Sketchbooking

The second half of the year has flown by, there is no excuse for why I have not posted anything for a while, other then sheer laziness. In July I began my own monthly magazine, have exhibited in London and finished a new project. Plenty to have spoke about but ill update you on them more later!

I wanted to talk about sketchbooking in this post, for I, am useless at it. I see the spine, or the metal binding and my brain cross-wires, I become ridged with my creations and freedom. Everything get clustered centrally, and my expressive nature lost. Sketchbooking is something that I am having to work on daily, whether it be looking at the type of pens I enjoy to work with, how I collage in a contained space and using different methods, such as types of glue ect…
From this nature and utter fright over a sketchbook, I began to stitch pages together and glue in left over pieces of collages/ scraps I had around. These were less thought over, and initially just a way of having less waste. I really enjoyed taking the time of stitching the pages, and having an element that was full of life as an end piece. I began to re-connect with different space sizes and stated to add type in them from my journals, give the books a bigger meaning, a reason to have been created. From these initial pieces, I have now a slight obsession over collecting things I wouldn’t have usually, such as envelope people have sent to me when they have beautifully wrote my name or illustrated, papers collected at places of interest, tickets and maps, anything that could look interesting cut down to size and saddle stitched together. These small A6 books have to greater purpose other than being a visual collection of my thoughts and trips, but just being surrounded by them and having the ability to now express myself in another manner is incredibly freeing. They are also things I can quickly grab and chuck in my bag for an on the go sketchbook, for a person that likes to sporadically decide to venture somewhere, a sketchbook is never on the agenda, but these can be manipulated very easily from there small size. I can do rubbings, write in them, insert more pages, stick things in I have collected from the day, sketch…. endless options.
The moral is, there is always other ways of working if one way doesn’t fit you! - such an obvious sentiment, but one I feel we all forget at some point or another. we are conditioned to go to the natural cause of things, and sketchbooks are one of these for a creator. But in essence a sketchbook is anything you want it to be, not just something you have to buy from a shop.

Below are a small selection of these books



March/April/May Work & Play

First of all, the past three months have been pretty busy and inspiring. From having my work exhibited, travelling to Scotland for the first time and small collaborations with friends, my work really picked up, creativity flowed and I feel a lot more defined, understanding more where I wish my artwork to go and where I may fit in a career.

Lets begin with Newcastle. Whenever there is an opportunity to visit a new city, finding creative hot spots and good galleries are a must. The Baltic was incredibly impressive and reminded me of the Tate Modern. Industrial origins continuing to leading the way of progress. With vast spaces and various floors there is artwork for everyone. Seeing karl schwitters at the Hatton gallery was also incredibly inspiring, a fellow collage artist who has a natural eye for composition and colour.
Two pieces stood out for me however more than most; in The Baltic. Abstract in the sense of colour, composition and material...

Sofia Stevi 'Turning forty winks into a decade'
'Drawing inspiration from literature, philosophy and the everyday, her works bring together a wide range of references. With works of paintings, fabric collages, books and pillows, they touch on dreaming and the unconscious.' with this collection of work it was less about the entirety of the rooms, but selective components. How the calming cool tones mellowed the room, with the inclusion of the cosy pillows and pastel shades it softened the inclusion of sexuality. Stevi's works on paper were most inspirational to me, expressive, textual and erotic undertones capture the senses in a soothing haze.
 

 

The second piece that stood out was Jasmina Cibic ' This Machine builds nations' her practice explores how art, architecture and political rhetoric come together to be used in the name of a nation.

 

Leading on from Newcastle, hopping on a train to Edinburgh it was a glorious day. This excursion was more about the exploration of a new location and soaking up architecture, people and the landscape. Never visiting Scotland before it was a nice introduction.

In-between my next journey to Scotland, I visited my friends in London. Pit stopping at The Photographers gallery & the Saatchi (which for me is always a disappointment, but a good visit neither the less) before heading back to Wandsworth to create collaborative collages. Visiting London is always a strange experience. When you live close to the center you seem to drift away from it and carve your life in the suburbs. Little towns which have their own culture and emotions, you take time in visiting places you wish to go. Leaving the house when you know its not a bank holiday, a weekend or school holidays. For being caught central in these times is an utter nightmare.
Graduating and moving away, London is back to being a tourist hot spot, I am a tourist. Planning my time to fit everything I wish to catch up on and being caught in the crowds. Do I miss it though...? Greatly. Not from the fact its the capital and there is always something to do, cool coffee dens, bars and TFL, but for them little towns I regularly frequented, being close to friends I adore and having an enriching creative and cultural scene. Moving back to a small town surrounded by fields, there is an emptiness that pulses though when you need more than a walk down a canal, a cheap beer or your high school friends. It can be lonely and isolating. But just as equally rewarding.

