Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Heroes - Dan Eldon

Dan Eldon was born to an American mother and a British father in 1970, and at an early age he and his family moved to Kenya. Despite his extensive travels, he always considered Kenya home. As a child, Dan received his first camera and developed an interest in photography that he would pursue for the rest of his life becoming one of the youngest photographers for the international news agency, Reuters in 1992.

Moved by stories of famine in Somalia, he travelled to the country to see for himself. He stayed in Somalia as the civil war raged on documenting the strife and the UN’s attempts to manage the situation. His photos find their way into Time and Newsweek. Dan’s life was unfortunately cut short at the age of 22 by a mob that turned on him as he was trying to cover a bombing in Mogadishu.

Dan is probably best known for his 17 volumes of visual journals that he began keeping around the age of 15. He filled his journals with newspaper clippings, photos, labels, writing, and much, much more. He poured his life into the bulging books as he cut, glued, painted, and drew. He included pictures of his family and friends and evidence of the places he travelled and visited. Dan’s mom, Kathy shared a wide selection on Dan’s journal pages in 1997 in the book The Journey is the Destination: The Journals of Dan Eldon published by Chronicle Books. It quickly became a great source of inspiration for many, many people who were moved by Dan’s story and his rich journal pages.

These layered pages hint at a life filled with passion and adventure, and Dan documented the people he met, the places he went, and events that took place in his life. As a photographer, his journals are filled with many of his own photos, contact sheets, and negatives which he often cut apart reimagining the pictures and the stories of his life.

Dan’s journals and his life have inspired me greatly as I have tried to record my life and to think about the kind of legacy that I will leave behind. In many ways, Dan’s short, yet inspiring life makes me wonder about what I have done in my life and the impact that I have had on the world. Dan seemed to have lived life to the fullest, and his journals reflect that packed life in rich, luminous detail. I am constantly amazed that Dan filled 17 volumes of journals in about 7 years. He put so much time and energy not only into his journals, but into the art of living.

It is because of Dan Eldon that I continue to work in my visual journals and that I continue sharing with anyone willing to pay attention. In continuing Dan’s legacy, I hope that in some small way, I am changing and challenging the world.

For more information about Dan, his life, his activism, his art, and his journals, visit

Monday, February 23, 2015


David and I spent the last couple of months working on our part of the 21 SECRETS project for this spring. We are joined by twenty other talented journal artists in this ebook and online workshop by Dirty Footprints Studio. Over the coming weeks we will be giving away two memberships to this awesome venture. Stay tuned.

Our Workshop:
Rethinking the Page: Creating Interaction and Connection Within Your Journal

The Journal Fodder Junkies guide you through an open process that will transform your mundane journal pages into surprising, interacting, and secret filled spaces. Using an arsenal of prompts, techniques, and ideas, David and Eric take you on a journey that will have you delving and discovering, painting and writing, cutting and ripping as you transform the static surface of your pages into dynamic places filled with cut outs, fold outs, flaps, pockets, hidden spaces and secret passages. This workshop focuses on the use of prompts to guide you through a creative process that will have you engaging and transforming your pages in a whole new way.

On April 1, 2015, the 21 SECRETS ebook will be released, but pre-orders are being taken now, and you can even save if you act fast. Order now, and you will receive the following in the spring:

A downloadable 150+ page eBook that contains 21 art journaling workshops packed with videos, full color photos, printouts and instructional content.

Unlimited access to all the workshops at once! You pick and choose which ones you do when and go at your own pace!  There is no time limit--these workshops are yours to keep!

Membership to the private 21 SECRETS Facebook community where you can share your art work, be inspired by others, and receive warm, supportive feedback from your peers.  In the 21 SECRETS community we celebrate everyone's unique expression while supporting each creative spirit to become more confidant as an artist.

The opportunity to learn a variety of art journaling approaches, techniques, and processes that will energize your creativity and touch your Soul while in the comfort of your own home or studio!

To find out more about the artists, their workshops, and general information about 21 Secrets, click here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Art Unraveled 2015

If you missed our latest workshop, don't fret. We have plenty of things coming up in the year, and we keep adding more. Here's one of those things.

Although registration has been opened for a while, we are pleased to announce that we will be returning to Phoenix for Art Unraveled this August, and we're looking forward to teaching three new classes, one of which is a night class - our first time doing a night class at AU.

Sunday, August 9, 2015 - 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Building Layers: A Mixed Media Approach

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM
The Journal Stripped Bare

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 - 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Cultivating Creativity: Working with Spontaneity and Wonder

We're planning on participating in the Shopping Extravaganza and Saturday Evening Gala as well. Make your plans now, and we hope to see you in Phoenix.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The JFJ Invade Galax, VA and the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts

Dave and I spent a journal filled weekend in Galax, VA teaching workshops at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts. The school calls a renovated bank its home in downtown Galax and is a great space for a workshop. The original vault door was very cool.

We were put up for the weekend at Mary Guynn's cabin, and we checked out Creek Bottom Brewing for pizza and good craft beer. Being originally from the Pittsburgh area, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the brewery carried Iron City Beer.

When not teaching at the school or hanging out at the brewery, we enjoyed the fireplace at the cabin as well as playing cribbage and enjoying a beverage or two.

But the highlight definitely was the enthusiasm and energy of the ladies in the classes. We had a great time sharing our ideas with Penney, Kathy, Glenise, Deborah, Debbie, and Kavi. On Saturday, we shared a lot of ideas for working in the journal, and on Sunday, we shared ideas for creating interaction among the pages. The ladies dove into painting, writing, drawing, cutting, and gluing, and was so nice to see them so open to exploring and experimenting.

We thoroughly enjoyed the the weekend, and we are hoping that it will turn into an annual event. We would go back in a heartbeat. Thank you to Penney Klaproth for organizing the weekend, to Mary Guynn for the hospitality of her cabin, and to Debbie, Deborah, Kathy, Glenise, and Kavi for spending time with us.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Staying Engaged

I have been staying engaged with my journal a lot more recently, and I have been pretty good about working in it nearly everyday, even if it's just a few minutes before bed. That engagement has carried over into other areas as well, and I have been posting more here on the blog as well as on the JFJ Facebook page. I have also been more fully engaged with life in general.

This has all been an attempt to stay more connected to myself, to my art, and to others, and I am sustaining the momentum.