Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A year in sketchbooks

Another page from my autumn sketchbook, one of the last sketches before I moved into my newly made winter sketchbook. I have been making my own sketchbooks for a year now and I must say that it would be somewhat difficult to go back to using a commercially made sketchbook at this point.
Here is a photo of my year of sketchbooks with the most recent edition for this winter sitting on the very top. The sketchbooks that I make for myself are not as nicely made as those you can buy. And with each one there was something that went wrong in the process of putting it together that makes it not quite altogether right. You could call them quirky. But they work for me. They have paper that I like which works well with a variety of media. I also include a signature in the front and back using regular copy paper and use these pages to paste in a calendar and scribble notes. I put a pocket in the back to hold business cards and collect things. The act of making these sketchbooks has become a ritual of sorts throughout the year. I have begun each one with the change of season, either on the solstice or equinox. This has resulted in a greater awareness in me of the turning of the year and increased my desire to make note of each season's special qualities in my journal. For my handmade sketchbook from last winter, I recycled a used book found in a thrift store. For all of the other sketchbooks I made my own covers, which then also became a part of the ritual process. All of the materials, the fabric and end papers, were something I already had on hand, leftovers from past projects now given a new life. There has been something very satisfying in all of this, as a way to mark the passage of time and celebrate the moment that is now.

*There is a new blog on keeping an artists' journal, put together by Cathy Johnson, and well worth a visit. It was her class "Keeping an Artists' Journal" that inspired me with my own visual journaling, which she has turned into a book, Artists' Journal Workshop, and now a blog. And reading all of the fascinating interviews on her blog is sure to keep me busy while I am eagerly waiting for my copy of her book.


donna said...

Oh, Ann, that poinsettia is beautiful. And I enjoyed seeing your sketchbooks. Thanks.

Rose Welty said...

Ann! I am jealous - they may be quirky but those look great. What a neat tradition you have there.

Don't think I have the patience for book making, wish I did.

Shirley said...

I share your love of personally made journals! And really enjoyed seeing yours. I couldn't go back either.


BarbaraB said...

Gorgeous poinsettia. And you're inspiring me to look into creating a sketchbook.

Peggy Stermer-Cox said...

Hi Ann, Your journals look special! Do they take a long time to make? I can see the advantage of using the type of paper you like. And, they're so personal! Lush flower!

Deborah said...

Wow, what a great display of your year. I like the poinsettia, it looks like velvet.

Jilly said...

I so admire that you are making your owm sketchbooks. they are so special.
(in Australia)

drawn2life said...

I love this, Ann...inspires me to try making a handmade journal again. My previous feeble attempts have been less than desirable and I find myself liking the store-bought kind best. Perhaps I'll give it another go in 2010. For many months now, I've had the thought to use all the various papers that I throw away and put them into a sketchbook. Perhaps I'll do just this, regardless of the papers. Gesso them, acrylic base them, whatever! Thanks for the inspiration and a Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

kazumiwannabe said...

Your painting is amazing, the colors and texture feel so rich!
Your sketchbooks look great - and very inspirational. I'll go visit the link you gave, thank you!
And - Joyeux Noël!

Cathy Holtom said...

I like the look of your sketchbooks, perhaps I should make the effort too.
Buon Natale from Italy!

Alex said...

Fantastic pages, and what a beautiful subject! =) I simply love the strong red-blue combination.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

raena said...

I love your sketchbooks, Ann! Both of mine have been quirky too, but each one gets easier!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy, creative 2011!


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