What is it about your making skill that makes you enjoy it so much?
I enjoy getting into the process, into the flow of creating, and seeing what you’ve made once you’re out of the flow.
The binding of a sketchbook involves folding paper, aligning the pages to punch holes (my least liked step of the process), choosing the colour of the thread, waxing, and binding it. Once you get into the flow, it’s a real joy.
Then when you’re done, you’ve got your own handmade sketchbook.
Something from nothing.
You can fill with your own words, drawings, colours. I love the hands-on process, taking you out of your mind and into energy, movement, and following your intuition.
What does it mean to you personally and the way you live your life?
You can’t take a canvas with you on the go: on the train, on a plane, while you wait for an appointment. I enjoy being able to take the book with me wherever I go.
I had a heart condition until I was about 19, one of the things it affected was my breathing. When I made time to draw, it took me out of my head and into the movement and process of creating. Having a sketchbook with me wherever I went meant I could draw when I was in hospital after my heart operation. To this day I take it with me: train, plane, an appointment. Not only does it help to ground me, but it’s become a joyous daily practice (whether the drawing ‘looks good’ or not).
What has been your greatest making achievement?
In May 2020 I decided to combine pyrography and bookbinding in a wooden covered sketchbook. I was faced with new challenges: my needles were a little too wide so I snapped a couple by being too forceful, and the thread was waxed, so as I worked my hands were losing grip.
The sketchbook took so long to bind I lost track of the hours but the satisfaction once I had completed the project was unlike any other. The binding was tidy, the design was just as I had hoped.
There was a moment I thought it was too precious too fill the book with my work, but I knew that wasn’t the point of the sketchbook. So I jumped right in and every time I got the book out I was reminded of the challenges I had overcome, and the grounding, sensory joy of the pyrographed, wooden cover.
What is your favourite piece of equipment and why?
I’m not sure I have one specific favourite, I like to jump between equipment to stop any feeling of stagnation: rollerball pen for the smooth line, biro for a variety of shade, White Nights water colour paint for their pigment, Prismacolor Verethin Pencil for the way the colours layer on top of one another…
Perhaps my favourite piece of equipment is the sketchbook itself, which allows for a variety of mediums to be used without the paper bleeding or buckling, a smooth pen line or pencil experience, or an interesting watercolour bleed.
What is your favourite making website or blog and why?
“Colossal is designed to serve as an online gallery of visually spectacular artwork, while seeking to educate and inform rather than criticize or interpret…we curate Colossal to focus on the most positive, diverse, and impactful stories around the issues we care about most. It is our intent to amplify the voices of artists working toward a more equitable and environmentally-friendly future by utilizing innovation, unexpected materials, humor, spectacle, and vast reserves of skill and hope.”
When I worked in an office remember the start of a work day being full of awful news stories and statistics. I changed my Home Screen to Colossal and my day would start with inspiring ways people were creating and interpreting the world around us.
The website is easy to manoeuvre and laid out in an easy-to-read fashion. The articles are linked to the artists so if you’re interested in someone’s work, you could dive into it deeper. The content is consistently organised.
A beautiful way to keep inspired and looking at the world in different ways.
Why do you like being part of the Festival?
I’m looking forward to celebrating creativity with a new audience, meeting new people and sharing experiences. Learning how creativity has helped others and finding inspiration in new places.
What is your advice to a complete beginner who wants to have a go at your craft?
Follow your curiosity. What colours are you drawn to? What shapes are you drawn to? What movements are you drawn to? Start there and commit to it. If it doesn’t feel right, change something. Creating is an experimentation.
Things might not look right, but if it brings you joy to bring two colours together, do it. If if brings you some calm to draw circles, or waves, or butterflies, do it. Make a start on what feels good, don’t over think what something looks like.
Play with it, it’s your sketchbook, you don’t have to show anyone.