Deborah is an artist whose focus is on creative art journaling and its power in recovery and healing. Her background is in graphic design and as an illustrator. Deborah runs Core Art Journaling, working with young adults to help them connect visually to their thoughts and feelings.
Join Deborah Porter in our What’s your Worth? event taking place on August 26th.
You mention on your website about art journaling as a crucial part of your own recovery — can you say a bit more about how journaling has been helpful for you?
My struggle to verbally articulate my feelings led me to mental health issues all throughout my life. When living isolated in The Alps I hit my rock bottom and found myself using old books and my collage stash to start having visual conversations with myself. I creatively explored my thoughts and feelings by immersing myself in the daily self care of art journaling. I was relieved to finally have a space that I could see visually what I was feeling inside. It’s then that I started to explore healing through the process and to make sense of where I was and where I wanted to go.
What is it about journaling that you find so powerful in creative expression?
The power of art journaling is in the letting go. I don’t know or plan what is going to evolve onto my page and that means trusting the process and not controlling how things look. By creatively connecting and listening to my inner self I unload my thoughts and enjoy the process. My journals give form to my inner world.
Is there a specific process you use with journaling? How do your ideas begin and develop?
Preparing my altered books is a bit like a ritual, tearing out pages, choosing images to save and painting each page with gesso takes patience but my journal is going to be with me and used every day so its worth taking the time and care over. The actual process is about building layers of self awareness and your stories. It starts with free flow writing or cognitive exercises which then get covered with paint.
After that we build layer by layer with mixed media and intuitive collage.
You can see an example of how to prepare your books in my video below.
You work primarily with young people — what lies behind your passion in supporting young people?
When I was in my early teens I stopped talking. It was only through art that I felt noticed. At that age I didn’t have the skills or support to know how to deal with my emotions.
I knew teenage art journaling would be a positive wellbeing tool to help other vulnerable young people because there are no rules and you can’t get it wrong. The silencing of the inner critic through mindful mark making, free flow writing giving permission to unload real thoughts and being playful with mixed media can all help with mental health and building resilience. The work is about process not perfection.