In the summer mailout we were sent postcards to alter and send back to be displayed at the sketchbook circle course at the Arnolfini. I wasn’t able to go so I was glad to be able to send my postcards in so I could take part in a different way. I was thrilłed that one of these was voted for by the participants as a favourite!
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.
This month Carys had created some lovely pages which could be read as mark making, or abstraction but also as landscape. I seem to see elements of landscape everywhere at the moment!
This led me to create a collage based abstract landscape using various tools and materials I had to hand. These are very much in a strand of ongoing collages that I’m making at the moment.
In the same way that aspects of landscape can be glimpsed in Carys’s latest pages these pages use landscape features with mixed up view points, moving from aerial view to distance and back in the same page space.
This was the only contribution I made to the sketchbook this month as I’m away in the last week of July and I wanted to do something and post it on time.
In August I received the sketchbook originally started by Mary back again. It was lovely to see that Mary’s daughter, Hannah, born during last year’s sketchbook circle is now joining in with this year’s!
I like the way Mary often alters the surface of the page before working on it – painting it often. We seem to have left behind the pink splodges that escapes onto lots of earlier pages!
This time I made a new page with holes in so different parts of one Mary’s pages were revealed and then I used the circles that I’d cut out on the facing page. I continued that theme of seeing through in different ways bu adding some translucent paper with drawing on it over another of the pages.
Adding to the last of Mary’s pages I continued her landscape into one I made from a page from a Rupert annual. I’ve recently been given some damaged annuals to use. There are a lot of spoiled pages so I’ve been cutting bits out and then drawing beyond them to extend them. I’ve left the landscape and sea quite empty so maybe Mary will continue to develop this image.
Just before I sent the sketchbook back I made a more random image using various collage bits and pieces – maps, Rupert figures and drawing. I’m not very satisfied with this but it may be that Mary sees something in it and can rescue it! After I’d sent the sketchbook I continued with the idea of extending the Rupert fragments.
Earlier this year I was given the opportunity to curate the materials that would be sent out to sketchbook circle participants in July. This was both interesting and slightly worrying as I had enjoyed received all the different resources and ideas each month. For a while I wondered what I would do and eventually settled on different sorts of papers. I’ve been lucky enough to make contact with Bridget at Avenue Books, a local book seller, who now funnels damaged books and papers my way to use in collage and printmaking.
Since then I’ve been looking around for interesting papers to use all over the place. For the papers in the packs that were sent out I found the music manuscripts and old book pages from Avenue books; the Chinese pages from abandoned text books in the book exchange at work and the insides of envelopes from ongoing recycling since I began to see art teachers using these in last year’s sketchbooks.
Cutting, sorting and collecting together about 190 bundles took over the front room for an evening and reminded me of the many times, as a primary teacher, that I would spend evenings making resources.
Its quite therapeutic to do this kind of task – the sort of time that allows for thinking and ideas to pop up. I’m hoping to see this paper appearing in sketchbook pages over the next few months!
In April Mary returned her sketchbook to me with some new and vibrantly coloured pages.
At this point (almost at the point of posting) I was reminded by discussion in the Facebook group that we had been sent an envelope of collage. I went back and used some fo he collage to work on one of th earlier pages and these last two pages that I was dissatisfied with.