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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A gift from overseas

Recently I sent some of my Little Sketchbooks off to different parts of the world. I was happy that people wanted to use them for their creative pursuits. [If you asked me for one and it hasn’t arrived, please let me know — it is either a problem with the post or my brain…]  Imagine my delight when I received a package in return, from Mount Vernon, Washington.

It was a mug mat, made specially for me by Sue.

My new mug mat, made especially for me by Sue
My new mug mat, made especially for me by Sue

In her card Sue says that she made it with me in mind. I can tell that is true because not only has she selected flowers, but there are bird and feather patches!

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She also writes

It’s meant to be large enough for a mug or cup and saucer and an edible treat to boot!

It is a perfect fit on the arm of my comfy red chair, and does fit a mug and the edible treat — a slice of cake that I made with my new mixer!

Sue has a delightful blog, From the Magpie’s Nest, where she blogs about her adventures with patchwork and other deliciously crafty things. Hop on over and say “Hello”.

Thank you Sue, for a thoughtful, and useful, gift. Enjoy using your pen and ink in the sketchbook.