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Mind's Eye Journals by Teresa Merriman- A Journey Into the Art
When I First Discovered Mind's Eye Journals
So, there I was, enjoying a glorious day of Florida weather in the late fall, with pleasant temperatures, low humidity and abundant sunshine. There was a good turnout that day due both to the weather and the festivities of the day, with a hint of creativity in the fresh air. While at the time of this writing, I cannot exactly recall how long ago it was, but my good guess is nearly ten years now. During that time frame, there was an impressive art festival taking place at what was then Downtown Disney (which has since been revamped and rebuilt into Disney Springs) that occurred annually and was called, The Festival of the Masters. While I could not speculate how many artists were there displaying their unique work, I do believe it was well over a hundred and likely significantly more. Due to their being so many different artists of varying media, the event was truly impressive to attend.
It’s appropriate of me to note that artists, regardless of venue or style, be it painting, photography, sculpture, music and so on, have always fascinated me, particularly those who have achieved enough vigor, talent and skills to make a living at their craft. After all, we all love artists of some sort, with actors and musicians being the obvious choice of most. But for many of us it is quite easy to forget and overlook those artists who are grinding away at their unique craft and creating beauty and amazement. Yes, we know of some celebrity artists in this fashion through hearing famous names such as Da Vinci, Dali, Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt, and so on. In fact, many are more likely to recognize these names over the work that made their names famous. Regardless, the work and struggle of the artist is alive and well, as suggested with the various arts festivals occurring just about anywhere around the country.
To offer some disclosure, I was there not specifically for the festival but for other reasons, as my wife was working nearby. But I had the time to look around and peruse the work displayed and having a great time while doing so. I saw a lot of incredible photography, sculpture and, in particular, glass sculpture (both of which always catch my eye) and a lot of paintings and hand-made jewelry. But what captured my attention and then made a lasting impression was the location where I saw all these handmade books, journals as you know, created of leather and even handmade paper. Now, as one who is so fond of the art of writing (I do a lot of reading and some writing of my own) I have long harbored a love for beautiful books. But I must say, I have never up to that point seen books so breathtaking in their artistic glory.
I had to stop and look all of this over despite not having ten dollars on me. This bugged me then and still does, since these good people rely on the good of people demonstrating their appreciation of the art through purchasing what they can, and I couldn’t buy a t-shirt. But I had to express my attraction to the art to the sweet and lovely woman there with these journals and struck up a conversation with her. I introduced myself as I ogled the gorgeous art she had created, asking a handful of questions despite feeling a bit guilty in knowing I couldn’t buy a thing at the time. Even after coming clean with this fact, Teresa Merriman (the creator of this wondrous art) was more than gracious and incredibly sweet even with knowing I couldn’t do my part at the time. I peppered her with a handful of questions and she answered these, all the while being so nice and quite down-to-earth. We chatted about whatever it was I went on about despite my growing discomfort that I knew I had to walk away empty-handed. To those of you reading this, I must impress on you it didn’t take long for me to be just as impressed with her sweet demeanor as I was with her art.
Before long I felt uncomfortable for monopolizing her time when she had potential buyers about, so I asked for information and excused myself and walked on. But I just couldn’t shake how impressed I was with such a craft and vowed that I would have at least one of those incredible journals when the fates would allow. Lucky for me, Mrs. Merriman has a website, and over time I’ve purchased five journals through it so far.
Meet Teresa Merriman
To be honest, despite the fact that I was economically depressed for quite a while (the recession was in full swing when I met Teresa Merriman and discovered her artwork, and the times hit me hard) I never forgot that day. I eventually scrounged up enough money to purchase through her website, www.mindseyejournals.com, the least expensive journal on the site. I have to state to all reading this that although this particular journal was the least expensive of all the choices, it was still beautiful and such a sight to behold. It was well made, clearly receiving the love and attention it deserved. That initial goal was met and I was more than impressed to have the little book. The reason I purchased it was because I wanted to hand write a story to my wife for her birthday in that little book to present along with the gift I found (a handmade necklace with sea glass as the pendant) and it felt proper to write the tale in something pretty.
