Sketchbooks

When we visited Louise’s exhibition at the Art Yard, I was intrigued by her collection of sketchbooks, which were presented as part of the show. I liked this – the preliminary thinking alongside the finished pieces on display. 
My own work is very process-based; it’s about the act of creation, the hand of the creator, the thought process as I make things, the journey both internal and external. So I have been considering the role that sketchbooks play in my own practice.

I have noticed more and more that my Sketchbook Circle books are a place where I test out and explore ideas that I’ve developed through the ATS. Bouncing these ideas off someone else, trying them out in response to someone else’s work helps me to push my boundaries, work outside my comfort zone, try out new things.

I also keep a textile/collage book, and I’ve started a ‘trying things out’ book for experimenting with processes and techniques; and then there’s my brain-dumping book, where I write stuff and park things for later when I’ve got mental overload.

I’ve noticed that, although I don’t have a consistent, signature ‘style’, the ideas that underpin my work remain consistent whatever I’m working on. I’ve realised that actually the ATS has helped me to begin to understand what I’m trying to say, rather than developing said ‘signature style’.

I’m starting to panic less at the thought of a final exhibition in the summer; I’ll show whatever best expresses where my thinking is at that time.

Circling

My personal work continues to explore themes around movement, journeys, and the spaces between physical and imaginary landscapes. I am drawn towards a neutral, subdued palette of browns, greys and black, reflecting the rather introspective nature of my current preoccupations.

In contrast, this month’s sketchbook, sent to me by Suzanne, is full of printing, colour and doodling; I am inspired out of my navel-gazing and have fetched out my acrylic paints. I might look out the coloured tissue paper tomorrow and reconnect with my inner child.

Walking and Thinking

I’ve been making movement drawings this week; recording my path through life in little hand made books. I’ve finished reading The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane, and have started About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory by Barry Lopez, along a similar theme; exploring ideas around how landscapes shape us and enter our imaginations.

Stitching also seems to be important at the moment as a way to express ideas about movement through physical and internal landscapes; the thread weaving in and out in a single unbroken line, even though it can’t all be seen. I’ve started a series of mixed media pieces based around textiles and paper collage, recorded daily, like a diary, alongside the movement drawings. 

Wandering… wondering… walking as an essential component of thinking, collecting thoughts and ideas and weaving them together…