Art in a Sense
Smells, sights, textures, tastes, and sounds shape spaces and experiences. Explore your surroundings and your senses further with me via Destination Journal (DJ for short) posts, sensory tours, walks, and workshops.
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Yours in adventure,
A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of leading students on a Sensory Tour for artist and professor Rachel Simmons’s art journals class. This is the second walk I’ve led this year for her students at Rollins College. A few had never walked the lake path behind the art building and none had participated in a walk focusing on the senses as a form of inspiration. We were fortunate to have an evening full of textures, sounds, smells, and a bunny sighting or two.
This month explore a new path in your neighborhood. What do you smell or hear? Jot down your impressions in your Destination Journal.
A recent Destination Journal took place in the home of an urban planner and master gardener. Some notes from the field: straight rows of fragrant, Florida native plantings; purple veins; a family history of rocks and fossils; plants and markings and making marks; a lesson on moss.
Today, take a few notes from your own backyard or background and jot them down in your Destination Journal.
“The world is extremely asymmetrical and the things that rest on it are fairly level.” – a slice of Summer Rodman’s journal from the recent Destination Journal in College Park, Florida. (Image: Summer Rodman)
The group (5 total) took to the alleys behind a small stretch of businesses, focusing mainly on smelling and hearing. A giant leaf moved down a driveway – causing us to search for its tree; we explored a white, unusual medical complex/former home – urban fossils like scabs on its walls, an abandoned fireplace, and a basketball hoop. Nearby we found freshly poured tar and another white structure with an unknown purpose. We walked into Top Drawer Consignments from the back entrance, the patch of landscaping outside the door was inviting – floral plantings – and inside a change of smell and scenery. We weren’t able to track many smells on the walk – faint burger grease outdoors and eucalyptus or unknown candle scents mixed inside the shop. On the way back to Downtown Credo (our starting and ending spot) we used the sidewalks in front of the buildings – sitting down on benches to pay attention to the waves of cars and the sounds from their radios and passengers – stopping and starting and rolling forward.
Here are a few new, and not-so-new, musings and ongoing goals for 2015. Many are repeat visitors from 2014.
Not large and loud and with a big crowd. Hoping to continue with Destination Journal in 2015 on a small and intimate scale. Workshops and walks in unusual spaces are on the horizon.
Hope to complete some new work based on past inspiration within The Sensory Space of A Bus and other projects.
Book, books, books. Adding some new ones to my collection in 2015 and continue to use them as inspiration for Destination Journal. I particularly adore Visual Editions. Over the past year, I created The Briefcase Library, an underground library with ongoing checkouts and no late fees for Friends of the Briefcase Library. I post images now and then on Instagram: dinamackdj. Also hope to work on more artist book collaborations and to spend more time in libraries, big and small.
Still learning, gathering, asking questions related to the sense of smell. Continuing to incorporate this and the other senses in my artwork, walks, and workshops. I will greatly miss an inspiration and gracious mentor in this area, Victoria Henshaw, who passed away last year.
The studio, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, the swimming pool. More of all three in 2015.
The Sensory Times – I started working on this body of work later last year and am now four issues in.
Little flowers, stems, pods, roots. I STILL love you.
Dollhouse Timeshare. Hope to spend some time with the Dollhouse Timeshare Homeowner’s Association this year.
Here’s to a wonderful January and Happy New-ish Year!
Last month’s Destination Journal brought us to the East End Market for Florida Bookstore Day, organized via indie bookstore Bookmark It. A few sensory notes: coffee, soap, pencils, tape. A great morning of clutter, composition, and conversation with creative and talented women.
This month, visit a farmer’s market, grocery, or bookstore. Do any items in the bins or shelves inspire you? Pick one, have it wrapped, and use the wrapping in your Destination Journal.