Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Peek Inside My Journals

As part of my ongoing series of posts on my sources of Creative InspirationI thought I would continue the discussion begun a couple of weeks ago by Melanie @ Catbird Quilt Studio and Chela @ Chela’s Colchas y Mas on Creativity, by sharing how I work out my creative ideas – using my two journals (and give you a peek inside!)

First here are the two posts that inspired this post:

Catbird Quilt Studio (I love her tagline: “Be powerful. CREATE!”): Creativity Tips from Experts — and Me

Chela’s Colchas y MasCreativity

If you have an interesting post on Creativity/the Creative Process, please share the link to your post in the Comments section to this post. I know I’ve read such posts on other blogs I follow, however these are the posts that recently come to mind.

I’ve posted about on of my journals previously, in my 01/16/2016 post Creative Inspiration: My Journals, but I thought it would be fun in this post to share a peek inside these journals (a glimpse inside the madness…smile).

As I shared in the 01/16/2016 post, I originally got the idea of keep an art quilt ideas/inspiration journal from Jean Wells Keenan‘s brilliant books Intuitive Color and Design: Adventures in Art Quilting and Journey to Inspired Art Quilting. I was also fortunate enough to take her series of classes, Journey to Art Inspired Quilting, twice and see in person her wonderful inspirational art quilting journal.

Journal One: Art Quilt Sketchbook (Windows to My Creativity)

My journal for sketching out quilt ideas and keep clipped images (like from magazines) or photos of inspirational ideas, has a handmade cover:


It is called “Window to My Creativity” (thus the window like pieces images on the cover); and here is the inside page:


Before we go any further, I need to warn you that you might be underwhelmed with my drawing/sketching abilities and as a bonus I have terrible, difficult to read handwriting – but it works for me!

Here are examples of some of the images pasted into my journal to inspire future art quilt projects:


I sketch out and write notes on any art quilt idea.

Example #1 – from The Recycled Door

The original sketch
The finished piece: The Recycled Door (2017) by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Guadalupe Designs, photographed by Marion Shimoda

Example #2 – The Lesson & The Equation

The initial sketch and working out the concept of the piece and the draft Artist Statement
Individual page 1
Individual page
Article 1_TierneyDavis
The final version: The Lesson & The Equation (2016) by Tierney Davis Hogan. Image courtesy of Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi

Example #3 – Recycled Love

The initial sketch
Current progress

As you can see originally I had quite ambitious plans – I was going to stitch or appliqué the following words onto each of the “folded quilts” in the piece: kindness, empathy, integrity, compassion, joy, respect, honesty or unity (I was going to have to get rid of one of those words to get to 7). Instead I decided to just do a different piecing of recycled materials to create each “folded quilt”.

There was a great quote (in the book Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (1993) by David Bayles and Ted Orland about ideas being larger than ability or desire to execute. I forgot the specific words to, so I will just very loosely summarize: Your ideas for a piece and might be greater than your ability or desire to execute the piece.

After reading that book I accept that how I initially conceptualize, visualize, dream about a piece is likely going to be larger and more ambitious than how I can translate it into an physical quilt. This leads to much less frustration.

Recycled Love is still in progress and you can see it in progress in this recent post – Recycled Love (“What’s On My Lap” and Artist Statements, Part III).

By the way, I did decide to do a “facing” to finish the piece. I am nearly done with the hand quilting and hope to finish this piece soon (and share complete photos)

Journal Two: The tierneycreates Journal

I use my other journal, which does not have a handmade cover, for writing down ideas for my tierneycreates blog posts, and planning of my artistic journal.When I had an Etsy shop I wrote out the original ideas and planning for the shop in this journal. I also keep  inspirational quotes I come across, and notes from self-improvement books or small business/craft business books for future reference and inspiration.



Below are some journal page examples:


Fun with Sharpies

Finally, I love Sharpies pens/markers, I think I have them in nearly every color made and keep them in a pouch by my journals.

I use Sharpies to write in my journals and the fun of using these markers (and other cool colored markers I’ve picked up over the years) is also a source of creative inspiration for me!

Sharpie Marker/Pen Collection

So – what about your journaling practice: do you keep a journal to work out your creative ideas? Pleas share!

41 thoughts on “Creative Inspiration: Peek Inside My Journals”

  1. What an inspiring post – takes creative journaling to a new level! Be good to try this with ideas for painting, but I’d probably base it in digital material.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you so much 🙂
      The longer I blog the more I share as I was thinking a couple of years ago I would not have shared inside my journals…but now that we are all blogging friends…. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Think there is a lot of incentive for creatives to keep such journals these days – and share them. Love the way you covered yours.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my! Your journals are great. I have never been successful using one, though I do write/scribble/sketch ideas all the time. Keeping them in one place is my point of incapability.

