Friday, February 15, 2013

Guest Post ~ Susan Ernst, Journal Keeping and Blogging

I'm so delighted to introduce artist Susan Ernst. I met Susan through a Gratitude journal challenge last year during the month of November and I was so impressed with her artistic gifts (she makes her own paper for one thing) that I wanted to spotlight her on my blog. Be sure and visit her blogs for inspiration in multiple areas and leave her some comment love :)

Journal Keeping and Blogging

Since my early school days I have been enamored with notebooks, pens and pencils. Opening the stiff binding, touching the smooth lined pages, making notes with my best handwriting in bright blue ink or with the sharp point of a pencil has always been a thrill. Even today, blank journals with beautiful covers allure me. I keep a journal for almost every aspect of my life: gardening, travels, day to day events, prayer, bible study, general research on various topics. All of these are on-going.

Then there are visual journals. About a decade ago, I took a visual journal workshop at the BrookfieldCraft Center, taught by CharlotteHedlund. It was so much fun, thought expanding and creative, I have been making and working in visual journals, altered and handmade books ever since. Not to say that I have amassed a huge collection. Most are still works-in-progress. When time allows I return to them. Each time I thoroughly enjoy the experience and tell myself I need to come back to it again soon. But then something always seems to pull me in another direction…

Blogging is an extension of physical journal writing with the creativity of a visual journal, but is even more dynamic. Photos can easily be inserted and written about. Much faster than putting together a physical photo album. Hyperlinks can be embedded into the blog post keeping information easily accessible. No photocopies or notes need to be written to summarize articles read elsewhere, places or events visited, movies or videos seen. The internet has information on all these topics and a click on a link takes you there, providing a more complete experience.

And the fact that someone may actually be reading what it is I am writing adds another dimension. No longer am I writing for myself, but also for a potential reader. I believe this helps me write more completely, wanting the reader to understand what it is I am trying to say. In personal journal writing, a type of shorthand can be used since I know what it is I am thinking. Whatever words are put onto the paper will be reminders of the thoughts, feelings or questions I had at the time I wrote them. Specifics aren’t always necessary.

Just as I keep separate journals for separate topics, I have four blogs for different interests. The decision to create separate blogs was made with readers in mind. If this was to be a private blog, chronicling the adventures of my life, I believe I would have created only one. As I read the blogs of others, I do appreciate the authors who stay on topic. For instance, if I am following an artist who writes about her work, adding recipes for chicken soup is a little distracting. Likewise, if a follower is reading my art blog for information on papermaking or printmaking, he may not want to read about caterpillars on fennel plants or childhood memories.

My blogs are:
HoneysuckleCottage and Wisteria Studio - my first blog, this is where I post most often. I discuss the art I create - the process and the inspiration behind it.

My Big Backyard: The Diary of An Amateur Naturalist - here I post photographs and write about birds, small animals, butterflies, dragonflies, bees and other insects and natural phenomena occurring in my little world.

HortusConclusus – Literal as well as figurative, this blog explores the physical gardens which I cultivate, the spiritual garden within, and the intellectual garden of horticultural knowledge gathered through decades of study, observation and practice.

StoriesMatter - a blog about the family stories I heard growing up and stories about my own life. This blog is new and does not contain much at the moment, but I have great aspirations for it!
The difficulty for me comes when my interests overlap. My horticultural experiences often inspire my art. Planting flowers that produce seeds attractive to goldfinches is a post fitting for both my nature and gardening blogs. I suppose the important thing isn’t so much how to organize experiences, but to enjoy them and to share them with others.

I thank you for taking the time to read my guest post and I thank Anne for giving me the opportunity to write to you. I hope that you want to read more on one or all of my blogs.  


  1. Good morning, Susan! Thanks so much for being here and sharing your beautiful journals and art work with us. I admit I'm a starter and not a finisher of journals. I need to remedy that :)

  2. thanks Anne! yes, so many ideas, so little time! Having many interests makes life interesting and there is never a dull or boring moment, is there?

  3. I love this post and am so glad to meet Susan! I appreciate the way she thinks about keeping her blogs focused. I have a draft I was writing about the differences between journaling and blogging- so this title caught my eye and I did a double take! Thanks for sharing...I love peeking in the journals of artists! Looking forward to visiting SUsan's places and figuring which I want to visit most!

    1. You'll have a tough time choosing between her blogs! They are all fascinating. Thanks for stopping by, Dawn. Hope you have a blessed weekend :)

  4. I really want to start keeping an art journal but just don't have the time right now. Blogging, ebay, the farm, the husband... keep getting in the way! Lol. Maybe soon...

    1. I started one and didn't get very far before kitchen renovations had me packing away my supplies :( I am itching to get back to my paper crafting!
      Ebay, did you say? Do you have a store?


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