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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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?!)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 😉).

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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.”

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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!

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It’s tea time!

I am so pleased that my Little Sketchbooks have been embraced by you. I have sent off some and they are winging their way around the globe. They have been sent to Wales and North Carolina, Northern Queensland and Melbourne, Washington and central Victoria. I am delighted to give people an opportunity to be creative, and follow their passions. It brings a smile to my face.

On a different art note……You may remember a page I showed you from my current sketchbook, a page of some teapots from my collection. If you don’t remember here it is again.

I really like the way this spreads across the page. It was a conscious composition.(Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015)
I really like the way this spreads across the page. It was a conscious composition.(Photo and image copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015)

Well, I received some very favourable comments about it. You are such a supportive group of friends, and I truly thank you for that. The delightful Alys from Gardening Nirvana made this comment

I fell in love with your teapot study. I’ve always loved teapots. Any chance of making those up into some art cards?

and that got me thinking. Not cards, but small studies on A5 paper. I have had great fun with the washes, and as watercolour is a continual learning experience, have learnt so much about water on paper and in brushes. I am also learning about leaving some of the paper unpainted, so that the white comes through as a highlight. The trick is to remember to leave it. I wouldn’t be the first watercolour painter to paint over the white area that had been reserved as a highlight. 🙂

The first studies are of a little teapot I bought in Hong Kong many years ago. I loved the contrast between the smooth body and the knobbly bamboo-like handle. The knob on the lid reminds me of a little grub! It is the one on the right hand of the sketch. In real life it is a dark grey terracotta, so you can see that I have taken many liberties with the colour, both in the following paintings as well as in the sketchbook.

(Photo and art work copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
(Photo and art work copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
(Photo and art work copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
(Photo and art work copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
Rosy pink teapot (Photo and art copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015)

The next ones are modelled on the blue and white pot in the middle of the sketchbook page. I may add some of the pattern in a future one. But, then again, maybe not! It was a present from my sister, as she knew that I love Asian inspired teapots. The different facets have given me interesting areas to play with.

(Photo and art copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
(Photo and art copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
(Photo and art copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015)
(Photo and art copyright: Anne Lawson, 2015)
Aubergine and gold tea pot (Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
Aubergine and gold tea pot (Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)

If you click on any of the photos you will be taken to my Etsy store. Then you can look at the description and price. If you are interested in buying, you can go through the shop, or contact me directly: annebags@optusnet.com.au