    This: ” ideas being larger than ability or desire to execute” ALWAYS. ALWAYS. and I have mostly accepted that fact, but it continues to disappoint me. Fortunately, I’m not a perfectionist, so when things don’t turn out as the ideal, I can move on. My green man might be a larger-than-my-ability project, but I’m going to give him a go. 🙂

    Thanks for the shout-out. (Ain’t Chela something? 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do adore our blog sister Chela! You are pretty awesome yourself 🙂
      Thanks for your comments on my journals and yes I love that idea of accepting that what’s in your head is great but it most likely will not translate into fabric (or whatever medium you are using) exactly the image in your head 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your journals are so interesting, Tierney – I really like seeing the early sketches of some of the quilts you’ve discussed. The quilted journal cover must make the perfect home for more quilting ideas (like wrapping the ideas in a lovingly made quilt of their own, which is also a window!). I like the in-journal photos you’ve presented, too; they’ve got really interesting patterns, textures and colours, and I love it when artists find inspiration outside of their medium. I feel like I understand a little more how you manage to stay so prolific!! 🙂 And, what beautiful quotes (I think the one by Epicurus hits the spot!). Thanks for this inspiring peek into your creative process! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and it is funny – a couple years early into blogging there is no way I would have shared *inside* my journals but now that I am among friends… 🙂
      (and any random person coming across my blog – ha!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for letting us look inside your journals. I enjoyed the ride. Your sketches of plans for quilts look similar to mine, so you have one reader who was not “underwhelmed” by them!
    Once I a a month I go to an art journalling class with Sally Scott ( where I have great fun.
    I too have a set of coloured gel pens and ballpoints

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the Peek inside your journals. Even before I started quilting and creating pieces from fabric, I always kept a drawing/writing journal. Now, I use a graph paper composition book for my designs. I made quilted covers for these design books. I also keep a book where I post photos of my products, along with the story or inspiration for the product.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your process/journaling – I am very interested in how other creatives use their journals (hoping to pick up some tips!). That is great it a book with photos of your creations and the inspiration – love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Looking inside artists’ sketchbooks and studios are two of my favourite things. They show the creative process and that is always fascinating. So I loved looking into yours. Thank you for sharing, because it is an intimate thing. I loved seeing the evolution of your “lesson/equation” quilt. It is a beautiful work, and a tribute to your father. What a wonderful thing to teach you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well thanks for reading and I appreciate your comments 🙂
      Oh a couple of years ago I would not have shared but the longer I blog the more I just let it all “hang out” (like journal pages, ha!) Thanks so much for your kind words 🙂


  7. You have so many creative outlets, that is so wonderful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing an inside glimpse of your artist mind and your processes.
    I doodle and draw a lot and have started trying to be more concrete in quilt block designing by using graph paper. Writing has never come easily to me, probably explains why it takes me forever to write a blog post 😋
    Anyway, It is a pleasure following your and Chela’s creative blog journeys!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the idea of having 2 different journals. I don’t quilt but your work is such an inspiration. I can tell that so much love and thought goes into your pieces. I must log on more to read up on everything. Can’t wait to see your finished product of Recycled Love. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much – it just sort of came to me one day – I that I needed these separate journals. I really appreciate your thoughtful comments and I do have an Instagram post (tierneycreates on IG) of Recycled Love and will share as a blog post in the future 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awesome. I just looked it up and found it. I also have an Instagram. Haven’t made a whole lot of use of it but I’m determined to get my family involved in the blog so it’ll come in handy. My Instagram is artsyfartsymamadeb.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Your post was very informative and inspirational! I too keep journals — one with graph paper and one lines for writing — I did manage to make covers for both! I love how detailed your sketches are. When I see something I like I do very rudimentary outlines and use colored pencils to indicate different fabrics— I love how you put a lot of thought into your creations. After reading your post, Melanie’s and one from Christa Watson I’m am now looking to my surroundings for inspiration! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you so much 🙂
      You are too kind to call my sketches “detailed” – detailed is something I dream of in the future, ha!
      Thanks also for sharing your process, I love reading about how other creatives work through ideas! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks so much for sharing your journals! So much more organised than mine – which in effect are post it notes dotted around the place. Once moved I really need to sort myself out like this!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, I do love sneaking a peek into other people’s craft journals! I especially like your quilting book, with its very own quilted cover! Also, your handwriting is both legible and lovely… It looks like a fancy script font. I’m a big fan of journals too, and I keep one just for knitting, a sketchbook or two, little portable ones for noting down ideas on the go… But even with that, my desk is always heaped high with notes scribbled on scrap paper and the backs of envelopes! Conclusion – nothing works out an idea like seeing it written down! Thanks for sharing your pages, Tierney!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess this means we can be friends as you can actually read my writing (a feat few have achieved) – ha!
      Thanks so much for your comments and I agree with your thoughts on writing down ideas. It seems like my ideas on fold the moment I start to scribble – I have some good stuff in my mind but when I put it to paper then it become real (and realistic when I discover sometimes what is in my head is not translatable into reality!) 🙂


Comments are closed.