Tuesday, 6 February 2018

"nothing" is perfect!

Goodness me, its been a while! I know you're all loving the amazing video presentations on you tube; courtesy of my very talented and technologically savvy fellow admin. You may have noticed there is no video from me! My computer skills are entirely (and even then, spasmodically) founded on key board, or, even better a pen and paper!

I am no artist, I'm a bit "arty" and I can draw a bit, my lettering is pretty neat and my handwriting is fairly decent but I don't really have any great expertise or skill sets to teach and inspire. I feel what I can best offer is the odd word of encouragement, a touch of humour (hopefully) and the thoughts the Lord lays on my heart from time to time.

I love to see a blank piece of paper, pristine, unspoiled, perfect, or an un-journaled page in my Bible. The possibilities are endless, the ideas sometimes tumbling through my mind, a vision in my head of what I want it to look like. Sadly, the reality of what I actually fill the paper or page with is often far from the wonderful idea I envisaged. the blank page is no longer perfect!

Or is it? How much can a friend or loved one get from a blank piece of paper or an unwritten note or card? Better a card or letter with spelling mistakes and smudges than a perfect sheet of nothing.
If you are ever lucky enough to look through an old illuminated manuscript it is almost certain that you will find errors, spelling mistakes, smudges, a dirty finger print, even some rather questionable art work if the monk in question was feeling playful, or maybe bored! Parchment, vellum (true vellum)and ink was far too expensive to waste, not to mention wasted hours of painstaking hand copying in poor light and uncomfortable surroundings. Mistakes would be concealed as much as possible or maybe even ignored!
I'm pretty sure I have blogged about this before, but my recent mess up with my lettering stamp with Sarah at DEN has reminded me once more about the need to avoid the lure of perfectionism. Well, more actually my response to my error. I'm ashamed to admit I had a (minor) paddy, screwed up my deli paper and threw it across the table. Sarah in her wisdom reached across, calmly unscrewed it and gave it back to me, " you could cut it up into pieces and use them separately" she said. A group discussion followed while we tried to remember where to find the verses which describe King David dancing. (the internet was down so my usual go to aid of google wasn't available!) Gemma came to the rescue and found it in 2 Samuel. As Sarah advised I tore the paper into three sections and carefully stuck them on to the page, perfection! (almost) they fitted as if I'd planned it like that all along, and to be honest I love it, its one of my favourite pages! 
How many of us are disappointed if our efforts fall short of the perfect image we had in our heads? How many of us throw away the imperfect attempt and feel cross, frustrated and inadequate? How many of us would gently encourage our child in that situation, doing as Sarah did, retrieving the cast off failure, unscrewing it and helping to put it right or simply hugging them and telling them it was beautiful and perfect as it was?

Our God does not expect or demand perfection from us, its impossible! All He asks is that we give our best effort; in terms of our Bible Journaling, that it comes from our desire to delve deeper into His Word and to worship Him and give Him the glory.
But, even then...
...God doesn't want us to make ourselves ill, stressed, unhappy or discouraged. Bible Journaling should bring joy, dare I say it fun, and a deepening of our faith.
I'm sorry to repeat myself but I see so many posts which express the stress of being a perfectionist, if some of our worlds greatest inventors or artists had allowed themselves to be ruled by perfectionism I wonder how many awesome works of art would have been lost, how many inventions that we take for granted might never have seen the light of day.
There's a well known quotation, "Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." I have another version, "Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all!" My apologies for the use of photographic images rather than journaling images, they make the point so much more clearly! 

Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Sovereign Lord is my Strength - by Lisa Emmerson

Habakkuk 3:19 NIV
"The Sovereign LORD is my strength, 
He makes my feet like the feet of deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights"

Head over to our You tube channel to see Lisa's step by step guide to creating this page here

We now have a Youtube channel!

