Patrick gifted me with the opportunity to participate in The Sketchbook Project, "a crowd-funded sketchbook museum and community space in Brooklyn". This means that The Sketchbook Project mailed me a small sketchbook for me to make marks in, write about online, and send back to their physical space at the The Brooklyn Art Library.
I freely admit that it was intimidating to commit to a theme or approach for the sketchbook. This wasn't any old sketchbook. This one would live in a library and potentially be seen by other people! Conversely, my sketchbooks have been for me---for my process of working out projects ideas, planning, and practicing. For this project, I wanted the sketchbook to be a completed idea, but I also didn't want it to feel too polished. I still wanted it to be a sketchbook at heart. So, I decided to pursue what is interesting me right now--how objects, when arranged together, have relationships. To find objects, I went hunting at the the thrift store (Goodwill and Community Thrift) where I would snap photos of anything that interested me.
At home, I drew and painted them in arrangements.
A technical note: The Sketchbook Project provides you with a book, but you may change the book to meet your media needs--as long as the dimensions remain the same. In my case, I wanted to work with watercolor paint, a wet medium. So, I needed to switch out the paper to one that could hold up to watercolor on both sides. I used Canson XL Mixed Media paper, which is what I use in my own sketchbooks.
Anyway, once my book was complete (today), I filled out corresponding information about it online so that people could search for it. This required an artist statement and tags. Here is my artist statement:
To thrift stores we offer our rejected choices, the objects that no longer bring us joy, and the thrift stores collect our castoffs--accepting them to their shelves. This book looks at those unintentional assemblages and seeks to find connections among seemingly disparate objects. I visited two thrift stores and photographed anything that caught my eye. (I am particularly interested in vases, pitchers, and dishware). Then, at home, I drew and painted the objects, their patterns, and their motifs in arrangements on the page. The relationships and conversations would undoubtedly unfold as I worked. Thus, this book became an intentional place for all of these lost items, and it brings me joy.
Now, all that is left is dropping the sketchbook in the mail!!! Good news, the Libray is travelling to Chicago this summer! So, maybe I will be able to visit my sketchbook again. Below are scanned images of the sketchbook from cover to cover! Some were more successful than others. Enjoy!!!
PS For those of you noticing the due date, don't worry, they extended it to April 30th. I'm well within reach!
Well, I fear that I have cursed Spring this year by writing in the Spring Issue of Woolgathering, about being content with a slow melt! In fact, it is snowing as I write this! Still the birds are chirping as if it was sunny and 60 degrees, so I must believe that the season will turn over eventually. To keep my mind off of the cold and grey, I've been super busy preparing to take part in a Nature-Themed Artisan Market at West Dundee's Swell Gallery! The show opens this Friday, April 13 6-8. If you can't make it to the opening, the gallery will be open Saturdays and Sundays April 14-29 from 1-5. So stop and check it out to get an artistic sense of Spring if the real thing hasn't delivered!
Finally, I have more prints for sale in my Etsy Shop!!!!! They are Giclée prints of my original watercolor paintings. They measure 8" x 10" and fit well in a 11" x 14" frame! They are only $30 with free shipping!!! Link to shop Here!!
Please download this April image from my bullet journal cover for the wallpaper on your mobile device!
A few years ago, I was inspired by Barbara Kingsolver to make cheese. It called to me like a siren's song. I yearned to learn the process. So, I resolved to carve out time amid thesis writing to make cheese as a way to celebrate my birthday. Pat ordered all of the gear, rennet, and cultures to get us started, but when my birthday rolled around, I came down with the flu. In the end, we made cheese weeks after my birthday, but I'm so grateful we got around to it.
For years, the sirens of clothes making have been calling to me. Each year, I tell myself that I will order a pattern for my birthday and make myself a tunic, a shirt, or a dress. But each November is busier than the last, and there never is time to make myself anything. To stall matters more, I'm terrified of patterns! I have never made anything from a pattern in my life. I'm horrible at reading and dissecting directions. I regularly mess up recipes. I'm much more comfortable with figuring something out myself.
Well, it turns out last birthday, I did receive a handmade shirt. This one was made by crafts people from Zihuatanejo, Mexico. My Mom bought me a simple, elegant cotton blouse with elaborate pink embroidered flowers. After examining the construction, I thought to myself, "I could figure this out." Soon after, my Mom gave me an old denim shirt of hers to use for fabric. As I began to dream of shirt making, I decided to use her castoff to make my own shirt! I added a too-small denim shirt of my own to the mix, and voila---a denim blouse made by me, inspired by Zihuatanejo blouse and Japanese boro mending!
Now look, I understand how basic the construction of this blouse is. It is basically a rectangle with some holes in it. It's a step up from what a house elf might wear, but I love the damn thing. I don't know if it is the Ikea effect (Look, I made it myself), the good feeling of recycling/upcycling, the creative satisfaction of hand stitching, but I am hooked. I want to make more blouses and maybe a tunic or two. I think I want to stay in denim, and perhaps--like some of my favorite artists, dress in a uniform to minimize decisions and clutter. (You know, like Steve Jobs' black turtleneck or President Obama's identical suits.) I could envision wearing more or less the same thing everyday--especially if I made the clothes and the clothes are ethically and ecologically sourced.
Two of my favorite art professors at Saint Mary's had their own sort of uniform. Billy Ray, my painting instructor, wore denim exclusively and cowboy boots. Julie wore black jeans, black shirt, and black boots. It's easy. It's classic. Maybe I combine the two looks into denim shirt and black jeans. :) Perhaps. . . What I do know is that clothes not only project to the world how you want to be treated, but they also contribute to how you feel about yourself. I'm excited to see where this leads. Who knows, maybe I will even get my hands on an actual pattern?
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.