Glasgow and Oban was a sporadic trip. Wishing to see the rival town and hide away in the middle of no where, it was a nice get away. Glasgow reminded me of Manchester and Edinburgh mashed together, it was a vibrant city with a great art scene. Travelling alone however only gives you one side of a City. From my solo Europe travelling last year I learnt that the night life is something you can miss out on if you don't make an effort to socialize. Forgetting this I was in Glasgow on a Friday night not doing an awful amount.
From a 3 hour train from the city I arrived in a little fishing town of Oban. The journey up was stunning, from every window was a postcard view, this alone would inspire everyone. Oban provided me with a sketchbook filled of ideas, thoughts, sketches and contemplation's. Sat by the harbor watching the sunset with a small bottle of wine, its difficult to not be at ease and feel very meditative.

Gallerys:

 





Locations:

 





My artwork:

 

'More than a pretty face'

It seems, when I need something to come along and push me to the next project, something finds me. With this project, it was slate. From doing some smaller illustrative work and graphic based pieces on paper, the time to get back into the swing of bigger expression and experimentation was due. A neighbor re-slating their roof, had beautiful contrasting shapes of gray gold lying in their skip. Scooping them out, there was no insight into what they would become and how the project to come would effect me. 

Being a graduate and being back at home brought so many challenges and mental obstacles. Cohabiting with someone who has no understanding of art, why I make art, or even knowing who I am, produced an environment which the only way I could express was through art. Being restricted and confined presented an element of greater understanding of topics I briefly skimmed past previously. Such as gender, feminism and how being a female artist will effect my work. 
In my life I have overcome so many challenges with how I look at myself, regard myself and how I fit into society. The only person I am now out to please and will allow to judge me, is my younger self. An extremely self-conscience, depressed, repressed and frustrated young girl, who was waiting for something to happen, when instead I was waiting for me.  If little me saw the current version of myself she would be so incredibly jealous, and wonder how that person was so confidant and content with who they are. When really all they want is to have the ability to allow themselves to not give a shit. Realizing the only person who was giving me grief on how I looked, the interests I had and my personal quirks, was myself, no one else. At that realization, I stopped caring and started gaining an insight into how society had conditioned me into hating myself and trying to fix the things I thought were wrong. 'More than a pretty face' looks at this through my instinctual need to create and giving myself the time and space to explore femininity, and what that means to me.  

 

 


The pieces in themselves are rather contradictory, in the sense that the process of making them, involves me objectifying women's bodies and using them as a tool to project a specific emotion. Through various steps of collating, re-using, transferring and photocopying a range of collages made with 1960's Parade magazine and my own photography, these can then be built up and layered. Using printing methods such as mono-printing and lino- cutting slice through the photographic elements, adding textural input and exploring different senses. These different elements also contrast with the strong, hard, cold nature of slate. 

 

Through the creation of the pieces, there became an element of self care, through creation there was healing and a feeling of satisfaction from exploring emotions that were bubbling over, again another contradictory thought; feeling fixed from creating on something that is broken. From this, the process of Kintsugi came to mind. A Japanese art of repairing pottery with 'Golden joinery'  'it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise'. Adding gold leaf to particular edges of my artworks gave a sculptural quality to them, and created a finalized wholeness to the set. 

Presenting them as a set there is a roughness and imperfect nature echoing back to the pure essence of being female. From learning a new Japanese phrase of Wasbi-sabi this perfectly sums up the project as a finished set of artworks. Wasbi-sabi is a world view 'centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection' which characteristics are 'roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes' - which is a perfect way to end the project. 

 

In total the series consists of 14 various shapes and sizes of slate pieces, which at some point I would love to present as a full set, however 5 are currently being exhibited in Newcastle's Vane gallery ( http://vane.org.uk/past-exhibitions/wo) as part of a larger presentation of artwork from 19 other female artists who are also exploring what the female experience is. 

30074203_2114894815193723_1871208044_o.jpg