I am an artist teacher; I joined the sketchbook circle four years ago at a time when my creativity in my own practice and teaching had very much dried up. Joining the sketchbook circle, networking with NSEAD online and a series of other events re ignited my drive to create and re invigorated my teaching.
My sketchbook work is very much involved with mixed media and layering of materials and stories. Whilst I enjoy working in sketchbooks, I have developed a bit of a thing for making my own books, zines and boxes.
The work changes very much dependent on the inspiration that arrives from my current sketchbook partners. I love taking the starting point of my partner and going on a journey with it, developing a conversation over the course of the year.
I currently share two sketchbooks. In my collaboration with Elizabeth Goode, we are exploring Architectural themes and in particular, inspiration has come from the design and history of my home. I have been particularly excited by some of the wallpaper designs uncovered whilst renovating the house. Pattern, stitch, print abstraction, layering and the stories a building might tell have become a focus in my pages.
With Cherrie Trelogan we have been working in a new zine each month, this a slightly more eclectic exploration of “Art and the Self”, through colour, drawing stitch, collage and text.
I do not have on particular material of choice , my art cupboard/desk is bulging with scrap paper, copper leaf, slug tape, pens, carbon paper, sewing kit, print blocks and groans (as does my husband) when I make a new material discovery . I have managed to decant a small selection of materials into a travel pack for when my sketchbook and I go on holiday.
I am most inspired when I have a story to tell in my work and am at my most creative when that story makes a connection with my sketchbook partner.
At my creative low point I read a book by Elizabeth Gilbert “Big Magic”, parts of what she wrote really struck a chord, her book:
“Discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion”
One passage in particular has become a bit of a mantra I regularly have to remind my artist/teacher self and my students:
“You have treasures hidden within you, extraordinary treasures and so do I, and so does everyone around us.
Bringing those treasures to light takes work, faith, focus, courage and hours of devotion. The clock is ticking, the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time to think so small”.