Exploring Creative Journaling: A Class with Tom of Sugar Turtle Studio

One of the things that I was most excited about at the St. Louis Pen Show was taking a class. While I’ve certainly taken advantage of classes to learn more about fountain pens in the past, I really felt like this year’s offerings were expanded in breadth. One of the ones I took the plunge for was Exploring Creative Journaling, taught by Tom at Sugar Turtle Studio.

Class registration was $65 and included 2 hours of instruction plus supplies to get you started. Tom included a notebook to start creating in (made from a variety of papers). He added a fine liner, stickers, washi tape, and scissors to get you started thinking outside the box. There was also a plastic sheet (I don’t know what this is called but I assume it’s to place between pages so things don’t bleed through or gum up the other side of the page!). And everything came to us in a super fun Rickshaw journaling pouch!

The purpose of the class, according to Tom, was to improve your relationship to journaling. No matter what goals you came in with, he wanted to create an environment where you felt comfortable pushing your own boundaries on what a journal can or should be. He encouraged everyone to keep an open mind and led us through several exercise to show us how many different forms creativity can take.

One of the things I loved most about the class was that he brought tons of examples of his own journals (and those of a few others) to give us ideas on what creative journaling could look like. Many of us in the class are pretty good at writing in a journal, but long to add more visual elements. I hate to say it but I’m not a huge out of the box thinker and I don’t experiment (without getting self conscious) very often. The best way I can explain it is by likening it to how I knit. I almost always start with a pattern. I might modify the pattern a little for personal taste, I usually substitute a different color yarn based on what I have in my stash, and I like to add creative elements, but I’m always starting from something that already exists. So when journaling, I have a hard time throwing caution to the wind and letting it go.

The class was really great. It was relatively small; I believe we had about 15 people. So you could explore your own journaling, while also socializing a bit and seeing how others chose to follow the prompts. Tom was warm and funny, and a great guide through the class. If you like journaling and have the opportunity to take a class with him, I would highly encourage you to do it!

So have I added anything to my journaling since I’ve returned home? Maybe a little? This is the current spread including lots of stickers and some red and blue (patriotic?) ink splotches, which you know I love making (just take an eyedropper with a bit of ink, hold it well above the page and let ‘er rip – use newsprint to keep the work surface from getting to spattered!). I’m also tempted to subscribe to more print magazines. I used to love cutting old magazine up for eye catching images, colors, and articles/headlines of interest. Maybe I’ll go back to my young adult collaging roots?

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2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I LOVE ‘cutting and pasting’ as my husband says! It is so relaxing and fun! I especially love the see through stickers (it’s easiest to peel them off with tweezers) and they don’t need to be placed in a certain place – a corner, center, edge – makes the pages more fun! Then I write around them with colored pens of all types – so relaxing!

  2. Art journaling is the best, your pages turned out great!

    I’d recommend visiting a thrift shop and picking up some old magazines if you want to explore some collaging – it’s fun to pick a few odd ones to play with!

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