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Jean and Linda – September 2017

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.

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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.

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I also added to Linda’s page of stamps and her page of flower drawings.

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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.

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Helen and Jean August 2017

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When I received the sketchbook from Helen I had good intentions about what I would add. There’s some much to respond to in the pages – the detail and pattern in the drawing, the pale and interesting collage and the natural forms.

IMG_6994IMG_6995IMG_6996As usual I am both satisfied and dissatisfied with my pages. The one I like least is the yellow, green and blue page with collage lines running down it. The facing page is the one I like best – made from leaf prints onto a Gelli plate onto a piece of map and then drawn onto. i’m a bit obsessed with colours and patterns of some maps I was recently given after a clear out at work. I haven’t quite settled on how to use them yet.

Helen had been using her linocuts in the pages of recent months and at the last minute I remembered to add a recent collagraph experiment. This coming academic year I want to reignite my interest in collagraph printmaking by learning new techniques and experimenting with different ways of marking the plate. In this one I printed with PVA and bubble wrap (white spots) and added carborundum to another PVA print (draw circles).

Helen and Jean June 2017

Helen’s pages from May have such a strong sense of pattern made from collage, printmaking and drawing. There are recurring images of birds and the natural landscape running through the pages too.

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My pages from June have connections to the patterns printmaking and natural forms. The right hand page was made first, using Gelli plate printing, with some marbling showing through. The page on the left was a way of exploring the image further by drawing it.

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The lefthand page was a not very successful attempt at roller printing using acrylic paint with further exploration of circles as patterns using collage. I have just bought a circle punch which is a useful tool for collage!

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The left hand page was a rather unsuccessful attempt at polystyrene block printing – the colours are too muddy and working straight onto the page is perhaps a mistake. The right hand page was fun to make – choosing and placing red found papers then over stamped with an eraser block that made a quarter of the flower and was rotated to create the larger tile.

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We seem to have some emerging themes and techniques in common which is great at this half way stage of the sketchbook circle year.

Helen and Jean April 2017

img_6569In April Helen returned the sketchbook with some interesting additions. She’s added some birds to my last page which fit effectively with the glimpses of landscape that can be seen through the gaps in the page.On the next page she made this great face themed collage.

img_6570On the next page there’s a vibrant red and yellow pattern page and a window with window box revealing a bird on the next page. I like the way we’re cutting through pages to reveal further images on other pages. The sketchbook circle craze for stamping is evident in the leaves and flowers in the window box.

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The window works equally effectively looking from the other side. I love the next page with the bird transfer and the various fragments of collage and stamping in my favourite colours.

 

 

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The final double pages continued the printed and stamped approach and one of them (the left hand one) had some folded pieces that opened.

 

 

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My first additions for April were to work onto the right hand page with some stamping and drawing, trying to pick up on the circles from the page and develop them further.

My next page explored something I’ve been meaning to try out for a while – representing a collection on a page using a frame or box. I used paper for this but I’ve since thought I might try corrugated card to get nearer to the box in a museum case feel that I’s been aiming for.

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I used collage materials from old books, magazines, leaflets and magazines as well as some stamping. They’re rather random in choice and I think either having a theme or choosing things that contrast would be better. The facing page has a collage based landscape with some drawing onto it.

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My final page was some Gelli plate printing onto the page of a vintage book with the potential for Helen to work onto maybe.

 

 

 

 

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.

Jean and Carys September

img_5757The sketchbook I had begun came back in September – despite moving house and the start back at school Carys was able to send it to me!

I love the way these small circles are both little abstracts in themselves but also little fragments of the landscape too.

It was quite hard to work out how the green page was made – it looked like it could have been painted or collaged from magazine pages. I’m interested in its aerial view qualities.

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I tried to continue it using the blue of the page and some pens, further developing the map and aerial view feel of it. I think its lost something in moving from colour to line and pattern though.

we’re reaching the point in the sketchbook where we can see how many pages are left and how many months there are so we can pace ourselves. Although it would be easy to add pages to this sketchbook.

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My own new contribution to this part of the sketchbook went completely off at a tangent using a picture and text from a damaged book I had been given and some stickers from IKEA. Its a bit of a mess and highlights how hard it is to choose and compose with found pictures and text. I often see artists do this and it looks so apt and perfect – this is very hard to achieve!

img_5754This sketchbook has another strand of pages on the other side of the concertina.

These intensively detailed and colourful pages are wonderful. Looking at them again now I’d like to go back to them and use them as a jumping off point.

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I used collage and pen to make a response – using my favourite greens.

I also continued with the use of found and vintage paper on the subsequent pages. Some of these pages also have some layers and folds.

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And finally I added a small Gelliplate monoprint that I made as part of a series during #Inktober and #PrintOctober – now I’m writing the blog post I realsie that this was supposed to be September!

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.

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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!

 

 

 

 

August 2015 receiving and responding

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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!

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2015-08-26 14.12.12Mary’s pages were interesting and abstract – and over time, maybe because I worked with Mary last time too, I have become braver at working onto her pages and adding to them.

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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!

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2015-08-30 16.04.33This 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.

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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.

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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.

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