Having enjoyed participating in the #areyoubookenough challenge for November so much I made a priority to find the time to concentrate on December’s word which was warmth. I had two very different ideas. One has a focus on memory and capturing a moment the other is a whimsical bit of fun.
This first book was made as a memory of a visit to a friend in Italy. I hadn’t seen her for over a year so it was lovely to catch up and share stories and laugh. All of this was a warm experience. Whilst there I collected all the tea bags we used and they became the signitures for the book. Tea bags need warmth to become that lovely rich colour when the tea infuses in the hot water so a second nod towards ‘warmth’. Finally where I stayed we are surrounded by olive trees 200 of which belong to my friend, they also require warmth to grow. I embroidered 100 little olive tree shapes throughout the book being aware they can be seen on both sides and each side is different so decided that would pass for 200! The rest of the paper and card used came from a book I picked up in a second hand shop whilst there. A lovely memory of an equally lovely visit.
The second book is a bit of frivolous pleasure. I thought it would be fun to make a cut out book of myself with each page being a layer of clothing until I am totally covered, warm and ready to head out into the cold. It was a little tricky lining everything up but I am happy with the results. I was particularly keen to make it as real as I could and also to draw the backs of the clothes as well as the fronts to keep the interest as the pages are turned. A very different project from usual but a lot of fun to do. I really enjoyed the challenge of learning the lotus stitch for the Japanese binding which I will be using again!
Looking forward to finding time for January’s ‘inbetween’ challenge watch this space…
I have just been very fortunate to take a couple of weeks out in Italy visiting two lovely friends, one in the Abruzzo region and one in Rome. I always have a sketchbook with me and try to take time out to sit and draw the things I am seeing. On this trip I especially took time for drawing in Rome spending several hours at each of the places I went, sometimes until I couldn’t feel my fingers any more! It is quite a strange sensation when the sun is burning the back of your legs through the layers of clothes but your fingers are frozen and turning blue…
I started this a little late this year due to the Book Fair preparations but better late than never. It’s always a great opportunity to focus on drawing and this year I kind of ended up with the theme of ‘Tea Paraphernalia’ . In my little world tea is one of the most important things so seemed an appropriate focus of my drawing attention! I think there may be some kind of little book coming from these I’ll keep you posted. Here are some of my favourite drawings.
I have the total pleasure of running a workshop on Wednesday 25th September at Kommune, Castle House. It is open to all abilities and you get something to drink included in your ticket. Come and join me if you are free! Book tickets on eventbright
So as well as drawing old buildings I love making studies of natural things. More often than not there is some kind of interesting pattern, shape or colour palette that unfolds the longer you study the object.
This month I am away from the studio so don’t have all my usual stuff to hand (although I am collecting things to use when I’m home). So I decided it was time to get on with some drawing practice. In recent years I have discovered a new found love of drawing buildings, especially old ones, so that has taken up quite a lot of my focus.
This next little book was one of the first ones that germinated in my head whilst away. On a long windy drive up a mountain in Kerala we stopped to admire the view and encountered several monkeys. They stole the spot light from the view with their cheeky little characters! I knew then I would draw them. At the same time under my feet I spotted this matchbox and a piece of material a bit trodden into the dirt. Once washed it turned out to be quite lovely and has become the cover for the book and the box. It is also the material used for the cyanotype print in the previous post.
The background for the monkeys is a cyanotype print of foliage made in India but it didn’t take as well as I had hoped. However it is perfect as a background… as I used to always tell my students about their work ‘never throw anything away’ you never know when it might be useful.
The only other material used for this book is a page from an exercise book I bought the same day. I love paper and try to keep an eye out for paper that is used in everyday tasks. Something with marks of some kind is always interesting and adds an extra dimension to the work created with it.
I hope I have done these little creatures justice and it’s a great memory all packaged in a tiny box.
The second handmade receipt book is full of drawings about transport. Travelling is always interesting when you use modes of transport that you wouldn’t do at home. For example the people who live around the backwaters of Kerala rely on boats to get around. Most of the area is made up of little islands carved up by an abundance of lagoons and lakes. These areas of water are slightly salty as the water originates from and sits just inland from the Arabian Sea.
In the big cities push bikes, motorbikes and tuk tuks are the choice of the majority able to weave in and out of the busy traffic and get you where you need to go quickly. I have seen all of these three converted into small vans to transport goods around in an economical fashion, you can’t really believe how much someone can stack up in one of these its a proper art form!
And finally come the buses and trucks the biggest things on the road which take longer to get places due to their size and not having the ability to squeeze through tiny gaps quite like a bike or tuk tuk although most will have a good shot at it!
The previous post showed you some of the papers I collected in India. I collected so much stuff that I needed an extra bag to come home with! One of my plans was to hand make some little books that I could use for collections of drawings. They would then live in the pockets I made in my sketchbook.
This one was all about the animals I had seen up to that point on my journey. It is made from a collection of receipts stitched together and covered with part of a local newspaper using a particularly lovely bit of text. This was my first one and worked really well so it started a bit of a craze of collecting receipts and stitching books. More to follow…
A tiny book finally complete with a new box for a home. If you follow me on Instagram you may remember the saga of ‘The dog who ate my homework’ and the little book that came out of that incident. Well I have finally got back to the original Berlin book and finished it and a kind friend donated me this box for its new forever home. It just needed a bit of customising and here we are!