Some time later, years if I’m recalling correctly (it likely would have been sooner if I wasn’t so tech impaired), I found Teresa had a page on Facebook for Mind’s Eye Journals and began following this. I was so enjoying the numerous pictures of the myriad of gorgeous journals she was creating and also the wonderful comments left by those who had bought one or more of the journals and were devoted fans of the work. I had another goal in mind, which was I intended to purchase at least one of the high-end journals (each of which is wholly unique and named) sooner or later, and I reached out to her through the site, stating how I was still in love with her work and aspired to demonstrate that through purchasing something soon. To my delight, she recalled the conversation we had all that time before (which impressed me, since I was broke and feared I was being a nuisance by going on and on without being able to buy) and I still smile when thinking how nice it was that Teresa could recall that after meeting who-knows-how many people across the country over that span of time.
Through things stabilizing for me over those few years, I was able to purchase such a pretty journal and give it to my oldest daughter as a Christmas present. I’ll include a picture of her with that journal should I remember to do so. After she opened it and was quite impressed with the journal, I told her what I knew about the work and creator, stating how this nice woman named Teresa makes a living creating these and travels the country from here to there, and so on. The fact that the beautiful journal was not just pretty in itself but was an example of a great success story for a talented artist solidified how extraordinary it was. By now, this bug had me bit and I wanted more. Months later, I was able to purchase another pretty journal for my younger daughter, who is a budding artist with developing talent in drawing and illustrating. I couldn’t help but to think such a work just might be further inspiration to her, and it felt great to do this. Later in the year, when Teresa’s site offered some clearance and holiday sales, I picked up two more, one for myself and another for my lovely wife.
I maintained some occasional contact with Teresa via Facebook, expressing that I would so like to meet her again should she be at one of the arts festivals around or near Central Florida. Although the Festival of the Masters was no longer occurring at Disney World due to restructuring of what was, as stated before, Downtown Disney into Disney Springs (not that this makes sense to me since they held this festival for years, decades really) there are others here and there, including occasions when there are such arts festivals in Mt. Dora, near Leesburg in Florida. If you’re curious, this is right about near the geographic center of the state.
The time of this writing (when I first started the article) is the fourth of February in 2018, a Sunday, and there was a fantastic arts festival in Mt. Dora, FL over this weekend, with more than 260 artists attending, including Teresa Merriman and her Mind’s Eye Journals. My online stalking was over and I was able to meet this wondrous artist yet once more.
Truly, a Genuine Treat!
The day had come and finally, after really looking forward to this for a few years now, I was finally able to yet again meet and chat with Teresa Merriman, and this time, I was able to select and purchase a journal, on Saturday, the first day of the Mt. Dora Arts Festival. I will admit here that my ultimate goal was to have the ability to purchase exactly the one I desired regardless of the cost, but alas, I wasn’t quite, quite there. But, dear readers, I was able to choose a significantly lovely journal of good size and beauty, a Renegade I believe, and I’m more than happy with it. My goal is to up it’s value by collaborating with my daughter by me writing a tale in it (what that tale is, I haven’t decided) and leaving several pages blank so my daughter Maggie can draw illustrations for the story. Isn’t that a nice idea? I believe that’s a nice idea and look forward to making it happen. Beyond that, I’m happy I picked up a good-sized journal because I’m a leftie with atrocious handwriting, so I need some space to get my awkward mitt in there.
I should note that Maggie and I traversed the extent of the festival, and so much of it was just great. There were many artists whose work caught our eye, and of course there were those whom we glanced at yet simply kept going. We did pick up a couple other things and chatted with a few artists, including this gentleman who is what’s known as an astrophotographer (that’s a mouthful) named John Chumack, and he was incredibly impressive and inspiring with what he’s done and offers. Through yet again meeting Teresa and then being able to chat with a few of the other artists, it made the day so memorable in being able to glimpse into the lives of people who are so incredible and inspiring through their talents and accomplishments. This made me feel a bit saddened that I couldn’t discover the stories and details of all the wonderful artists there, as I’m confident each one of them must have a terrific story to tell.
But I have to say that Teresa and her incredible journals remains far and above such a major favorite. Her place was set up wonderfully and laid out so well (scroll through her FB page and you can find pics and video), and I again had to force myself away as there were many people there desiring to look and seek, and I couldn’t allow myself to consume too much of here time. But I was yet again able to express my love of her work and even received a heartfelt hug as well as the beautiful journal mentioned. That is surely a genuine treat since the first time I met her all I could do was ramble on about how much I enjoyed what I saw and then slink away empty-handed. And it made me feel good to bring my daughter there, so she could see how artists can succeed and flourish once they’ve muscled through the struggle to rise above and then enjoy the sweet taste of success through their talent and effort.