Thanks to the wonderful Lisa Emmerson, we now have our very own You tube channel, Bible Art Journaling UK, where we will be sharing at least a short film a month.  This month features the lovely admin team sharing which of us prep the pages in our bibles, and how.  You'll find it here.  Whilst you're there, you'll find some extra films.  Please subscribe if you don't want to miss the next one!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Keeping it Simple - by Sarah Anderson

When people first discover bible art journaling, they often ask what materials they need to do it.  I find this a difficult question to answer as I guess you can almost use any art material there is (oil paints would prove tricky I imagine!!).  Another common question is about the minimum amount of resources,  the 'if you were stuck on a desert island what would you take' line of thought, to which I easily reply - my trusty fine black Bic biro, and a pencil!

Don't get me wrong, I adore colour, and art shops are one of my happy places, where I breathe in the smell of paper and paint, and stroke the coloured pencils; and I love that my bible is full of colour where I've played with the materials I love such as rubber stamps, gelli plate prints, watercolour, spray inks, distress inks ....  

But it's also full of simple lettering using my favourite pen.  This leaves a gorgeous crinkly texture to the pages, encourages me to spend time pondering the verse as I embellish the words, and is pleasing to my eye as I adore lettering.

I get lots of inspiration from Instagram, and have learnt the different types of lettering that I like over time, gaining in confidence with each verse!

Lettering is all about practice.  In the long summer holiday after my O levels I spent a lot of time in the library practicing my handwriting as I hated it.  The ascenders and descenders leaned this way and that without consistency.  I now have handwriting I really like (I'm sure being a Reception teacher before computers also helped as I was constantly writing out letters for children to overwrite or copy!) and sometimes I just emphasise my normal handwriting a bit more in the margins of my bible.

I am currently practicing these fancy 'r's.  I discovered this lettering style on Instagram and I enjoy writing a word out in pencil, then drawing around it with my biro (the only reason I'd have a pencil on my desert island!!!).

There really are no rules in bible art journaling.  It's about using the art practices you like and enjoy within the pages of your bible, and finding that through these processes you take in truth from God's amazing word.  There is a lot of joy in learning new practices and techniques and having fun with them in the pages of your bible, and for me, one of those is as simple as lettering with a fine black Bic pen!!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Applications welcome - by Jane Butcher

Bible Art Journaling UK is hiring! Positions available, all backgrounds considered, no previous experience necessary. No forms to fill in, no age (or gender) restrictions and formal qualifications not required
Still interested? Great, let's proceed with the interview.

Do you possess a desk, table or work space of any sort, big or small?
Is your designated work space a haven of ordered peace and tranquillity or an explosion of creativity and works in progress. if anyone called would they feel the need to phone 999 to report a burglary or to sit down and enjoy the calm serenity.

Do you own a Bible and a notebook and a pencil? Additional equipment is welcomed but not necessary, we can advise you on supplies and how to use them.

Do you want to delve deeper into your Bible, draw closer to your Heavenly Father, find encouragement, support, inspiration and have fun? 

If you can read and write independently or with support, if you can draw a stickman and colour in side the lines (not essential), if you enjoy painting, colouring, gluing, stamping, writing, collaging or doodling then you are uniquely (the Bible tells you so) qualified to join our Bible Art Journaling family.

Training can be provided, opportunities to meet together to share fellowship, faith, food and fun are available around the UK. 

Still interested? Your application has been approved, welcome to the family. Monetary incentives not applicable but blessings in abundance guaranteed.
You're Hired! When can you start?

Bible Journaling Apps - by Jane Butcher

I have three Bible Journaling Apps but they're  not what you think! I'm not going to give you a list of web sites, urls (whatever they are) pinterest posts or apps for your tablets, smart phones, laptops or trusty old desk tops.

I have three Journaling Bibles on the go at the moment (well, four actually but that's another story) I use each one for a different purpose in terms of my approach to spending time n the Word.

Number one, my first one and the one which has been used the most and is somewhat straining at its seams. This is the Bible I use the most, on most days at some point. its more of a dip in, choose selected verses, look for words of encouragement type of relationship, though I have actually journaled my way through complete books using devotionals and study guides on occasion. I began this Bible in January 2015 with the sole intention of giving this to Ben. There are some words of encouragement, some of guidance, some of warning and lots of pictures, doodles and thoughts which will hopefully remind him of me.

