(Front and back of Sketchbook)
The Regular Reader of this blog and its partner, The Cartoonist's Hat, will know I've always had an interest in working interactively with other artists. The Moly exchanges of a few years ago (see links in the sidebar) were really quite stimulating and responding to other's ideas kept me producing new ideas of my own.
So when I discovered Sketchbook Circle in a post on Facebook, I was intrigued.
How does it work?
"Each January a circle is established and then every artist makes work in a book of their choice (although it needs to fit through the letter box.) They post their books to the person next to them in the circle by the end of January. Then every artist makes work in response to the work they have received and posts the book back to where it came from. This means that there are two in-depth artistic conversations occurring over the course of a year (it goes back and forth like a pendulum). Artists work in any medium and on any scale, sometimes working outside the book and using it just as place to record their making. [.............] It is a demanding project as it is stretching to respond to someone else's artwork, but it is also incredibly rewarding."
The original Sketchbook Circle brought together artist educator friends using sketchbooks as a vehicle for collaboration, who were looking for a way to commit time to their own making around their busy lives working in education and wanted to develop a community of practitioners. I was a little concerned that not being a an "artist educator" I'd not qualify, but it seems this is not the case. So here I am, a participant in Sketchbook Circle 2016.
I'm not by nature a sketchbook artist. I tend to work out my ideas on canvas, but I've come to the conclusion recently that a lot of my unrealised ideas are still unrealised because the initial important stages of investigation and experiment are missing. I'm hoping this Sketchbook Circle experience may go some way to changing that.
In a painfully slow fashion I've started my own sketchbook for this project. After some attempts at just creating covers for the book, I stripped off all the additions and left it as the somewhat minimalist thing you see above.
The pages are taking just as long, but I'm starting to get a feel for it. In a way, it may be easier, if a little daunting, to respond to someone else's work, which is what I'll be faced with next month.