And I should point out that the weather on that day was glorious. The turnout was great and it was such a nice day for all that occurred. And I should note that this area of Mt. Dora is nicely suited to such a scene, as it is a darling little town, with this cultural corner a great backdrop for all things artsy and fun.
A Few Exquisite ExamplesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Not Just a Tremendous Artist, but A Genuine American Success Story
I truly love and enjoy genuine American success stories. I was able to express this to Teresa Merriman, stating that I found her success to be not just exemplary as an artist, but as a genuine American success story. I stated it not just intending to pass on the compliment, but truly feeling it since that’s exactly what this is. She lives in Colorado, in sight of such a gloriously beautiful landscape, where she and her husband have a great home where she’s built a marvelous studio where she creates this wonderful work. To all of you readers, check out her site and Facebook page and take a close look at just how much of a success story this really is. You can also visit www.carolinadesignercraftsmen.com and read more about her work and accomplishments. I don’t even know how many awards she’s won or how many times she has achieved Best In Show at the numerous festivals and exhibits she’s attended, but I know it’s plenty of proof to demonstrate I’m far from the only fan. In fact, she’s accomplished so much that this, in part, catches me by surprise that she remembered me after accumulating a veritable multitude of fans across this great nation. That’s not just an example of success but a testament of extraordinary character. I’m telling you, once you meet her you can’t help but to be drawn in by how awesome she is.
I’ve told many people about her and her tremendous work and will continue to do so. Shortly after visiting the festival on that Saturday I expressed what a great time Maggie and I had on Facebook to friends and family, encouraging others to get down there the next day and check it all out. Now, I’m encouraging anyone who reads this to do the same, at some arts festival some day. Today’s technology means you don’t necessarily have to see her in person (but you’d be glad you did should you have the opportunity) since you can visit her site and view all that’s there to be had.
What’s so amazing about this sort of thing is this art isn’t something that just sits on a shelf or hangs on the wall, but rather something you make your own by creating within the creation. You take the fascinating artwork she’s created and then make it all the more fascinating by getting into those blank pages and furthering the value by making it uniquely your own. I do not recall seeing anything else at the festival allowing one to do that. Sure, I might have overlooked something, not that it really matters, but within each and every one of these handmade and utterly unique journals is the grand opportunity to explore even more creativity through your hand and imagination. These journals don’t merely collect dust; they collect the essence of who you are.
If what I’ve written here doesn’t at least inspire you to take a look and browse around, wow but do you really suck. So don’t really suck, my dear readers, but take the few minutes and check out a great chance to join in on a world of unique creativity and help partake in a truly great American success story.
Just So Many to Choose From!
There are numerous choices for those looking for just the right journal, and surely for those who seek to collect.
Within the Totems, there are four sizes to choose from, with the Booklet being just right in the hand, The Traveler is slightly larger and The Renegade (which is what I recently picked up) is quite good-sized and hefty. And then within this class is The Big Bounty. Go to the site and browse through the photos, or even better, find these at an arts festival surely to be nearby soon. The Totems are of simpler design according to Teresa, but I have to say that they’re still quite lovely to see and hold.
The Trekkers are just superb for those who prefer a smaller journal yet one that’s a bit bumped up in flair and color, and what’s more is there are, at the time being, more than two dozen to choose from. All are unique and affordable at being well under a hundred dollars apiece. Really, if you’re looking to tip your toes into this world of Mind’s Eye Journals, this is a great place to start. I have one of these and find it quite pretty (although I have yet to decide exactly that to do with it) and cannot recommend something similar enough.
The journals entitled Treasures are certainly just that. Presently there are several to choose from on the site, but I imagine these go fast, so be sure to check this out. Now, please note that these are investments as they are a bit more in cost than those indicated above, but once you see them you’ll know how they’re worth every penny. It’s here amongst these Treasures where you certainly see so much of the artist’s creativity and talent flow in. Whether you buy one for yourself or as a gift, you’ll find your choice treasured for sure.
