Wednesday 4 November 2015

Journal, sketchbook or workbook?

Welcome to day 4 of my 30 day blogging challenge. 

What do you call the book that you do creative things in?  Is it a journal because you write about stuff in it as well as do art?  Is it a sketchbook because you draw in it and make notes of ideas?  Or is it a workbook because you draw, stamp, create, write, make notes about everything and anything?  And there's a 4th category - the Commonplace Book.  You can read about that on my friend Mary's blog or more fully here at His Kingdom Come.  Whatever you choose to call it I hope you enjoying playing.

I don't tend to 'play'.  I get an idea and I start a journal page and I aim to finish it.  It may not get finished in one session but I like to have completed art journal pages.  However when you look at artists, and textile artists in particular, they tend to have workbooks or sketchbooks on the go where they jot down ideas or play with media and materials.  They don't necessarily use the pages in the sketchbook consecutively and they don't necessarily finish a page.

When I was doing my City & Guilds Creative Embroidery course I had to show the development of ideas and I still have the notebook.   However it wouldn't surprise me if I made the piece first and then finished the development work!   For the wall hanging my theme was Venice.  I had been there so I had lots of photos.  I used the shapes in the architecture to draw shapes and cutouts in the page.

These were some of the ideas I had for the wall hanging.

And this is what I actually made.  The three pieces hung on a wooden rod against a card frame.  After my course exhibition it got put in a cupboard.  I recently got it out and through the card away and decided I would recycle the fabric pieces.

This summer I decided I wanted to work on the Venice theme again and ordered some stencils from Michelle Ward that are part of her Gothic Collection.  I already had the Venice map stencil.

Last Friday I had the privilege of spending the day at Ineke Berlyn's studio.  We could take with us whatever we wanted to do and Ineke talked to each of us and helped us.  It was such a great time.  I took a fabric book to finish but I wanted to ask Ineke about keeping a sketchbook.  I felt that what I learned on the City & Guilds course was good but somehow very restrictive.  Ineke encouraged me to start by giving me some pictures out of some art catalogues she had.  I bought a new Pink Pig sketchbook from her and started.  I only had an HB pencil and a black pen with me.  I had a go at drawing knowing that I couldn't rub it out if I went wrong.

On another random page I tore up some fabric I had printed on a previous visit.

I started writing all the words I could think of to do with Venice.

I dyed a couple of pages.

I glued a picture on another random page.

I cut up another picture into strips and stuck it in.  The photo should have ended in straight line but it didn't and for once it didn't matter.

I cut some holes in one page where you can look through to the page behind.

This was one picture cut in half and stuck down so that I can draw another house in between.

Because I've done random things on random pages I feel there's more scope for random development.  Who knows what it will lead to!  Hopefully more play.  I'm going to get the Gelli plate out and play with those stencils.

And the best part of not throwing anything away - ever - is that I found all these stamps and stencils from my course.  Which was nearly 20 years ago!!!!!

Sarah's suggestion for day 4 of the 30 day challenge is to look at making an editorial calendar for your blog.  I've started working on that.  I have determined to write about my Venice workbook every Wednesday.  That will mean that I have to do something in it by next Wednesday to be able to show you something new.   I hope you will join me then.  And all the days in between.

Thanks for stopping by


  1. I really enjoyed this Bernice. I have books that I struggle to identify too, because like yours they encompass so many different ideas. I love your new workbook and how you started. Looking forward to seeing it every Wednesday, what a great idea!

  2. Thank you for sharing your process. I tend to want to complete a page before going on to anything else, even though I admire others for creating lots of backgrounds in advance. Your embroidery is stunning and I really like seeing some of your pages coming together.

  3. Love you art ideas and work in your journals, keep up the great work.

  4. Wow. That is a beautiful journal/sketchbook/art! I love it. I can't wait to see how those develop.

    I call mine a journal because I try to write daily within it and about my day. Otherwise I would call it a sketchbook or art journal.

  5. This is going to be a dreamy journal with the terrific start you've shared. I LOVE THOSE EMBROIDERED PIECES!!! And all those old stamps and stencils are treasures - I'm sure you are happy to still have them!

  6. Thanks for sharing! I have half finished projects that are buried in boxes that I need to unearth....this reminds me there are treasures to be found!


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