Sketchbooks and journals are a dynamic part of the creative process. And judging by the new crop of books and web sites on journaling and creative sketchbooks, it’s obviously something that appeals to almost all of us in the creative arts.
Without a doubt the most valuable thing in my studio is not my fabric, or even my sewing machine – it’s my 30 years of notebooks. Here is my “studio journal”. I use it when working on a project to jot down technical notes and thoughts about the work in progress.
I find when I’m working on a piece, more ideas are generated than at any other time – and those precious, fleeting images need to be captured. The small lined pages, 3 hole punch format works well for me. This is my most valuable source of inspiration.
I don’t have one sacred book that holds everything. I’ve use a series of sketchbooks that fill different needs. I use a big sketchbook to doodle ideas and draw out how a piece may look.
Perhaps, like me, you can’t resist buying yet another pristine, blank book for sketches and notes – you know, for all those profound thoughts and inspired design ideas. I‘ve at least 6 untouched books knocking around.
But starting a blank journal can be akin to the “blank canvass” terror – where to begin? It can seem so weighty, like one must say something deeply meaningful in order to start marking in a new journal. “I can’t draw” is the biggest inhibitor to making art journals. It’s as if we’re eight again, standing in front of the class about to be judged for eternity on our ability to draw. Oh, who cares? Just do it! Who’s going to check? I don’t want to die leaving all those journals blank. I’ve been gathering tips from various sources on how to get in the flow of using journals and I hope some of these inspire you.
1. Find edgy journal exercises at Wreck This Journal and check out what people are making on this site.
2. Open the new journal in random places and mark up the pages with coloured spirals, cutouts from magazines, quotes, photos, provocative questions, whatever takes your fancy, just mark the pages. Once these are scattered through out the blank pages the journal journey has begun and it’s easy to start doodling in it.
3. Who says you have to draw? What about descriptive lists? Cut and paste inspiring clippings, make notes, just jot down ideas for your next project. I often like to write out my ideas rather than draw them.
4. Use the book as a place to test out new art supplies. Since it’s not your “real” journal, it won’t matter if it’s full of nothing but scribbles. You might want to make a few notes about brand name, color, nib size, etc. beside each scribble. See: Daydreaming on Paper
A Trail Through Leaves: the Journal as a Path to Place by Hannah Hinchman is an exquisite journal guide
Here’s a List of 20 really interesting books on journaling. I want them all.
“Most of us go to our graves with our music still in us” – Thomas Jefferson
Visit Lani Garrity: Puppet maker’s site and take her happiness challenge or read her “things to try in case of artistic emergency” Lani also has lots of free downloads on her site, a blog and an e-newsletter, that are worth singing up for. Lani lives in Nova Scotia.
My book now has a title: Points of View: Landscape Quilts to Stitch and Embellish, Martingale & Company. We’re working on 2nd page proofs and it’ll be out in September. I’m thrilled with how lush and elegant the book looks. By next newsletter I should have a cover to show you.
I’m teaching a couple of landscape classes in Nova Scotia in May and June – check for details at the top left column. You can take my “Skyscpae” workshop at the new Quilt Fest happening in Halifax on June 16/17 with lectures and workshops and displays. www.quiltfest.ca
Quilt The Atlantic
Nova Scotian quilter Karen Henry has started a web resource for everything quilterly going on in Atlantic Canada www.quilttheatlantic.ca Workshops, quit shops, teachers, sewing related items to sell, etc. A great resource if you’re planning a trip to Atlantic Canada!
Well, that’s it for now. I hope spring is in full swing where you are – it’s been pretty cold here in Nova Scotia, but the tulips are up… now, how to save them from becoming a salad bar for the deer!!