The Tomes are really in a class by themselves, as they’re so incredibly beautiful, with added intricacies such as copper plating etched by the artist, with each being unique. Some have the truly cool clip & rod closing apparatus adding to the grand flavor of the journals. All of these are certainly heirloom quality, dear readers. These journals are for those who are dedicated to having the finest in artistic quality and intend on adding to that quality with what their passion finds most important. There are plenty to choose from and each one is just gorgeous.
You simply must check out what’s known as Trot-N-Jot! These are also pretty and unique journals, but wearable via an adjustable and removable strap, with a pouch to carry a few things with you. Glancing at one from across a room and you might mistake one for a lovely purse or bag, but behold! These are just perfect for anyone on the go who has time to stop and create even more.
Teresa has recently began creating an entirely new line of journals entitled Timbers. Rather than being of leather covers as the others are, these are wooden, with ash, cocobolo and some other choices of wood covers available. They’re singular in their beauty and sure to last for so, so long. Even if you never placed a single mark within one they’re sure to make great conversation pieces. But hey, get in there and make it your own.
Within the website there is more than just the store offering what’s available. You can freely peruse Teresa’s blog, see what others have done with their journals, and CHECK THIS OUT…
Folks, you can actually commission a journal specifically for you and according to your wants and desires. Indicate your desired dimensions and details, whatever else it is that’s stewing in your fevered imagination, and let this illustrious artist take it from there. Goals, goals, goals…
Support the Arts and Be Glad You Did
After all you’ve read thus far, surely you can decipher my penchant for the arts and the support thereof. As stated before, I find artists, and successful artists in particular, to be truly fascinating people. Regardless of whether your preference is painting, sculpture, jewelry, music (hey, we all support this one in some form or another), or whatever the genre, it is the arts that is amongst the few things that separate us from the animals.
Well, there was that one elephant…
But this article has been mainly focused on one particular artist and her art, and I cannot encourage you enough to explore these handmade and unique treasures. I can imagine that a few of you reading this may have already been down this road and we’d all like to hear your thoughts and reaction. But if you have not yet obtained on of the many beautiful Mind’s Eye Journals for yourself or another, here’s a great idea to do so:
Okay, you know there is some sort of art form you prefer, and there’s a pretty good chance this would be music. So, wouldn’t it be so cool if you captured some of your favorite lyrics, or perhaps albums themselves, and cataloged them in a journal just as artistic as the very music you adore? I mean, come on, you’re not going to write this down in some yellow legal pad, are you? How gauche can you be? (I had to check the spelling on that one). Or, you’re not intending to place this in some sterile Word document, are you? Yes, this is just a quick idea, but I thought it up just that quick. How about some favorite family recipes? A long and heartfelt letter to be placed in a time capsule of some sort for your infant, for them to read after your passing?
Hey, I could do this all day. That’s because some of us can demonstrate some commitment and mentally process beyond 140 characters. Just saying.
Here’s something else: The Book of Life is not one long chapter eventually coming to a close; it is a series of numerous chapters filling your life’s book and predicting what that next chapter would be or which one will be the last is more than daunting. I once read something to the effect of, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
If you’ve experienced such moments, even if they were predicated with, “Hey, hold my beer and watch this!”, then I contend this is the perfect place for one to record and hold dear such moments. These are some of the several reasons I find Teresa Merriman’s work so valuable. Sure, we may have an original painting or a handmade vase, or perhaps an impressive sculpture, but so few works of art out there offer the opportunity to become yet further unique and increasing in intrinsic value once they’ve landed in your possession. And these are so well-made and durable that it would not be a clever pitch to say they’re of heirloom quality. It’s so easy to picture family members decades from now looking through one of these journals and relishing not just what they contain, but the beauty the journal itself possesses.
I’ll finally close here with this- please take the moment to visit www.mindseyejournals.com and dig for the treasure sure to become that more valuable as time goes by. I have every confidence you will not regret it in the slightest, but should you might, feel free to send that treasure to me. Saying that, I’m quite sure I’ll not ever receive a single one.
My Pic with the Artist
Where to look online
Mind's Eye Journals, Westcliffe, Colorado. 4.1K likes. Hand-crafted leather-bound journals for the anecdotist in us all.
Handmade leather journals made by Teresa Merriman of Westcliffe Colorado. Each leather journal is entirely handmade using high quality hides, hand etched components, and beautifully exquisite details.