into a row of comprehensive ideas. Always thinking of new incentives to get involved with and help kick start others, I started to revisit past projects and put together a plan for some of the autumn sessions to share with Claire, who has kindly offered to lead the sessions for the forseeable future, which is amazing! It’s really rewarding to know that one of the original members of the group will be helping to carry things forward.

So…where did all this idea-forming lead, I hear you ask? Well, it struck me that if I was thinking about creating a journal of creativity based on what I have seen others doing, then it might be something we could start to do as a group. The concept of documenting creative thought processes has always appealed to me, and it something that I have done in the past – particularly when working with new ideas. When I first realised that my sewing hobby could be grown into a little business I kept a record of the materials used, time taken to make each item and used that to help me to price them, as well as sketches and ideas for how to develop the range of bags and purses I had started to make and sell at craft markets.

When I saw this image in my Instagram feed, I recognised it as something similar to what I would like to create. Lou Tonkin is an artist printmaker that I follow on Instagram as I love her sensitive approach and the highly detailed work she produces. I also adore her sketch books. I used to keep a small sketch book when I studied art at college, it was full of observational pencil drawings of people mostly. I found the process incredibly absorbing and particularly enjoyed trying to capture the ‘bus’ people on the page as I travelled back and forth to and from college. Journals can be used for all kinds of purposes, I started populating a self-care scrapbook with musings and images that pleased me and this has now become the place I keep special notes and memories.

And whilst the scrapbook is an ongoing reflective tool I find useful to remind myself of the positives, I feel the need to start something that helps me harness the constant stream of powerful thoughts and emotions that populate my busy brain. I have always enjoyed the physical act of picking up a pen and writing and will continue to be one of those people who likes to see a page of my own handwriting, maybe interspersed with a sketch or some origami. I feel this way about hand stitching too, both forms are unique and can never be exactly replicated by anyone else – they are your marks to make. And so I felt that keeping our own ‘journals’ as a collective project might be a fitting way to embrace autumn and ready ourselves for wintering.

I aim to set aside at least twenty minutes each day to spend with my journal. I am not pressuring myself to achieve anything in particular, I might write down a phrase I like, sketch the plant on the mantelpiece and describe its glossy leaves in just a few sentences. I might well be compelled to pour out an emotional response to an event in the news or something that happened that day that took time to process. It will be interesting to see how I fill the pages over time and whether I want to share them or keep them to myself. Let’s just see what the new season brings, shall we?

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

(Albert Camus)

DU