The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sketchbook in all its glory!

The other day the Fella brought in a box left by the postie. Immediately I knew it was the Sketchbook. Normally I dive right into things, but this was one parcel I wanted to savour. I sat down with a cup of tea, marvelling at the journey it had made. Then I carefully opened the box, and again, just took my time to enjoy looking. There was a card from Trish that I opened and read.

Then it was time to slowly take the sketchbook out of the bubble wrap and hold it in my hands. Oh it felt good! Deliciously fat, full of all the creativity that the Sisters had put in.


And more delights……Alys had attached some ladybird stickers, to be added next to each Sister’s address before sending on.

Jan had crocheted a pouch with Cambrian wool, “from the flocks of Wales”. The Sketchbook sat snuggly in there.


Now was the moment to take it out and hold this treasure, that has journeyed around the world, making connections across the lands.

To the pages……and the link to each Sister is her explanation of her contribution.

The front cover is a sketch of sprouting garlic bulb, and it always reminded me of a flying garlic ~ a symbol of the Sketchbook flying around the world.


Kate’s beautiful quilting and calligraphy is on the first page. The blues in the feather are so rich and strong.



Then Lyn has done freeform machine stitching and appliqué to create some very cute Sisters holding hands. (Can I be the one with the polka dot bow in her hair?!)


Sandi, the next contributor, is a very talented poet, and her contribution ‘The Explorer’ continues the sewing theme.

I chose my poem, well before the book began its journey. I watched, via a computer screen, as each creative page was added. I had chosen my poem for its light-heartedness, and reference to embroidery. Little did I know, I would join the small boy in his experience of discovery, when the travelling sketchbook arrived in the mail. The tingle of awe I felt was unexpected. I had reality, wrapped up, in my hands, and I couldn’t wait to touch it.


M.L. Kappa’s work is on the next spread. The colours of her picture just glow, and the writing is the story of the naming of Athens.


Then came Chas’s contribution, a map which needed to be unfolded. The first part was her sketch of a painting in the National Gallery of Victoria, honouring women as growers and nurturers.


Then I unfolded the map of bicycle journey from her home to the National Gallery of Victoria. Such detail, and many of the places I know (but not from riding a bike 😉).



We leave the bike paths of Melbourne and head to the Welsh hills. (One of the many things I love about this Sketchbook is that the Sisters felt free to add their contribution wherever they wanted to. They are not in the order of the journey.) Jan crocheted tactile, warm spirals out of Cambrian wool. You may not be able to read the message that circles around……

“Encircling the Earth: the skill of our hands, the love in our hearts. Brought together by our creativity and kindness, although we are separated by hundreds of miles….our shared passions bind us together. One sisterhood, representing one world, united in love.”


Alys’s contribution was another creative one. She used photos of all the contributions so far and made them into a miniature quilt, with one patch saying, “Sisterhood Quilt: Stitching together art and friendship around the globe”.

Sandra’s passion is cooking, so naturally her’s was a recipe, for ratatouille. On the page she has drawn big lush eggplants and a chilli, and it is all on thick paper with deckled edges.

Margaret has added to the quilting theme, again in a different way. She has embroidered nine little squares, each representing an aspect of her favourite walk ~ and the detail needs to be seen in real life. On the other page is an embroidered landscape of Catcalls on Derwentwater. (Lots of inspiration for me here!)

The Sketchbook arrived with Constanze during Winter, as she says “A real one, with snow crunching under my feet and temperatures below freezing.”! Her contribution captures that Winter, with the snow and bare branched trees. (Again, more inspiration for me!)

Turn some pages and there are Sue’s vibrant patchworks. Like all the others, there is so much detail to look at and admire ~ and so tactile! Photos don’t do these pages justice.

Rich is not how much you have, or even where you are going

Rich is who you have beside you

writes Trish. Thoughts that resonate with us all. She has added a rich red, woven shawl to go with her words.

The last contribution is from Ushasree. Her work is another patchwork of nine creative, colourful paintings, each one using a different technique. Read about them here, including why the portrait of her son has a special place.

The very last page shows just how peripatetic the Sketchbook has been. It’s a map of its travels, and the special places it has stopped at.

It is a truly wonderful thing, more amazing than I thought it would be. So creative, so tactile, it is warm and full of love. It has created a bond that has encircled the globe, and has become more than just pages in a sketchbook.

Where’s it off to next? And where will it settle down? We don’t know! Discussions are ongoing, but more urgent now that it has come the full circle. We are looking for an appropriate permanent, but special, home for it, so any ideas are welcome.

Meanwhile I am proudly showing this wonderful treasure to anyone who wants to see it!




53 replies on “The Sketchbook in all its glory!”

Ha! No the tea didn’t go cold, only because I drank it to stretch out the moments of looking at the Sketchbook! It was very exciting, and I am still overawed by its beauty. Thank you so much for being part of the Sisterhood.

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This sketchbook gave me unexpected joy – in receiving it in the mail, looking long at each contribution, thinking long about my own contribution, showing it to a few people while it was in my possession, and sending it back to Anne, knowing she would be surprised to see what a beautiful thing it is. I can imagine the sketchbook in some textile museum in a hundred years, where it will have to be handled with gloves.

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I can imagine it there too, Trish, but finding such a place is now what we have to do! aren’t we the lucky ones to have seen the finished book, and delighted in every page. Thank you for being a part of the Sisterhood.


It has been wonderful to see it progress across the world, and to see the pages as they appear on people’s blogs. I am glad you have been following along.


