My name is Vanessa and I am French-Canadian. 

I am an archaeologist who specialises in human remains.

For the better part of my adult life, I spend my time in cemeteries, excavating burials and then studying them to determine the biological profile of the population that lived at that site. I am also very interested in funerary practices and exploring notions of grief and mourning. I am someone who has a very strong emotional bond with their work and how can I not? I am the lucky person, listening to what the bones have to say about that person’s life.

In 2010, my life changed when my family was posted in Hong Kong.

My husband is a diplomat and HK was our first post. This was a very clear pivot moment in my life. Until then, I had always defined myself through my work. And now I couldn’t work in my field anymore. I had a lot of difficulty in defining my new role. I was a stay-at-home spouse in a foreign country and all my years of study and work seemed wasted. I was in a bad place.

In 2011, I went on a walk one night and ended up at a bookstore where I came across a book called 1000 Artist pages. A light bulb turned on in my mind and I thought “I used to do this”. When I was younger, I had a series of sketchbooks – that I called my Nothing Books – and that would hold images that I liked, quotes, song lyrics, lists and doodles. Basically I was art journaling but didn’t know it was called that. So I left the store with that book and a brand new sketchbook.

That night marked the return to my creative side. 

Art journaling for me is a saving grace. A way to process my emotions and thoughts, a way to see the world around me and my place in it.

All these years later, my art journaling practice has grown and evolved but it still remains a daily exercise for me. I became interested in bookbinding. Making books and journals is now also part of my art arsenal. Recently, I have discovered my love of sharing what I have learned through workshops and classes in collaboration with Get Messy Art Journal, a community that has been a cornerstone in my development as an artist.

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