As you know I love working in my sketchbooks and I always have 4 or 5 on the go at any one time, switching between them using a combination of stitch, watercolour and acrylic paints, printing, text and collage to name but a few and I try each day to set aside time to complete a page or two. I find it very relaxing even if it is just to put a watercolour wash on a couple of pages ready for a creative technique to go over the top.
I am very excited though about a collaborative project I became involved with starting in March of this year with six other members of Solihull Embroiderers' Guild called Travelling Sketchbooks. We each started off with our own sketchbook, putting in a piece of our own stitched work including our inspiration source which could be a photo, a picture, a poem, a memory etc. then at each of our monthly meetings we hand the book over to the next person on the list and the book goes off on its travels, the idea being that at the end of the summer, I will receive my own book back with work from the rest of the group inside. We settled on using a Pink Pig 8" x 8" sketchbook each which contain good quality paper ideal for painting, collage and stitching as you can see above where I have stitched a cutting from a 1930s vintage magazine direct onto the page.
The left hand page is a piece of 'Texture Magic' fabric, a steam-activated shrinking fabric which when stitched and then shrunk creates a wonderful textured surface. For the stitching I used a twin-needle in random patterns and then shrank with a steam-iron hovered close over the fabric but being careful not to touch directly. I then hand-dyed the piece using Procion MX dyes I had mixed myself and then put in small plastic spray bottles bought from Boots, in order to spray the fabric rather than immerse. I used various colours which mixed to give a subtle rainbow palette.
For this page I cut petal shaped pieces of calico which were 'Bondawebbed' onto scrim, placed into an embroidery hoop and then randomly machine zig-zagged which gives this lovely lacey effect.
Rather than just stick or stitch the piece to the page I cut a window first and then stitched the piece behind the window. I decorated the page using a wooden block and acrylic paint to give it more of a frame.
Before my book went off on its travels I also made a cover for it from scraps of old jeans and embroidered it inviting members to be creative and to use a variety of techniques. I admit I am a bit late in posting about the travelling sketchbook scheme as I did these pages back in March. I have since had April and May's books and sent them off on their merry way but will tell you about those very soon. Time for bed! Happy stitching.