A Babe & Her Beasts Mini-Album by Vanessa

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The following is a guest post from Awesome Ladies Creative Team member Vanessa. Today Vanessa is sharing another one of her amazing mini-albums. She finds inspiration in the most incredible places. 

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A couple of months ago, I saw a picture of this ancient medical booklet.

A Babe & Her Beasts mini-album

It shows the human body, all the different zodiac signs and what they rule in the human body. How amazing is the writing that surrounds the illustration? Doctors carried this pamphlet type book as a memory jogger should they need it. I thought it was so cool both in content and visually. I really wanted to make one myself. But I couldn’t find the right angle to approach it.

I finally found the time to watch the Details Mini Book at Studio Calico and it hit me: I have so much ephemera and stamps and papers that show all of my favorite animals, all of my totem beasts if you will. I have three tattoos and they are all related in some way to animals and my family. Why are these animals so important to me? Why am I attracted to representations of them, enough to buy stamps and washi and bring back ephemera from my travels representing these animals? I thought it was time I documented this.

A Babe & Her Beasts mini-album

For this mini, I decided to print photos of the animals that mean something to me and to document why and how I identify with them. Looking at all of the material I have and the imagery they show, I realised that I am inspired by archetypes. I found some vintage stock-free images on the net and printed them on vellum. The softness of the vellum printed images is so appealing. I love how this tiger image goes perfectly with this picture of me.

A Babe & Her Beasts mini-album A Babe & Her Beasts mini-album

I explained my tattoos: the unicorn which has been my favorite animal since I was a child, representing magic and imagination in my everyday life. It’s also a symbol of feminine energy to me. I try to live an authentic life and the unicorn represents that quest clearly. The narwhal represents the ‘possible’ unicorn.

A Babe & Her Beasts mini-album A Babe & Her Beasts mini-album

My swallows represent my children; they can fly with their own wings but can return to me anytime. I am like the swallow in the sense that I love to explore but I am loyal and always return to my roots. That symbolism is very meaningful to me.

A Babe & Her Beasts mini-album

My constellation tattoo is of the Lupus or Wolf constellation. To me, a wolf is an intelligent creature, undeserving of its evil reputation. A wolf is loyal to one partner all its life. I call my children ‘ti-loups’ (little wolves) so my husband is Big Wolf. I traced some wolf drawings on a transparency so they would overlay the picture and I love the effect.

A Babe & Her Beasts mini-album

Speaking of my children, I am their lion-hearted mother. I will do anything to protect and encourage them. I am also prideful like the lion and try to work on that as to not to let it overpower me.

A Babe & Her Beasts mini-album

I was born in 1975, in the Year of the Rabbit. Both the rabbit and the jackalope are personal totems for me and I love all types of ephemera representing them. Just like the unicorn and the narwhal, they are like two sides of the same animal for me.

A Babe & Her Beasts mini-album

Just like Kristin, I believe your story matters. Every part of it. Many things we take for granted or do not take the time to explain fully – sometimes even to ourselves. With this mini, I wanted to document and make clear why these symbols are important to me. There are a few others in the album (the fox, the magpie, the stag, the cat), I will share all the pages on my blog in the coming days.

Is there a story that you would like to tell? Something that you take for granted, that you believe people know but may not? I hope this inspires you to tell that story, to document those details, to contextualise these elements of your life. I’m so curious (like the cat!) to see what you will come up with!

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Supplies used: various 6 x 6 paper (including Basic Grey’s Aurora), vintage ephemera, wrapping paper, vellum, transparencies, magazine images, Crate Paper Open Book labels, stickers, stamps, washi tape, Instax pictures, neon acrylic cover, rings.