The beginning of the sketchbook circle is always an exciting time as we get to start and receive new sketchbooks. I received an interestingly shaped package from Amanda at the beginning of February – very long and narrow, perfect for my letterbox. When I opened the sketchbook I was quite surprised as it was made from handmade papers throughout – all sorts of colours, techniques and surface. It took me a while to absorb this.
I like the shape very much as I’ve often used long narrow sketchbooks and made long narrow prints in various orientations. I could see so much in each page – Amanda had included a note to encourage me to use and work on the pages, which was reassuring.
After a while I noticed that the sketchbook was made with holes and threaded with string at one edge and I realised that as well as working on the pages I could also add some pages for Amanda.
I scoured various piles of work in progress and useful papers that I’d stored to come up with some new pages that I could add. I was very careful when unthreading the sketchbook to keep Amanda’s pages in the same order. Looking back on it maybe the planning of a way to easily reorder the pages is another interesting way of working together. In many sketchbooks the page order is set and in this one it is not.
I haven’t photographed all the pages – just some that I worked on this month.
As I began I was quite tentative, choosing some collage strips to add to a quite abstract page. Maybe its an example of trying to add something to an abstract page to make it read as a more figurative page. I’m often drawn to the lines produced by stark tree trunks and branches against a light sky and there is something of this here.
I also added some new pages to the sketchbook.At the bottom of this photo is a proof of a print I was working on at the time. I was trying to allow the trees to come out of the usually rectangular shape of the card plate. Its a work in progress, so far with mixed success.
At the top of this photo the page I added made from a map, with some holes cut into it (using my new big hole punch) can be seen. This allows some glimpses of the print.
In the middle of this photo is a page I put in but allowing parts of one of Amanda’s pages to be seen. They seemed quite like the earth so I added some drawing to try to incorporate them into a scene.
I also used the circles cut from the map to ass to another of Amanda’s pages. Looking at it now it seems like they are hoes punches through a layer of rocks, allowing us to see through to the map like landscape below.
The page at the top is a random piece of collage with some of my additions.
The page at the bottom is a lovely portrait by Amanda. Its interesting to have these more figurative flashes appear in the pages.
As I added pages I used some created using a relief print from textured wallpaper with a very strong pattern.
Finally I made a collage composite picture from a scene from Rupert and an image from an old books that I had been given to use to make art. I enjoyed trying to devise drawing and collect text to connect these disparate pieces together.
The next day I continued with this approach beyond the sketchbook. You can see what I did here.
So it was quite a challenge this first exchange – I hope I’ve done enough to interest Amanda!