Art journaling for self cares

I am running some art journaling classes in Edinburgh and I have produced a blog post that will be available on the Eyre Place Osteopathic practices’s blog soon – I thought I would share here too.

‘I have been visiting Eyre Place Osteopathic Practice for a few years and have enjoyed Osteopathic treatment from a variety of staff. Glynis asked me to produce some art for her 18th year anniversary celebrations. So when Monika and I decided to set up a business for art journaling for self- care I immediately thought of 23 Eyre Place as a venue to host a course. ( Monika and I don’t at present have our own premises) We are

you can book appointments and visit Glynis And her team at they also blog at

Some of Tess’ art journalling pages for an international letter swap

I am an artist teacher and Monika is a counsellor, we met running art journaling sessions for Safe Space Dunfermline and enjoyed working with each other so much we decided to see if we could run some classes in Edinburgh.

The course is run along therapeutic guidelines with lots of emphasis on mindfulness and group support. An art activity for example found images and text from magazines used as a starting point to explore feelings around a topic e.g shame. The work is discussed in pairs with an emphasis on the process involved. For example – what did it feel like when you were looking for images, tearing paper, drawing with crayons? What were you thinking of? What came up for you?

Art journaling pages by Tess produced using found images/ text and pen and ink whilst on a visit to a London

It is not art therapy because I am a teacher and the experience is directed, but it can have a therapeutic result. An important part of the session is whole group work. Where members explore their experiences verbally and are listened to by the group.

Using origami as a journal – making a piece to reflect on ‘change’ a well established group is experiencing changes to workers and participants and it was important to work through that

You can find the Healing Therapy Centre on Instagram : healingtherapycentreedinburgh

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Reflecting on my Soul Restoration process

I have been working on the ‘SoulRestoration’ course by Melody Ross since the 12th of January. I am enjoying the process of art making regularly in my journal. The art seems to get looser and looser.

I have always been messy. It has been great using my stress protector mandalas as back grounds and finding a more natural ‘Tess’ process.

I am still drawn to blues and am working through the stack of gelatos that I acquired in Korea. I love them ,but won’t be replacing in-kind because of all the plastic.

Debbie Howard introduced me to them when I complained that I didn’t like working with oil pastels in my art journal. They are water soluble, highly pigmented and deliciously squidgy, the consistency’s almost like lipstick or face paint.

It’s been interesting progressing through the stages that Melody has designed . Debbie is a mentor and sounding board after training as a facilitator with The Brave Girl University last year. I think it is important to feel supported through this process. I feel held

There is a lot of industry – internal processing and sitting with how you feel. My stomach is tightening just at the thought of ‘it’.

I journal and write notes as I watch the videos, text Debbie and use Instagram and Face book to show and tell. I wanted to do this because of the regular journalling. There is less built in art journalling than I thought there would be. I need to process the ideas and feelings through art making.

My group of friends in Oxfordshire are meeting once a fortnight to do the course with Debbie whilst I am in Edinburgh.

There is an isolation from the group but I am enjoying the space to create my own ideas and images. I did go back to bed one day and hide because I didn’t want to work through some hard issues. I felt much better after I plucked up the courage to just get on with it

My pages over the last few weeks

I added a mandala sticker by Emily Lagore a long term friend on Instagram

Early morning with my Apps 

I don’t know if it’s my age, menapause , or just the fact that I haven’t recovered from my California jaunt ( we have been back over a week) but I am not sleeping well and was up at 6am wide awake playing with my iPhone ( again)  I only went to bed at 1am…..

Morning routine – tea, check face book, email and Instagram feed. 

If that hasn’t put me back to sleep , then I play with my apps .  

To day it was manipulating my TV doodle from last night  – which was ridiculously intricate 

I tried reflecting it but the shape was too round and the results too flat 

I wanted to add colour without any real effort – so I layered it with another set of doodles from this week using  Imageblender and finishing it off in Snapseed

It was still only about 6.30am 

I fancied layering this with a photo with good contrast- so I checked back with some of my California pictures ( I can’t quite believe I can say that) 

Oakland bridge 

Then I couldn’t resist reflecting it 

Still too early to get up …. 

I remembered my image from Sacremento airport – Imageblender and into Prisma


And back into Reflection , using the invert colour filter , rotate and then layout in Instagram , finally  a yawn …… 

1700 followers on my IG feed 

I am celebrating 1700 followers on my Instagram Feed by making a small journal about the month of November 2015. The journal will be used as the prize in a random draw. It is a free giveaway that I do to celebrate every 100 followers 

This journal is hand stitched I used four pages of random papers and a heavier weight card cover. I usually make these as letter journals which are 8″x4″ so that they fit in a business letter envelope and are cheap to post abroad.
I decided to go with the format of the original pages – the finished book is European A5 size

( approx 8″x5.5″) 
When I journal in this format it is usually a record of a holiday or short break. I use an old book and repurpose it layering the pages with found papers , doodles and images. 

I add doodles from what ever theme /design I am doing at that moment. ( it changes constantly – I normally have some type of cartoon theme and mandalas on the go at anyone time) I use ticket stubs from public transport, the cinema, exhibitions etc. Then I cut up free leaflets – any type of woman and home magazines for text , lettering and individual words. 

The finished pages look a bit like how my feel a brain feels at any one moment , too many layers, ideas and colours. The finished book is not linear representation – however Jon was amused that I got something in about standup in this month.( he was doing a Bright Club comedy routine again ) 


A lot of the time I work in an intuitive way , randomly thinking about colour, shape and design rather that what is going on at that moment. It can feel quite haphazard during the process, but I surprise my self when I look back at how relevant words and phrases creep in. 

This month I visited London to stay with my brother , Skye with Jon, and we live in Edinburgh so there is a Scottish edge.

Motifs: I decided I wanted to learn to draw a ‘Tess’ style of face so I practicing on lots of white stickers that I use to cover up old addresses on envelopes. These feature through out.

I found a couple of interesting books and leaflets – one about how music has influenced your life – in terms of you writing lists of songs – for example – ‘what music would you have at your funeral?’ 

I also found The Benefit make up Christmas advertising freebie – which was full of colour, great text and vintage type ladies.
I don’t always add my photographs to my journals – but I printed out some of my ‘texture / close element photo grids’ that I make on the Pic-Stitch App. These give a flavour of place and mean that I can post 6 or 9 pictures at a time – I use them on my Instagram feed so that I don’t with out bore everybody with a constant stream of images – I post 4 or 5 times a day as it is . 

This grid format has become a feature on my IG feed.It is a short cut , a snap shot – a friend of mine -a graphic designer – commented the other day that she liked the grids, but didn’t use them because they would take to long to make on photoshop……I love my phone apps 

When I have built up some layers I doodle , hand write and then add more layers , sometimes to cover up or add a feature. I answered some of the questions in the list your songs book and then wanted to hide the answers- if I wasn’t giving the journal away I would probably have left the words legible 

The pages feel nice when you run your fingers over the layers. I use cheap PVA glue , this means that the pages don’t stick together too much and stuff doesn’t fall off.  
The giveaway journal has a layer of Modge Podge ( expensive American PVA) on the cover – I love the effect of the glue- it makes everything mesh together 
NB. It is a nightmare if you use it inside because the finished pages tend to stick together. A friend suggested waxing pages or using grease proof paper but that would make the finished journal very bulky 
I made the journal with the intention of giving it away- I found the one I was working in at the time didn’t want to leave me yet. It is an example of how I can work rather than an authentic representation of November 2015