Earlier this year, I watched a David Francey video and burst into tears. My reaction was intense and immediate and I knew I had to pay attention. What was it about these four minutes that stirred something so powerful in me? What was it that touched a part of my heart that was ready to cry in an instant?
My longing to be around the table with openhearted friends in creative communion was demanding attention.
When I was in theatre, one of my favourite parts was sitting around the table with collaborators, sharing ideas, working through obstacles, riffing off one another, hashing things out. It’s electric! More recently, my sister Shannon and I have spent many a Sunday at the kitchen table for Art Day, creating together and talking through our experiences as we delve into a variety of art projects. I love both the collaborative and the parallel creative conversations. They nourish my soul.
I believe these “around the table” moments are creatively essential.
This shared creative time reminds both us and The Universe that we believe in art, that we know creativity is important and that our creativity is worthy of time, attention, love and expression. It also reminds us and one another that it is safe and nourishing to express ourselves in the company of others, that together we can form a supportive and encouraging environment for us all.
Being around the table is one way that we can we honour the work and one another as creatives.
So, when I felt the call, what could I do but answer?
That answer came in the form of Journal Jam, a simple and welcoming circle of creative friendship, an evening of transforming the private act of journaling into a simple but magical shared experience.
I picked a date and a time – Friday, October 7 from 6:00-9:00 – and sent out an email to a small group of friends. I asked everyone to bring their journal and some food or drink to share, if they could. I would provide everything else, from a pot of vegetarian chili to a table full of tools and supplies.
The invitation was simple:
We can have a bite and then we can write or doodle or glue in our journals.
We can chat or we can be quiet.
We can have a tea or a glass of wine.
Totally unplugged. Totally unpretentious.Totally old school.
The idea was to create a relaxed and easy space for enjoying the simple luxury of creative time in a friendly and welcoming space. The message was clear, there’s room for you here.
And so on a Fall Friday, Journal Jam was born.
There was drawing and doodling and dreaming.
There was chili and pizza and chips and chocolate.
There was water and wine and tea and pear spritzers.
There were well-worn journals and brand new journals.
There were women in different decades of life,
women who have journaled for years and women who had never journaled at all.
There was conversation and quiet, reflection and laughter.
There were stories shared and stories discovered.
There was magic around the table.
In one space, at one time, around one humble table, we can all come together and share a creative experience exactly as we are.
I hope you will consider hosting a Journal Jam. I am working on a guidebook/e-course to support you in doing so but you don’t have to wait! As we say here in the studio, “Start where you are with what you have.” Keep it simple. Keep it welcoming. Make it happen. I promise, the magic will show up.
(Btw, I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to “around the table“.)
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If you’ve been looking for a place to fill your creative well, to discover your creative self, to stretch your creative wings, Jamie Ridler Studios is here for you.
When you sign up, you will get a 10% discount on all classes and access to abundant free resources such as Studio Forum recordings on topics such as Journaling, Creative Habits & Challenges! Plus you will receive a weekly email love letter and occasional announcements for courses and offerings.