Journal Friday #58:Travel


This past week was the National Art Education Association's annual convention in Seattle Washington. Though I'm no longer a public school teacher, I stay active in the the association, which means traveling and presenting to art educators from across the country. Whenever and wherever I travel, the journal goes with my, whether I'm traveling for business or pleasure. On this trip I took four separate journals with me to share and to work in.

The NAEA Convention is a huge gathering of art educators, and it's always invigorating to be surrounded by my tribe. Of this tribe, I'm closest to a handful of artistic accomplices, especially David and our friends Sam Peck and Michael Dodson, and we often sit and work on journal in all manner of spaces during the convention. We can often be found working in our journals in our hotel rooms, hotel lobby, and bar, taking notes during sessions, and even passing around journals and sketchbooks before dinner.

For this conference, I was fortunate to spend an entire day working in my journals, as David and Sam presented a pre-conference, full-day workshop. It was great to spread out and journal. I was able to add to a lot in all of my journals. One thing that I used a lot was some punchanella - also know as sequin waste. These narrow ribbons of circles make great stencils for painting and drawing.

Of course, since the convention is a massive professional development, there are all kinds of presentations and workshops, and the journal is a prime space for taking notes, but these aren't the notes from your school days. These are visual and colorful, and often include imagery and collage elements. I'll go back in the future and embellish the notes and include more color and imagery.

I am always amazed at how much journaling gets done while traveling.

The JFJ Invade NYC for the NAEA!

We got back late yesterday from New York where we presented a few sold out workshops and one extremely crowded talk for the National Art Education Association's annual convention. It was an exciting week, with lots of connections, journaling, and a bit of mischief.

We took the train up from Baltimore on Tuesday, and began the convention with a sold out, full-day journaling workshop. It's always great presenting the visual journal to a group of eager art educators, and there was a lot of creative energy flowing the whole day.

I am always astounded by what participants in these workshops do, whether they're art teachers, professional artists, or creative hobbyists. I love connecting with them, and sharing my passion.

But the journaling wasn't confined to just the workshop spaces, and at any given time we could be found working in our big books or our pocket sketchbooks, both at the convention hotel and out for dinner and drinks.

This convention was pretty special, too, because we were able to connect with some vendors, who graciously donated some awesome materials for our participants. A special thank you goes to Nasco Arts and Crafts who not only supplied us with paint and glue sticks, but also arranged for watercolor pencils and markers from Jolly Austria and brushes from Royal & Langnickel. Another special thank you goes out to Canson who supplied small sketchbooks for our collaborative journal workshop, tet[R]ad - Draw and Play Here. The teachers were so excited to walk out with these materials.

Of course there was time for adventures, silliness, and a little mischief. David met a new friend out and about on the streets of NYC, and even bed time was an adventure with roommates like Sam.

But for me the best moment was when we filled our talk, Confronting the "One and Done" Mentality to beyond capacity. Now we weren't the only presenters to do this. Many of the the rooms were on the tiny side, and there were over 7000 attendees at the convention. But filling a 200 seat room with around 350 people was pretty awesome, and there were many people standing out the door trying to hear our talk. It was a great feeling to have the support of so many!

If you were one of the unfortunate ones who stood at the door, or wanted to attend, but just couldn't because it was too full, then please see our website for a free download of the PowerPoint and notes.

We are grateful to everyone who came out, sat in a cramped room, and wanted to hear what we had to say.

Even on our last day in the city and on our way home on the train, we found time to journal, doodle and draw.

Thank you to the NAEA for accepting our proposals to present, to the vendors who donated materials for us to share, and mostly to everyone who attended a session, who talked with us in the in-between spaces, and who shared their passion, enthusiasm, and creative energy with us. It is that connection that keeps us doing these things.

NAEA Convention - New York City

David and I are excited to be returning to New York City in March for the National Art Education Association's National Convention. Thousands of art educators from all over the world will invade NYC to be part of this annual event, and we'll be offering a variety of workshops and presentations. If you're an art educator, we invite you to join us for in the Big Apple at one of our talks or hands-on workshop.

Wednesday, March 1, 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Journal Fodder Junkies of the World Unite! (pre-conference workshop)
We kick off the convention with a full visual journal workshop, and we're taking it back old school with this. This was the very first workshop David and I presented and what eventually lead to our first book. The original workshop was only a two hour offering, pretty much just a tease of a workshop. Come a day early, and spend it with us as we delve into the visual journal. This is a paid workshop, and you will not be able to register on site. Make sure to register now so that you don't miss out.

Thursday March 2, 11:00 AM - 12:50 PM
Tet[R]ad: Draw and Play Here—Collaborative Journal Exchange Workshop (hands-on workshop)
Participants are introduced to the international visual journal exchange project known as tet[R]ad, and invited to get involved and engage in a one-to-one journal exchange with another art educator.

