Sunday, 24 May 2020

Corralling Ideas

As well as sketchbooks for, well, sketching, I have a collection of themed A4 spiral-bound sketchbooks that are more like "inspiration" books. There's a book for:
  • Inspiration from nature, landscape, science, ancient history (e.g. stone carvings) - you could call this Primary Sources, as there's nothing in here that has been interpreted by an artist.
  • Secondary sources of inspiration: pics of other artists' work, postcards, magazine clippings of imagery and patterns that I like e.g. ceramics, printed textiles
  • Instructions for textile projects: clippings from textile magazines showing various artists' techniques that might be useful for future reference
  • Information book: a scrap book (now into it's third volume) of anything that may be useful for future reference (such as how to plan a vegetable plot rotation, or how to make soap) to inspiring quotes and tidbits of random knowledge. 
  • Ideas book: a more portable A5 book (also in three volumes) where I noodle with ideas, sketching out how to make something. I also use a variety of smaller Moleskine journals and notebooks that go with me in my handbag or slip into a back pocket when I go for a walk.  
  • Artist cards bought at exhibitions (these overflow into a box, too!)
Here's a quick flip through some of my collection:

Music: Bossanova
Ilya Truhanov

See those artist cards at the end? If you're like me and have your own collection of cards that you can't bring yourself to send to other people (come on, I'm not alone am I?!) there's a really interesting exercise you can do with them - for another time. 

Every now and then, I try and clear the backlog of things that I've cut out to be stuck in the relevant book. Once I've finally cleared the backlog (!) my intention is to have ONE book and just put everything in that. We'll see!

Because I'm so behind, and some things have just been rammed in loosely to be stuck in at a later date, I can come across totally random and wonderful ideas that I'd completely forgotten about. 

Today I came across an idea for some reverse appliqué, and an idea for making embroidered felt cuffs. The felt cuff idea is at least 17 years ago, because I remember wearing a prototype to a particular family party when my daughter was two years old. 

It's almost like having a diary (something I've never stuck at). Every now and then, I come across something that that reminds me of what I was doing at the time, and how I was feeling. Today I came across a list that just made me hoot with laughter. I might (or might not) share it another time; it has fruity language!

On the one hand, maybe I don't need all these books. You could say if I haven't done something by now, then I never will. But then again, I feel inspired now just by having a leaf through. Never mind decluttering my sock drawer, I'm a lost cause for hoarding ideas! 

How do you keep track of all your ideas and inspirations? Do you manage to keep up with yourself, or are you always playing catch-up?! Let me know!

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Field Notes

Once again, I'm on a mission to discover exactly what it is I want to create and what it is I want to say. In fact, this whole blog, particularly the early days, is record of my attempts to do just that. After a few years, teaching took over, then producing work for Art Trail and other exhibitions, and I got caught up in the doing and demonstrating and trying to keep up with all the things I said yes to; I lost the time to reflect on what I actually want to do. So here we go again.

This week I've been paying attention to what I pay attention to...kinda circular! I've been out trespassing away, noticing what I notice. I've taken a lot of photos of weeds, and I've even sat in the middle of a field of them and sketched them.

I like the empty skies, the empty fields, the physical mass of the woods as viewed from the track approaching them. I like the sound and feel of the wind in the trees, the smell of the morning air, the airy spaciousness of it all, and the cloistered hush of the different spaces in the woods. There's one particular space, under the canopy of the tallest trees, that we've always called "the cathedral" because that's exactly what it feels like. Even the light's the same, dappled, as if through stained glass. 

field path under oak branches, looking towards the woods

But I'm also absolutely fascinated by the structure of dandelion and groundsel seedheads. Properly obsessed. I kicked myself for not having a camera with me the morning each fluffy seedhead was full of glassy droplets of dew. Also kicking myself for not starting a record of how the field is changing over the weeks. It's been abandoned, no agriculture, and it's fascinating to see how it's changing with no intervention. 

It's also very parched, because we've had no rain. It's almost desert-like. The old dried up corn stalks are like bleached bones or branches. 

There are some lovely tiny flowers, if you look closely. 
Scarlet pimpernels and speedwell. 

 I like them, but not as much as the dandelions and groundsel 
(the one I'm holding in the first photo).

For me to get as far as sketchbook pages, that's really something. Here's a little video I made.

Music: The Nest, Josh Woodward @

Friday, 8 May 2020

Swirls of Colour

Phew, thank goodness it's Friday. I've been stitching like a mad thing this week, and all the while videoing the proceedings. My room is a tip and I'm tired. But I think I'm nearly there!

I've been wittering on about sorting out an online course for so long now, but I think I'm within touching distance.

Yes, I still need to edit all the video and work out where and how I'm going to host the course, and recruit people to test it and then promote it and all of that, but for now - I'm pleased.

If you'd like to be one of the brave people to try it out, please let me know! You can sign up to my newsletter and tick the Swirls box to make sure you're on the list.