Bible number two, and I love this one! The leather, is so  beautiful as are the pristine pages. I am over time working through this Bible from start to finish (I may be gone some time to quote a certain Titus Oates!) I am writing an outline of the key points of each chapter  using a variety of commentaries and study guides. I don't do this every day, but this one is earmarked for my second nephew Samuel. he respects my faith but no longer believes. I trust that he will take time to look through it from time to time and give some thought to the guidance within. He calls me his God mother even though my nephews and niece don't actually have God parents as they were all dedicated not baptised as children.

Bible number three, I've only just started this one and I'm using it to follow inductive Bible study guides which are a much more in depth focussed way of reading and studying the Bible.  

All of these approaches (apps!) to Bible Journaling bring me deeper in to God's Word. each one fills a need and a desire to know more. No one way is better than another, I spend more time in the first Bible and that approach to journaling because it is more fun! and doesn't demand quite as much focus and deep thinking (for me) The others I try to do at least a couple of times a week  but I don't always manage that.

Sometimes I just sits...and colours! other times I do what I'll call journaling art for want of a better description, or I do something creative in my prayer journal that is meaningful at that time.
Finally, I doodle (or journal) my thoughts on a Sunday morning because I'm a multi-sensory learner, I don't take things in very deeply through just reading, writing or hearing.

l hope this encourages any one  who feels they are struggling to find their niche or their style, or even how to start with Bible Journaling. There is no right or wrong way, there is no better or lesser way, there is no requirement to be an artist or a theologian, there is simply the need for a desire to spend time in the presence of Father God, delving deeper in to His Word and along the way sharing thoughts and encouragement with our brothers and sisters.     

Explore all the apps, upload the ones that appeal to you, install and away you go!

the "J" word! - by Jane Butcher

I've been enjoying a little trip down memory lane, looking back through my journaling Bible from the day I brought it home from the local Christian Bookshop. There's no avoiding it, I know it's a cliche but its been a journey! 

I didn't delay, I didn't test things out on pages at the back, I just dived right in and began at the beginning, (hmm, anyone else humming a song now?) I did what some people call their permission page and then I did Genesis Chapter 1. I didn't use any "techniques" I didn't have any wonderfully named supplies I simply drew in pencil, went over it with a micron marker, rubbed out the pencil and then coloured it in with ordinary pencil crayons. "Simples"!

I began to experiment with different lettering styles and I have to confess I began to build my stash. I knew I was never going to be an "artist" in the pure sense but I was determined that I wasn't going to be deterred by my lack of skills, I was going to fall in love with my Bible again, a love affair that had somewhat faded since my first heady days as a Christian. I decided that I was going to share my journaling pages even though they were (and still) are usually simple and often simplistic.

I discovered the joys of washi tape, tip ins and one of my favourites Vellum (tracing paper to you and me).and I discovered a joyous family of brothers and sisters from all around the UK who shared my love of the Bible. I enjoyed taking tippy toe fairy steps out of my comfort zone thanks to lovely friends like Sarah Anderson, Jo Boardman and Deborah Gregg. (The list of people I am now blessed to call my friends would now need a blog all of its own)

More recently I have been an enthusiastic convert to the fun which is deli paper and the gelli plate. I have been blessed to meet many of my Facebook friends in the flesh! meeting up monthly  with DEN, meeting up with friends at our homes and with people travelling to join us from as a far afield as Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Ashby de la Zouche (love that name) Huddersfield, Chester, Manchester, Stockport and from all around my home in Winsford.

I've loved dabbling with collage and I've even painted in my Bible. Its been a journey and its a journey I'm happy to continue. Bible Journaling has brought me back to my Bible, It has brought me back to spending precious time in the Father's presence, its brought me friends and family, its brought me a network and a circle of encouragement and its brought me a wealth of experience, wisdom and encouragement.

f you are new to this crazy band of Bible Journalers, welcome; saddle up and enjoy the journey, I can guarantee it will be joyous, it will challenge, it will bless, it will encourage and it will bring you closer to the Father day by day.