Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Sketchbooks at Lydiard

I almost always display my sketchbooks or journals when I am exhibiting work and there is space available to do so. Shown below is a page from my latest journal showing progress towards a 3 D stitched piece (and maybe other things too in the future - who knows) developing black and white, the tracery of branches and contour lines and hills.



I'll show the whole black and white piece once the exhibition is set up ... and once the piece is finished ...

I love the whole process of working my way through and round a new series of work. The taking of photos, playing in Adobe Photoshop, finding of other references, consideration of stitch patterns and experimenting with ideas in paper all give me great enjoyment - as much pleasure, in fact, as the work on the final piece. There is a freedom about the process where mistakes don't matter and indeed may well turn out not to be mistakes at all.

Recording this practice as I go in a large spiro bound journal - around 40 cm by 25 cm - is, for me, a part of the process of organising my thoughts and deciding what to do. When I see things mounted and on a page side by side I often find myself making links I hadn't thought of. 

I'll have the latest journal - not finished because these never are - on view for the next two months at Lydiard House, Swindon, where I'll be exhibiting with Great Western Embroiderers from Thursday of next week. As usual, the whole thing is work in progress with lots of uncertainty on every page and possibilities for the future. 

Several other members also keep sketchbooks of one kind or another and these will also be on view.  

This time, I think we all feel particular pleasure in showing our books as the archives of Lydiard House contain small sketchbooks produced by members of the St John family who previously lived in the house. Many of these relate to their travels and in particular to The Grand Tour so often undertaken by the children of wealthy families in their twenties. Through our own sketchbooks, we feel part of the continuing process.

I've included two photos of St John family sketchbooks below. The first is a drawing of Lahneck in the German Rhineland. I don't know who drew it but I find it charming and a search on Google revealed very recognisable photographs of the turreted buildings - a real pleasure! 


The second was a watercolour of the Ghazipur district in India. After the success with the first, I Googled this too and again learnt all about the area. 
One member of our group took this painting as a starting point for a piece of work - I will maybe show it also once the exhibition is open.


16 comments:

  1. j'aime les esquisses.. rapides et en mouvement... !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Elfi - et merci beaucoup pour ton commentaire. Tu m'as donné un leçon de vocabulaire! L'esquisse était un mot inconnu pour moi.

      Delete
  2. I love your sketchbook! I've tried so many times to use one for other projects but it never gels for me. Yet I am always so inspired by others' sketchbooks. Good work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Connie. For me, it's almost the best part of the whole thing - the place to experiment and let my hair down.

      Delete
    2. I love sketch books too and for some projects the Sketchbook can be more satisfactory than the final piece.

      Delete
    3. Someone suggested recently that I should perhaps work in book form, a thought maybe ... sometimes ...

      Delete
  3. I love looking at other people's sketchbooks, from this sample yours look great. I would love to do them myself but it never happens, I buy them and they always remain nearly empty.
    I guess I shall go on enjoying other peoples.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Debbie. I like looking at other people's too. So many are wonderfully exuberant and full of things that stick out beyond the confines of the book. To me they are a great pleasure to look at.
      Although I also keep smaller freer sketch books, my journals are rather neat and contained. They feel in a way like mini exhibitions put together for my own enjoyment. I was a primary school teacher in another life and I just can't stop myself double-mounting my work! Not sure what that says about me.

      Delete
  4. Really looking forward to coming over to see it all in the flesh - and an excellent idea to show the sketchbooks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anny, it would be lovely to meet you. If I know when you're wanting to come, I'll try to be there stewarding. My email address is on my blog profile if you want to contact me.

      Delete
  5. I always find it fascinating seeing, reading, or hearing about artists' thinking processes. The presentation of the sketchbook can be revealing too. Most of all, however, I think that they can be invaluable for the artist themselves much later when new eyes can be cast on previous ideas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Casting new eyes at a later date on previous ideas is a very useful part of the sketchbook thing. I often find myself feeling the urge to lift pages out of one journal and put them into the next and it's surprising what fresh connections I make when I do. The pages of work can seem to have a life of their own and to be telling me of these connections that I'd missed.

      Delete
  6. Oh ! , I am so envious of your dedication to your journals ! They are pieces of art unto themselves. I try, but only have 2 small ones, which are full and I do love going back through them ... new ideas show up.
    The photo at the top is STUNNING !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very many thanks for your encouraging comments, Sharron. These journals are such fun to do - and give me lots to think about.

      Delete
  7. I really love to see sketchbooks displayed with work, it brings the artist to life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope mine is enjoyed - I've certainly had a very profitable time doing it!

      Delete

Hello and thank you very much for taking the time to leave a message on my blog. Every comment is welcome and I will try to answer you as soon I can.