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Jean and Meryl March 2018

When I got the sketchbook back in March I was surprised and interested by Meryl’s additions which were unlike any others I’d had so far.

Meryl had added some graphic novel like pages set in space – I context i often use in collage, from interest and because I have a pile of Sky at night magazines. The three photos below are of the pages hen they arrived.

While I decided what to do on my pages I couldn’t resist adding some colour to Meryl’s pages.

Meryl had left space on her last page for me to continue. I was luck yo to sport some superhero wrapping paper in Tesco who came in handy, along with my trusty Sky at night magazines, wash tape and contrasting with this watercolour. 

I like the idea that Meryl has begun of a loose storyline and I left the next page for her to continue on with. 

Meryl added this great PicCollage of the pages:

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and it was put into the title picture of the Facebook group!

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Cherries and Jean – February 2018

Receiving a sketchbook for the first time from a new sketchbook circle partner is always a bog step. This time I opened the envelope and found a concertina sketchbook from Cherrie.

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Working a in a concertina sketchbook provides all sorts of interesting opportunities for continuity and using both sides of the pages. Cherrie has already begun cutting holes into the pages.

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I love the pages Cherrie has opened our sketchbook with – they have lots of the elements that I like – text, pattern, images, layers, ink, collage and printmaking.

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I’ve tried to create some continuity between Cherrie’s last page and my first page y continuing the linear patterns and the colour scheme. I used some wax resist, collage and drawing too. I’ve also punched through the aged and added collage that can be seen through – hopefully we can incorporate these into the art on the back pages when we arrive at them.

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I then added a different page using train tickets – half drawn onto and half not. I hope this hasn’t broken the flow too much.

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I then continued with the layered theme from earlier pages using collage and adding some Gelli plate mono printing straight onto the pages – always a huge risk and all the more so when the sketchbooks pages are continuously joined!

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I hope Cherrie was able to make something of the pages this month. After I had posted the sketchbook I continued to use the inspiration from the pages in my daily drawing leading me to some watercolours with additional drawing that I hope to take into printing.

Jean and Meryl – January 2018

Starting a new circle always involves a big decision – choosing the sketchbook to exchange across the year. This year I found the inside of sketchbook made from Khadi paper in Paperchase and added my own cover. The paper is a nice texture and I hope there are enough pages to last throughout 2018 in my year long exchange with Meryl.

I made some pages using collage, watercolour and drawing just to get the exchange going. Starting an empty sketchbook might be the most challenging part of the circle because as we exchange there are always pages to look back on and take ideas and inspiration from.

I’m eagerly awaiting a sketchbook from my other sketchbook circle partner, Cherrie – I’ve a seen a glimpse of a page in the Facebook group.

Helen and Jean October 2017

This month when I received the sketchbook Helen had made some great Gelli plate prints!

She had add some line drawing to this one which I continued.

The natural detail and colour on these prints is lovely. I’d like to try this myself soon. My additions were also based around Gelli plate printmaking, onto tissue dress patterns and maps. I like the way the text on dressmaking patterns can be part of the image. Printing onto tissue also allows for drawing onto and onto the print using the quality of the paper.

I’ve been experimenting with small (A6) monoprints onto maps lately and above is a trial of a larger version for this sketchbook. I’ve been mainly blocking out using cut and turn shapes, looking for parts of the map to allow to show through, and later in the process, looking for parts of the print to show through. Drawing onto the prints often then turns them into a more pictorial form.

On the final page I included some map cutting. Initially I was going to use this to print throughout seeing it on the black paper page I was struck by the colour and detail of the map against the dark of the page.

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Altered Postcards

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!

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.

 

 

 

 

Jean and Linda – March


The sketchbook I started in January came back to me this month, with new additions from Linda. This first return is always interesting as it’s the first time we get a sense of how the exchange is going to work. It seemed that Linda had left some opportunities for me to work onto her pages – above I continues markmaking from her piece of collage and added some bright circles to her pale squares.

On this page added the collage pencil at the top of the page and my initials below Linda’s. I also added some letters to the inside of the envelope. I can see that Linda likes maps as much as I do! 

I’ve been collecting all the paper generated by day to day life lately to use in making art. Train travel is a source of interesting paper and I used timetables and tickets on this page. The timetable joins me in Northampton and Linda in London. 

I wanted to do as Linda had done and leave some pages with space for a response. On the page above I used a strip of collage tissue paper that has strips of maps and then  extended them upwards using watercolour. 

The process of stamping has rippled through the sketchbook circle over the last few weeks. I missed the sketchbook circle this year but one of the workshops was led by Stephen Fowler. I really enjoyed seeing the results of his workshop so I bought the book and began collecting the materials needed. Above is an initial experiment using thin foam stuck to corrugated card with some additional drawing. 

The sketchbook came in a wonderful envelope which I added to before returning to Linda. 

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 November 2016

I received the sketchbook back from Carys with some interesting new pages.


I love these colours and labels hanging down into the pages. They can also hang down onto this patterned page below. When I designed the sketchbook I had in mind that each side of the pages might work together and this is a great way of trying to do that. I had lost sight of this possibility over the months. 


This page too uses layers and flaps in an interesting way. We’re just coming to the end of the sketchbook and still bringing in new ways of using the pages.


I wanted to try to use each side of the page to create a scene centred around the envelope window in the page. On this side I used the window as if it was a window in the side of a spaceship. I vaguely remembered the story of a dog sent into space! I also looked for words and phrases that might go with the scene. 


On the other side of the page I worked in a similar way. This scene uses the window less effectively and is more surreal in its use of collage and text. 


It will be interesting to see how our last swap completes the sketchbook.