And now we have Viv’s contribution, a wonderful poem about connection and friendship and how we nurture and care for them. Anne, remind me of the size of the Sketchbook so I can write out the poem and prepare an insert the correct size to be stuck into it?

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Also meant to say that the blues in your feather just glow. Photos don’t do the colours justice. And I love the way the calligraphy flows from the quill. Thank you for your inspiration for the Sketchbook.


Such a lovely project! It was brilliant to have pages made up of different paper, that’s why it’s not in the right order, since people chose the paper that suited their contribution most. I’m still quite taken with the idea of auctioning it off in support of some women’s charity, but I’ve no idea how easy that would be to organize. Anyhow, well done everyone! ❤️❤️❤️

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One of its charms is the different papers, and slightly different sizes. I am glad people felt comfortable to choose the one that suited their work. Auctioning it off could be good, but. like you have no idea on how to do this. We need to do some research before any decision is made ~ I am sure there have been silent auction type things done on the internet.
Thank you for you story of Athens. I have been showing it around, and my brother was impressed with your writing!

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It certainly is! And I treasure the invisible links that it has made across the world.
(BTW how is life with the donkeys? I hope they are as cute as ever!)


I’m so relieved that it has completed its journey around the world safely. It was a pleasure to be part of the project and I look forward to seeing the final contribution from Viv to be added. I hope that you find a great home for it.


That safe journey is another amazing thing about the Sketchbook. I have new respect for the postal services around the world! Your mandalas are lovely, Jan, so tactile, with the perfect words around them. And the pouch is perfect! My Mum was very impressed that there were no seams in it!


I had the easy part, Margaret. Everyone else had the trickier part of creating such wonders. Every time I look at your embroidery I see new details. Thank you.


It was great to have your poem too, Sandi, because the poetry added another dimension to the creativity of the Sisters ~ and one I am in awe of. Perhaps we could meet up with Chas, as the three Melbourne based Sisters, to have a look at the Sketchbook…..


As Paul Kelly says, “From little things big things grow”… is something that has caught the imagination of so many. Now, to make decisions about Next for the Sketchbook. Thanks for you contribution, Sandra, with your luscious warm eggplants!


It grew out of an idea from Kate and me, so like all good things, it was a collaboration. And then it was taken to a whole new level by the women who contributed their creativity and time. It is quite awe-inspiring.

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Reblogged this on Gardening Nirvana and commented:
What a joy to be a part of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Sketchbook. The completed sketchbook returned home this month, to the welcoming hands of the artist and blogger who brought so many of us together on the journey. Here is Anne’s lovely post, with links to all the contributors. You’ll find sketches, recipes, crochet, free-form embroidery and more. Come have a look. Thank you, Anne!


Anne, thank you for bringing us all together for such an amazing journey. It was wonderful seeing a recap of the Sisterhood, along with a couple of sketchbook entries that I’d missed. I’m looking forward to the next chapter. You’re nothing short of amazing!

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No, no, no ~ it is such a collaboration. It would not be as awesome as it is without all the contributions from the wonderful Sisters. I just sent it off into the world, and everyone else did the rest. Each piece was unique, just like your ‘quilt’ was ~ an inspired idea. Now we have to decide What’s Next?

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This is such a beautiful and inspiring initiative, I had tears in my eyes as I read and needed to stop a couple of times to clear them away……. Such wonderful work!! I wish the world could be full of travelling sketchbooks carrying their messages of love and hope and creativity! ❤

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Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing! And there is nothing to stop others from doing just that, especially as the internet, especially blogging, has given us the perfect organising resource. So easy to reach out to people in all parts of the world.
I am so glad that the Sketchbook touched you. It is a pretty special thing.

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I follow many of the blogs that have contributed to this but I’m thinking there are more that I want to visit with more regularity seeing all this creative talent. I’ve seen bits and pieces as it’s gone around to those blogs but the end product is museum worthy. it does the heart so good to see this. Words fail right now as to the impact. Thank you for beginning it’s journey and sharing the completed sketchbook.


Seeing all the contributions was amazing, and as I have said, photos don’t show them at there best. They are rich and textured and creative, and thoughtful. We are still discussing where the Sketchbook will be, but in the meantime I am showing it to as many people as I can!

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What a delight to see how the book evolved since it was in my hands. 🙂 It must truly be a treasure of texture and creativity. Sure wish we could find a public venue for it where it could serve to help bring people together in a spirit of hope and harmony.

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That would be perfect Sue. But where is this place? I think we need to put the call out to find it!
Photos don’t do the contributions justice. There is so much wonderful detail in your quilts that I didn’t pick up from photos. And the colours are so much more vibrant too. Thank you for being a part of it.


I wish I knew where that place was! It needs a travelling exhibit now. I have no experience for that sort of thing. Although, the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum (excuse me, Pacific Northwest Quilt & Textile Museum) here might be interested in having it on display for a time. I wonder if there are other museums or galleries that would give it space for a time? If each of the contributors found a space within their community that would be a start. Everyone would get to see the book again too. Of course that means a lot of shipping expenses again, and concern about safety or condition of the book. Hmm…


one of your comments was that you hadn’t done it justice in revealing the texture/touch – but I didn’t find that at all – I could see the textures clearly in my computer window 🙂


Sorry I missed its homecoming. Welcome back! And a truly amazing journey it’s been. I wonder if you could continue sending a new sketchbook out, again and again, until all the contributers can have one to keep? Congratulations all. Wonderful work.


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