Thursday, 12 February 2009

Guest Speaker, Jane Pollard

As we were exchanging Travelling Books for the first time, it was serendipitous that our speaker last night was talking about using sketchbooks. As a teacher, Jane Pollard, expects her students to use sketchbooks but only began to use them herself when required to do so on a City and Guilds course. It was then that Jane began to understand the difficulties her students were experiencing and considered how they might overcome them.

Finding little inspiration in purchased sketchbooks, Jane began to explore other options and making her own books in a format and from papers that appealed to her. In addition Jane changed the way in which she used them, no longer limiting herself to merely sketching, but filling her pages with drawings, painting, colour, stitches, and samples of threads, beads, fabrics and paper. In fact, anything that inspired her.

Jane also found that it helped to think about what she wanted to do with the sketchbook and has several books that fulfil different roles. One is used for recording; making quick sketches, noting down thoughts, lines from poems or quotes, and observations. Another is used for developing ideas; researching a subject, making more detailed drawings, collecting together samples and swatches. Some of her books are themed and in those Jane collates anything relating to subjects that interest her, such as fairgrounds, or research and ideas for a finished design.

The sketchbooks that Jane brought along for us to see were inspirational. Some, so far unused, were so beautiful that I doubt I would ever use them for fear of spoiling them. There was a black silk box with machine embroidery which, when you removed the lid, unfolded to reveal four sketch pads, one on each inside wall. Their covers were made from strips of fabric and machine stitching gradually changing colour and creating a colour wheel. A second box, the top entirely covered in machine stitching with gold and silver metallic threads, unfolded to reveal a sketchbook with a beautifully machine embroidered cover. A CD rack filled with hexagonal cards covered with various patterned papers.

The books that had been used were anything but spoiled. The pages were alive with thoughts and ideas that would set anyone’s creative juices on fire. Jane had also brought with her a selection of sketchbooks belonging to some of her students. Judging from the work they are doing in thier own books, they have certainly been inspired by Jane's approach.

1 comment:

Plays with Needles said...

I found this post very interesting and timely. I just bought a book about sketchbooks for textile artists...