Welcome to our August edition of Random Journal Day! Summer continues to shine as does our Featured Journal Keeper this month, Debbie-Anne Parent of Ephemera’s Vintage Garden. Debbie is not only a journal keeper but also a journal creator and digital artist. She designs downloadable, printable journals and beautiful paper embellishments for diaries, journals, scrapbooks and collage. Debbie also creates one of a kind altered books for journal lovers from around the world and if that was not enough, she shares tutorials and freebies regularly with her followers. As one who is fairly new to her I felt compelled to ask her a million questions…however for the sake of her sanity and a reasonable blog post, I narrowed it down to the interview you see here today!
I stumbled upon Debbie-Anne when I
began exploring fell into the rabbit hole of Junk Journal videos on You Tube over the past year. Junk Journals are anything but junky, but I believe got their name because of the “use anything you want or get your hands on- including junk mail” creativity that characterizes them (Feel free to correct me, if I am wrong!). I enjoyed seeing the altered books that Debbie created but also noticed that many others used her beautiful vintage digital creations. I finally reached out to Debbie and asked if she could create one of her unique altered journals for my writing and she came up with this Poetry Junk Journal which I have loved well and already filled with words. So here she is to tell us EVERYTHING…
First what do people need to know about who you are and what you do from your perspective? I’m a self-taught graphic artist, tree hugger and HUGE Doctor Who fan. While I enjoy the company of people, I’m in my truest element alone in nature and with my pets. I came to find my artful purpose in the throes of a chronic condition that is challenging on most days, but I feel truly blessed because had it not gone down this way, I may still be living half a life, working in a field that was no longer fulfilling. I experience physical pain daily but my contented, creative spirit helps me keep a positive attitude through it all.
Do you recall your first journal? How old were you and what was it that inspired you to write or become a journal keeper? I got my first journal when I was about 8. It was a diary, with a built-in lock on the front. I wrote it in often and enjoyed the security of knowing my thoughts were safe from peering eyes. I continued to keep a journal through high school and picked it up again in my early adult years, including during my daughter’s first year. I enjoyed the way words could flow from my mind through my pen and onto a blank page. I later went on to become a mental health counsellor and often recommended journaling to my clients as a therapeutic outlet. I’ve always felt that journaling, doodling and art in general have a healing effect on one’s emotional well-being. I don’t do a lot of written journaling anymore. I prefer to use imagery in an art journal format.
Can you describe for our readers what you do as a digital artist, and how it might differ and present unique challenges for an artist? My digital art is offered in the form of printable supplies for journal creation and other paper crafts. I enjoy the idea that I can provide a downloadable item that then becomes part of a whole new piece of art by the creator. I use vintage images from days long passed and revive them in my artwork. I combine them with hand painted backgrounds, doodles and other elements that I digitalise and manipulate. I started creating printable art for myself in craft projects because I could never find exactly what I wanted on the market. I also wanted to adopt more ‘earth friendly’ habits in paper crafting. Now, by providing printables to crafters, it contributes to the efforts to save our diminishing resources. Digitals can be printed on an as-needed basis, saving on paper, ink, manufacturing costs, etc.
One of the big challenges in the digital world is protecting one’s work from being misused and wrongfully distributed. Many safety measures have to be put in place to reduce copyright infringement. Another challenge is the research required to find vintage images that are copyright free/in the public domain.
How did you get started creating Altered Books? Altered books and junk journals simply became part of my efforts to repurpose existing/found items and be more frugal in my crafty life. I hope that sharing my ideas on YouTube inspires others to do the same. I’m always trying to find ways to use ‘junk mail’ and found paper items in my journals. And I love bringing home old books that have been discarded and forgotten. They would otherwise be left to die in the dark corners of thrift stores, so I love to breathe new life into them.
Where do you find the inspiration for your artwork? I get the most inspiration in the garden. I could spend hours bird watching and photographing flowers. It was where I spent the bulk of my childhood with my grandmother, and where I enjoy being the most to this day. I have a vivid imagination and create worlds inside my mind where birdies wear jewelled crowns and fairies build homes and cities in the shelter of leaves, blooms and mushrooms.
What are your favorite personal digital creations? It is hard to pick only a few, but at the top of the list you’d find ‘Mabel’s Diary’ and ‘Garden Carnival‘, as well as ‘Whimsy & Botany‘, ‘Miss Lady Fay’ and ‘A Happy Place‘.
How many journals have you created? Many dozens. Some for selling, others for myself, gift giving (my family loves my handmade journals) and swaps.
How long have you been creating your own reproducible artwork? I’ve been making graphic art since 2008. It started with photo editing and evolved to include vintage graphics incorporated with mixed media – painted backgrounds, doodles, etc.
What is the absolute favorite Journal you have ever created? Was it made for yourself or as one to sell/give? Again, this is hard to narrow down. Each one I make takes a piece of me with it when it leaves my workspace. I especially love the mixed media and ‘faux leather’ book covers I make occasionally. And I really like the inside pages where I include junk, imagery and sewing machine stitching. My most recent fave is the red tattered vintage glue book, where I combined images with lace and vintage button cards. There’s also my ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover‘ inspiration journal.
Where do you see Ephemera’s Vintage Garden going – what next? I’d love to use more of my own doodle art in digital collections. It’s challenging at times to have many ideas but not enough time to try them all out! I would also like to teach journal making in my local area.
I so relate to having many ideas and not enough time, Debbie! Please tell us about the EVG Creative Team, will you? I’ve had a creative team for about 2 1/2 yrs. These gals either apply for the position when I have a call out or I approach them in some cases. They typically stay on with me for about a year, unless they wish to keep a permanent spot which is always great. I chose them based on their creative style and how well it meshes with EVG designs. Designing digital collections and making handmade journals leaves little time for teaching/demonstrating how my printables can be used. The designers create wonderful projects that inspire people to get creative. Having ladies (no gents yet) with different talents and ideas is so much fun because I see my digitals used in ways I would have never imagined or been able to do myself!
What is one thing you have learned worth sharing along your journal keeping and creating journey? Can you share any tips, thoughts, tidbits of wisdom you’ve gained? The key to creative success (and life in general) is to always follow your intuition and trust it fearlessly. EVG product lines and projects are very much intuitively driven. I allow the ideas to show up in my life and then I explore them with an open mind and spirit. The same goes for journaling. Let the thoughts emerge and flow. Also, it’s really ok to take a step back whenever it’s warranted – to contemplate and re-evaluate. If you follow your heart, the creative path will create itself and every step will be pure bliss.
Thanks so much for hanging out with us this month, Debbie!
Linking with: Create with Joy
OK, Friends, Let’s Join in and share our Journals! If you are new here, we appreciate all sorts of journal keeping styles. I invite you to visit, make new friends, and participate by giving us a peek into YOUR journal. I promise we do not bite! Well, I do… sometimes, but everyone else is awesome! Ha! We would love for you to join us. The more the merrier… the link is open through Monday 11PM. It’s OK to be strange BUT Don’t be a stranger!
See my RJD link with the Poetry Journal Debbie created for me HERE.