I wanted to create a sketchbook for my samples, something custom made. I tried paper first, even using a normal sketchbook, but nothing seemed to fit right. The idea of fabric came along, as I have made fabric books before, but it has been a while. I wanted to challenge myself to really create something that was tailored to this body of work. I began by choosing fabrics to make the backing pieces to sew the samples onto. I soon realised that these samples did not suit the floppy one thickness I had used for the Boro. The Boro suited this style, but this book needed to be firmer; sturdier. Thus the wadding. I separated thick wadding, so that a thinner cut to size layer could sandwich between two backing fabrics. The samples were sewn, one to each backing fabric as seen.
The collage of images above, gives an insight into the books contents.
I spent time placing each page together. This was important to me, as I didn’t want it to be too similar; I wanted a sense of surprise to hold interest. I also aspired to create something that I would want to keep. A book to look through again and again.
Taking inspiration from the Broderie Anglise I had used on a few of my samples within the book, I searched through my studio to find something to merge in with this, to create a mechanism to hold the book together. On one of my sample books, the Boro one, I had used leather scraps as a fabric to make eyelets out of (see notes), but this didn’t fit with my theme here. Thus I found some lace with a stiff edge. I doubled parts up and cut them up, before I sewed them together and then onto the fabric “pages”.
To take away the “clean edges” of the book and make it more sketchbook like, I reflected back on the materials used to create each sample, hinting at them throughout the book, by stitching swatches in. I feel that this really adds something to the book and takes away the formality.
Labels will be provided through the book, so that each piece can be understood. Made as a reflection of the book itself, they will tie in to merge with the theme.
What do I think of this book?
I have been very selective as to what samples were put in the book. I didn’t want to create something which was simply all the samples I had made, put into one place out of convenience. As I have worked with a few different techniques and colour ways, I strongly felt that some needed their own space, their own book and that putting them in this one would have spoiled this book. No, I didn’t want to create a book which was too boring, the samples needed to jump out. Yes their technique difference and personalised presentation does this instead. The books I have made all form the body of work as a whole. What’s nice about having separate sketchbooks and viewing books, is that I will be able to look back on them in years to come, when I want a certain point of inspiration or reminder of a technique.
The book has been put together in folk art fashion, which I think suits the pieces themselves. Having thought about how to enclose them together, I wanted to use something which really related to the body of work specifically. The Broderie Anglise worked well for this, to form “eyelets”. The leather eyelets which were made for the Boro book, would not have worked in this case and would have looked out of place and meaningless, as they don’t suit the sample style.
Making a few films of my work in progress helps me explain my ideas not only to others; but also to remind myself.