Watch a short video of the complete sketchbook at this link:
I received Helen’s sketchbook at the beginning of December and the month whooshed by with no work in the sketchbook until the last days of the month.
Helen’s pages were wonderful in their colour and pattern.
I began with some collage and cutting, none of which I was very happy with it.
In late December I took part in a twitter reading group based around Susan Cooper’s novel The Dark is Rising. I made some collages in response to the reading of the early chapters. The collage on the right hand page below is one of these. You can see more about this reading group by searching #the artisrising #thedarkisreading and looking at the twitter account of poet Julia Bird @juliamarybird
Later I made some more imagination based collages – then of the left hand page is using material from astronomy magazines I was given. Both of these, I now see, may have been influences by watching too many episodes of Stargate SG1!
I have enjoyed my partnership with Helen and I was sad to return the sketchbook. Luckily I have a full photographic record to remind me of the exchange.
I received the sketchbook that I began back from Linda – we’ve managed to keep it in the same envelope since the beginning I think.
Some of Linda’s pages allowed me to respond on the page and others gave me ideas to respond on new pages. The page with black pen drawing reminded me of the work of two artists who I’ve come across and liked for a while. One is Jan Brewerton whose strongly patterned drawings and prints are so striking and the other is Fiona Humphrey, an artist printmaker who makes linocuts with strong linear marks and patterns.
I liked the facing page made of papers from a visit abroad. I had just returned from Norway so I tried to use things I’d brought home to make a similar page. I made a new page using some marbling that I drew on to following up the mark making approach from the earlier page.
I also added to Linda’s page of stamps and her page of flower drawings.
One of my new pages was made from collage from various sources and the other followed up Linda’s black pen page so I hope she’ll want to add to it. The different ways we all interact with our sketchbook partners is of great interest to me and something I hope to investigate more fully.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.