Our Putting Pen To Paper series, features different individuals & showcases what they use their favourite notebook for. It could be for to-do lists, sketching, song writing, illustrations, notes, daily gratitudes & everything in between.
I am a textile artist and student midwife. I balance full time study with my art commissions; painting patterns allows me an opportunity to decompress from a theory-dense degree.
Plain or Lined paper?
I often reach for an unlined journal or notebook if I have a creative idea I want to capture, or a fascinating sentence I read. I think visually. For my studies I still prefer to write my notes by hand in lined notebooks over using a computer. If I have lined paper with hand-written text on it, I can ‘see’ it in my mind to remember a note on a particular page… this is a very handy knack when it comes to exams! I cannot repeat the same with typed notes.
When do you put pen to paper?
I find I can become overstimulated by inspiration. I feel a lot calmer securing a tangible concept on paper to return to in times of creative blocks. The compact size of the Dreamer journal is perfect for when I am in between lectures, to write myself little notes such as how to connect the theory I am learning to a personal experience for future reflections. Coffee (or wine) in hand is a must if I am to have a note-taking/sketching session.
What inspired the Pen to Paper in your images?
Recently I have been drawing and painting a myriad of unique body silhouettes and figures as I am studying a career which will see me encountering all sorts of bodies as a midwife. For Pen to Paper I was still in the process of sketching one of these silhouettes and playing with positive and negative space, using the Plain Leather Notebook. I love the tactile, flexible nature of this journal and I have found it perfect to draw endlessly; there are many pages to use, I don’t feel like I am going to run out and it allows my mind to run wild with a pen in hand.
What does journaling look like to you/how do you journal?
The way I journal is mostly visual, with pen and paper, or a combination of drawing/painting complemented with scrawled notes on how I might link one of my designs to a concept I am exploring. I enjoy juxtapositions and oxymorons, and often the simplicity/repetitive nature of many of my artworks is contrasted with a relatively complex thought pattern which is revealed if you open one of my journals.
One artwork I was exploring filled pages with sketches of plants that were used as contraception hundreds of years ago, all so that I could create a wallpaper design that might allude to the femininity, beauty, and childbearing traits that traditional society has constrained ‘woman’ to. What brought me joy was seeing this rigid expectation visually challenged by contraception, which remains an empowering control that only we can have over our bodies. As a student midwife I believe in autonomy, educated choices, the empowerment of self, and trust in our intuition.
For years I have tried keeping a daily diary on and off and failing to maintain the act. I have realised that writing reflections of my stance on a subject at a point in time is far more fruitful in my personal growth; this could be every week, or even just once a year. I try not to be hard on myself with a task like this, as I am less likely to repeat it.
Feeling creative & want to put pen to paper yourself? Start here with this favourite notebook of Alanna's.
Follow Alanna on Instagram HERE & Shop her beautiful work HERE
* A percentage of each purchase made through Alanna's website is donated to a local New Zealand organisation which is working to support Māori wāhine during pregnancy and childbirth. *
Imagery by Holly Burgess & from alannajosie.com