collaboration

Helen and Jean – June 2017

I received Helen’s sketchbook at the start of June but didn’t’t open it till the third week of the month because of work!

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Its not a good idea to to do this as even just spending a few minutes looking can allow ideas to come to mind even when there isn’t time to work on them immediately.

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So this time my pages were quite an instant reaction as time was running out as the end of June approached.

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I love the different sorts of printmaking techniques that Helen has used.

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I worked onto the right hand page first on the pages above, cutting holes to allow the black page below to show through and adding some other paper such as the marbling as well. I then drew from the image with felt pens on the left hand page.

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I used a roller to make some printed circles and then added collage. During the weeks I was working on these pages I made my last work related train journey of the academic year and collected all my tickets to add to the collage collection. I used some up making this right hand page, trying to use the red part of the circle to create a repeating pattern.

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Inspired by Helen’s printmaking I had a go at printing these fish on the left hand page but I was very dissatisfied with them technically – I nearly ripped out the page! I tried stamping on the last page of the month – using a Hema eraser and creating one quarter of a pattern that I then rotated. Stamping onto a collage page of random reds allowed for various colours and patterns showing through the stamp.

In future months I’m going to open the sketchbooks and look at them when they arrive even when I haven’t got time to work on them, as I think ideas will come to me so that when I do have time the pages might be better in terms of ideas of quality of techniques used…

Helen and Jean February 2017

In February I received  sketchbook from Helen. It was handmade sketchbook, with different sorts of paper for the pages and bound very sturdily, so I think it will survive our exchange!

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The pages inside were so interesting and I found that Helen’s approach and way of using collage is so like areas of collage I am interested in having come across the work of artists like Jo Urban, Alison Sye and Jeannette McEwan recently on social media.

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Looking at Helen’s pages I was interested in the storytelling nature of them and I wanted to respond in an around them as well as by adding my own pages to follow on. Doing this with a new partner is a big step because it is hard to know how they will feel about additions being made to their pages.

First I added an extra page that could be used to view pages through.

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I was a little more adventurous I added little details to the pages through using Washington tape, paper collage and drawing, trying to stick with the theme of the pages Linda had made.

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For my own pages I began with two story telling pages using a range of materials. I’ve been collecting paper materials for some time now and the challenge is to find, group and attach images and text together. It is hard to say what comes first – sometimes its text, other times its shapes, colours or images. In these two cases there isn’t much text but what there is is quite significant: “notes from our village green” (taken from a book) and “I draw a new world”made up by me. At the moment constructing imaginary landscapes is a recurring theme in much of the art I make.

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I also made a page based on an idea from Randall Plowman’s book “The Collage Workbook How to get started and stay inspired”¬†published in 2012. This was to take three images, cut them into strips and stick them down in a mixed up pattern (right hand page). I left it to dry and returned to it several times feeling it was quite unsatisfactory but not knowing what to do with it. This morning I decided to “Fragment” it. Fragment is an app I use on the iPad and decided to use the same approach by cutting out and changing shapes within the image. I also ended up turning some cut outs around so that their patterns appeared on the next page.

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This led me to go further, cutting out shapes to leave as holes and adding wash tape letters. On the other side of the page (below) I used a white pen and add drawn detail which worked effectively because the page was black. The holes revealed some fragments of the previous brightly coloured previous page made using watercolours and Derwent Intense pens.

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For the second month I am ready to send my sketchbook on at the end of the month, quite a miracle! I wonder what Helen will make of it…

Jean and Linda January 2017

The sketchbook circle begins again for 2017. After three years choosing a sketchbook should be easier but it isn’t! Having made a sketchbook that turned out to be rather fragile and hardly survived a year’s exchange and worked in another with an unorthodox physical structure I decided to buy a sketchbook – but there’s so much choice. Time was running out and I was in London for urban sketching so I visited the wonderful Cornelissens, near the British Museum. There was a great choice and I settled on a quite small landscape sketchbook which I hope my partner, Linda, does not find too small.

Over the last few years I’ve been using collage more and more and so I began our pages with using found paper materials.Some of this turned out to relate to beginning a new creative project like the new year of a sketchbook circle.

I was lucky to go to a vintage or jumble sale recently where I got hold of some old dress patterns and astronomy magazines and they have begun appearing in what I’m making here and in other art that I make.

Since I began using collage more I’ve been a compulsive collector of bits and pieces when I’m out and about – I have quite a collection of train tickets which I feel sure will come handy some time. In these pages I used them almost like little window frames.

