I am trying to create a very safe and inclusive environment for the Australian Art Swap Group, I don't always achieve this and sadly there are some who have left the group because they did not feel either of those things, however for those of us still there I am constantly working on improving it.
One of the ways I strive for inclusion is to encourage everyone to host or co host swaps or to share their ideas for swaps or any other group activity they would like to see happen. Consequently we have a wonderful diversity of artists who all bring different skills and inspire us in different ways.
Janie O'Brien, one of our ladies recently introduced a mini booklet swap and her theme was Nature. I was looking for something to work on over the long hot summer holiday time and remembered how I had enjoyed working on "Birds on the Brain" so ran a "Myth and Magic" mini art journal swap.
I enjoy this swap format, it is 12 A5 size pages - just 3 A4 sheets folded and bound and is an ideal size to really explore a theme and the number of fairly small pages is really manageable. It also fitted easily into my bag so I could take it out and work in it and some days it is just nice to art out in the world, particularly on those hot and humid days we have been having lately, the peace and calm of the air conditioned library was such a relief.
I explored the Wheel of the Year and wanted to make it look old and weathered, like it has been a well thumbed reference for many years, laying about in kitchens and getting splashed on, taken on long rambling walks and journeys, carried about and shared.