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!




The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sketchbook has completed its journey!

Just a very short post to let you know that the Sketchbook has come back to me. It left about April of last year and travelled safely around the world.

And it is BEAUTIFUL!

I will show you pictures and let you enjoy it too, but for the moment I am just savouring the joy and creativity on each page.


Kindness Odds and Ends The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The sketchbook (br)enters Europe

You know about the Travelling Sketchbook, (in case you don’t, click on the previous link)….Chas is one of the Sisterhood, and her post about the Sketchbook arriving in Europe sums up what I think the whole thing is about. I hope you agree.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the world – I give you that most democratic of instruments, that most trans-boundary of objects, that most diplomatic of materials –  the Travelling Sketchbook o…

Source: The sketchbook (br)enters Europe

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sketchbook has left the States and arrived in Greece. Now it is not only international, but global! How cool is that?!

It is a while since I have written about it, but I have just updated my Sisterhood page. It gives you an overview of the contributions all the Sisters have made, as well as the background to the Sketchbook, and who the Sisters are.

Our blog The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook is another way to keep up with what the Sketchbook looks like. Simply follow the blog and you will receive posts as they are published. Here the Sisters make links to their own blogs too. The blog even has a natty interactive map. 🙂

It is an amazing project. So many walls are going up, so it is lovely to know that the Sketchbook can just fly over the top of them!



The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook #6

It has come as a (little) shock to me to realise that I have not told you about the adventures of the Sketchbook since it left Kate’s place in North Queensland. It has had a number of adventures since then, but if you need to get up to speed with the Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook, check out the Sisterhood blog or my separate page, which also needs updating.

After Kate had finished her fabric feather, she sent the Sketchbook on its way to Sandra, aka Lady Red Specs. She was inspired by her grandfather and eggplants to create a wonderful still life of those vegetables, along with a recipe for ratatouille. You can see her page and read about why she was moved to draw them on the Sisterhood blog here.

Once Sandra had finished her lovely creation the Sketchbook was off to Megan, aka Chas. Chas was delighted to see it and her contribution was a map of her bike trip from her house to the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Head to the Sisterhood blog to see the overall map and marvel at her little details.

Then it was off again, to Sandi, not so far this time, only a little way out of Melbourne. Sandi is a fine poet, a wordsmith. Her contribution was a poem, chosen “for its light-heartedness, and reference to embroidery.” It is a beautiful poem, ‘The Explorer’, just perfect for the Sketchbook.

It had finished its Australian leg and when Sandi sent it to Alys in California it was really international! Alys’ contribution was different again. She took all the pages so far and made them into a paper quilt, adding her own little square. It is so like her to unite people. She sent me some photos:

You must read Alys’ delightful post on why she has photos of the squirrels in the first place.

Now the Sketchbook is safely in Sue’s hands. I can’t wait to see what treasure she will add.

Are you like me and just blown away by not only the quality of the contributions, but also their variety? And it still has a long way to go!

I am also humbled by how much delight the Sketchbook creates, and not only with the Sisterhood itself. My Mum is one of its best fans! These are some of the reactions from some Sisters who have held the Sketchbook:

Sandi: The tingle of awe I felt was unexpected. I had reality, wrapped up, in my hands, and I couldn’t wait to touch it.

Chas: To hold Anne’s beautifully bound sketchbook which already has 3 superb pieces in it is a little intimidating. The works are truly far more special to see close up.

Little did I realise, when this sketchbook was only a small tingle of an idea, that it would be something to inspire and delight. I think Alys has summed it up well with her tag of ‘Stitching and friendship around the globe’.

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook #4

Well, the Travelling Sketchbook has arrived safely at its first stop, with Kate in Northern Queensland.

The Travelling Sketchbook is on its way (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)
The Travelling Sketchbook is on its way (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

As I was making it, I was thinking of the people who would add to it and then send it further on the journey.

Our final Sisterhood is

The Sketchbook will be going around the world ~ Australia, the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Then back to me. [I told my Mum about it the other day. She thought it was a wonderful idea, so I will have to keep her up-to-date on the Sketchbook’s adventures!]

Making the Sketchbook

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

Let me show you what the Sketchbook looks like. Again, I included some paper that I had drawn and practised on at other times. The front cover is a little garlic, that always looks to me like it is flying, quite appropriate for our journeying journal! The back cover has a couple of lilies. There is another sketch of mine inside.

I included different types of paper and different colours, because our Sisterhood will do all sorts of contributions ~ drawing, writing, sewing, collaging, whatever takes their fancy. The paper needed to be as flexible as the Sisterhood.

I’ve also included a world map, to record its travels.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

I am hoping that each person will blog about what she is putting in, and I will link to the posts here. I can’t wait!


The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook #3

An update on the Sisterhood….

We are now 12 members, and have members in Europe and the United Kingdom. So our little sketchbook will be travelling around the world!! That’s exciting news. Adding to the members from last time  we have:

  • Sandi from Wandin East in Victoria
  • Viv from France (I think she is in the north) and
  • Lynn who is in the south of France
  • Constanze who lives in Munich
  • and Lucy Ann in Kent, UK

[Apologies to Sandi and Constanze if you have blogs that I can’t find to link to. Also Chas, can you send me your postal address?]

So, I am going to work on the sketchbook this week. I did ask about more than one sketchbook, but I think that we will keep it at one for the time being. We can always send around another if we are having too much fun for one! Then I hope to launch the Sketchbook next week, send it off to visit the first person.

If you have joined the Sisterhood ~ and there is still time ~ later this week I will send you an email with the list of addresses and emails, and more detailed info about the project. This might be about as much structure as the whole thing gets!

I have been thinking about the finished sketchbook. We obviously have ages to decide what we would like to do, but I am wondering if we raffle/auction it and donate the money to an organisation for women’s health…… I suppose I should get it made first!

On a completely different note… there is only a few more days for you to use the coupon code in my Etsy shop, AnneLawsonArt. It gives you 10% off your purchase and is valid to the end of April. Just use the code APRIL16.