Over the years that I’ve been taking part in the sketchbook circle I’ve been very interested in the different ways of how artists might collaborate when working in the same sketchbook. I’ve begun to keep a list! I decided to make a page that would leave some space for my collaborator if she chooses to add her own art. I found the strip of map and it had a grid so this sparked the idea of extending this by using squares of collage materials and drawing. I wonder if Linda will develop this. Its so hard to predict how a new partner will work at the start of the year.

I managed to post the sketchbook in January, not allowing myself to fall behind at this early stage! I know that this first month when we send our books on its great to quite quickly receive one back so the momentum is not lost.

I looked forward to receiving my new book from my other partner, Helen, for February.

December 2015 – sending back for the last time

In December Mary sent me the sketchbook she had started back to me to for the last time.

The first pages I found were these, which continued from the pages I had made. Mary often combines deep colours and different patterns together, making her pages very dense and layered. These pages take up the pink that we’ve often used throughout this sketchbook as well as using different papers and ink. I love the feeling of looking into a mysterious landscape that these pages create.

2015-11-08 15.21.24From last time I sent this sketchbook back I knew I wanted to include the fish that I had found in the pocket at the last minute. I had four pages left to use so I decided to follow Mary’s example of an imaginary environment and create somewhere for the fish to live across all four pages. This has been the advantage of Mary’s choice of a zig zag sketchbook. We have been able to use single panels or continuous panels depending on our creative impulse. I used some of the experimental¬† Gelli plate sheets I’ve made to create the background and then some pink collage bits and pieces, chosen to create a link back to Mary’s earlier pages.

I also added other collage materials – ink dribbling, old maps and pieces cut from other monoprinted papers. During the sketchbook circle the approach of allowing an image to evolve from the materials has become a part of what I do and led me to using my imagination much more than I used to. See examples from Mary, Linda and other participants on the Facebook page has helped me with this. Abandoning the idea that I might have a fixed outcome in my mind that I am trying to translate onto to paper has been liberating.

2016-01-01 10.53.55I also wanted to connect these last pages to the back cover which has Mary’s small daughter’s hand print and some splashes. It was these splashes that made me think the fish could be bursting out from the water and be joined by some more ghostly fish to sit on Hannah’s hand. The waving hand of the person leaving could be us leaving this sketchbook complete after our year of exchanging. I tried add some gold leaf that we’d received in a mailout with mixed success!

As I looked back I found that Mary had returned to one of out previous pages and added an extra page. I like this window onto the strange world of Rupert – it almost looks like a projection onto the sky!

2015-07-04 12.03.19I’ve enjoyed this second year of exchanging a sketchbook with Mary. I think we’ve evolved a more connected way of using the pages than we had last year. We’ve left space on pages for each other to use, we’ve added layers on top as flaps or extra pages and we’ve sometimes worked continuously on sequences of pages. Maybe its also related to Mary’s choice of sketchbook – the flowing pages of the zigzag book instead of sequences of double pages. Certainly our sketchbook seems almost sculptural when spread out! With hindsight we could have made more of this feature thinking about looking through pages – maybe next year…

 

 

 

 

 

October – receiving and responding

At the beginning of October I received the sketchbook started by Mary. Mary had added these pages.

2015-10-30 16.40.47I like the dark print on the bubble print background and it reminds me of the chine colle I use when I am printing collagraphs. The background of the image joins to the map on the next page and the text is from some of the vintage paper I’d put into the back pocket of the sketchbook last month. It fits the map so beautifully!

Mary had also made these pages from ink painting, collage drawing and printing. I enjoyed adding to it with more collage and drawing. Over the last two years of working together we have become much more collaborative in our approach to the pages. In this second year especially we tend to leave space for each other on the pages.

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The next page had the last of pink that had spread through so many pages earlier this year. I happened to have just made a small monoprint using the Gelliplate in pink and blue so this was perfect to add and develop on the page. Gelliplate monoprinting is a resource and process I have come to through the sketchbook circle and enjoyed very much. During #printoctober I made and posted a monoprint on a vintage book page like this every day.

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When I made the next pages I had just returned from the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy. I had seen so many instances of material and objects combined and confined within frameworks. This reminded me of Tony Cragg’s ‘Stack’, something I drew in my other sketchbook circle sketchbook.

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In this double page I used a lot of random collage to fill in between the card struts. The image below is constructed from photos of the textures and materials I saw in the Ai Weiwei exhibiton.

Processed with Moldiv

Processed with Moldiv

2015-11-08 15.21.24After I had finished my pages and was packing up the sketchbook to go back to Mary I came across these fishes, hiding away in the back pocket. It was too late but I hope they return to me next time so I can make a home for them in one of the last pages!