Thursday, March 2, 4:00 PM - 4:50 PM
Sketchbook and Visual Journal Speed Date
Bring your sketchbook or visual journal and participate in our interactive session – a speed date where we’ll share in a series of quick opportunities to learn and meet someone new!

Friday, March 3, 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM
Confronting the “One and Done” Mentality
Discover how to shift from “one and done” projects to a student-direct curriculum that honors personal goals, yet infuses the standards into a structure that allows for artistic inquiry.

Saturday, March 4, 1:30 PM - 3:20 PM
Priming the Pump: Creative Kick-Starters (hands-on workshop)
Using simple and fun activities and a few basic materials, this workshop focuses on engaging students in unique ways to generate original solutions to various artistic problems.

Make certain to register online to insure a spot in the hands-on workshops!

We hope to see you in New York!

To Chicago and Back Again

The whirlwind that has been my March has finally subsided, and I am finally sitting and relaxing at home enjoying the beginnings of my Spring Break. I have been going nonstop for the last three weeks with trips to Portland, Oregon; Galax, Virginia; and lastly Chicago, Illinois. Though I have had some down time during these trips, nothing beats sitting on my own couch, in my own place, with my animals curled up beside me.

Chicago and the National Art Education Association's 2016 National Convention were a blur of activity, friends, and connections. As I said in the previous post, Dave and I began the Convention by teaching two Pre-conference workshops, and things just got pretty crazy after that.

During the first official day of the Convention, we got to sit in on a few sessions, before presenting to approximately 300 people on the visual journal. Our talk, Scaffolding the Visual Journal, was all about advising teachers how they could guide and mentor their students to a richer, more meaningful journal practice. At the end of the session, a teacher in the back stood up and gave a touching testimonial for visual journaling and how much it has impacted not just her students, but also her, as she dealt with the recent loss of her mother. Dave and I are not certified Art Therapists, but we have experienced and witnessed the power of the journal first hand.

For the second and third days of the Convention, we spent at least three hours each day at Chester Book Co. in the Exhibitors Hall signing books and connecting with people. Going to sessions and giving talks is a valuable part of the Convention, but I often feel that the biggest impact happens during those one-on-one moments. We are very thankful to Al Krysan for inviting us into his space. This is the 4th year that Al and Chester Book Co. have offered us a chance to sign copies of our books. Thanks again, Al.

Dave co-taught a hands-on session with our friend Michael Bell on the Seven Deadly Sins, bright and early on the last day of the Convention. Though it was at 8AM, Saturday, they had a sold-out group and the energy and enthusiasm was a great kick off for their day.

Our final day in Chicago was a lot more slow paced, and after sleeping in, we enjoyed a rooftop brunch with some Canadian friends at Cindy's at the Chicago Athletic Club. Afterward, we enjoyed a nice stroll around Millennium Park and part of the city.

A late night flight got us to Baltimore and eventually home. We are so grateful for all of the new connections we made, and all of the reconnecting that was done. We are genuinely touched by the people who came a day early to take a pre-conference workshop with us and by the number of people who attended our presentations and who came to talk to us during our book signings. We can't wait to do it all again next year in New York.

NAEA National Convention - Day 1

We had a packed first day of activity at the NAEA Convention, and we taught two hands-on Preconference Workshops sharing tips for collaboration, drawing games, and disruptions.

Both groups were small and intimate, but very enthusiastic. It was nice to connect with new folks and reconnect with people we've met before. We hope that we left the participants with lots of ideas that they can take back to their studios and classrooms.

After the workshops, it was dinner and hanging out with friend and fellow educator/artist Michael Bell. It was definitely a good first day.

Chicago, Here We Come!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, and it isn't slowing down yet as I get ready to head out to Chicago for the National Art Education Association's National Convention. Art Teachers from around the world are descending on the Windy City for three days of Art Education fun, play, and serious learning.

Chicago is a special place for the JFJ, because ten years ago Dave and I attended our first National Convention together as the Journal Fodder Junkies. We weren't scheduled to present, but we did an impromptu presentation when someone didn't show leaving a room full  of participants pondering how they were going to get into another session. So, Dave and I jumped up and said, "We've got something to share." We introduced ourselves, and shared an activity based on Angeles Airren's book Signs of Life.

When several people came up to us and said that it was one of the best presentations they had been to, we knew we were onto something. If two schmucks could jump up with nothing but some scrap paper they picked up off of the table, and give a compelling presentation to a room full of people, they must be doing something right. And for the last ten years Dave and I have been spreading the word.

Chicago is going to be awesome! I can't wait. I get there tonight, and we hit the ground running tomorrow with pre-conference workshops.

I am completely awed to think of the hundreds and thousands of people that we have met, spoken to, and inspired. Who have thought? Ten years and going strong.

Here's to 10, 20, 30 more!!!