Monday, 14 May 2018

Karen Stamper and the Concertina Sketchbook

It takes a lot to get me out of bed, dressed and breakfasted and onto a train by 8.43 am these days, but that's what happened last Saturday. I was on my way to York with fellow Sketch Crawler Richard to take part in a workshop led by Karen Stamper.

I've been looking at Karen's work for quite a while and wondering how she achieved the effects in her concertina sketchbooks, so when the opportunity to find out came up, I jumped at the chance.

And it was well worth the effort! I won't give away Karen's secrets - she has lots more workshops to give, I'm sure - but will say that she started us off slowly to get us over the natural trepidation most of us felt. Dribbling ink and squirting it with water while it runs down five or six pages of  the concertina must be a proven ice-breaker. After that it was just one bit of fun after another, involving PVA, gesso, frottage, markers, collage and some hard thinking.

I ended up with six pages of an abstracted townscape full of references to Crete. One of the fascinations of the concertina sketchbook is that as it's folded, new compositions come into view.

It was clear everyone enjoyed themselves and seeing the sketchbooks laid out together showed how individual the end results were. 

Pat and I have a long holiday in Chania planned for later this year and I can certainly see me using some of these techniques while I'm there. And I'll be watching out for the chance to take another of Karen's workshops!


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