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.