Friday, February 22, 2013

Freeform Friday - Sketchbooks

 Freeform Friday - just a journal, simply a sketchbook....

My current sketchbooks and journals. Yes, I have three going at once. 

My personal history. 
Metals sketchbook from college. Fall semester  1987. 

I have kept journals and sketchbooks since college - where I actually kept one for each studio class, like a kid with notebooks... And I have them all still - or most of them. When I have a creative block, when I feel my ideas are creatively stalled, I make a cup of coffee and browse. Each page, each assignment, each collage of word and image is a veritable time machine. 

The page pictured above - metals circa 1987? It was a Georgia O'Keefe inspired brooch, inlaid ebony and sterling. It was stunning - the piece was lost off the lapel of my Dads old tux jacket I wore continuously... but I am glad to have the sketch. I can recall the process, the hours put in to sanding the ebony to fit... That was my first semester of metals, too. 
Everyday everywhere sketchbook

 I carry a sketchbook with me everywhere. (above). I try to draw everyday. That lasts about a week each time I resolve to start anew. I make lists. Compulsively. I currently am using a grid pattern book, and do display layouts for shows...and I do sketch ideas! I really love my bandolier - fits the Moleskine book perfectly and holds a selection of pens. I have a smart phone - with note apps, drawing apps... and its not the same. Sure, my Iphone changed my life <tongue in cheek> but paper still is Queen!

I tend to have a journal that remains at home as well. This one will often contain collages, pictures "clipped & saved" from magazines for future reference, and true journaling if I feel the need to vent, or work through something I will write. And yes, its covered with stickers! Each book gets personalized, a collage in the front, stickers, tape tabs on pages so they are easily found. 
My current journal
collage page

This week I was thinking about books, journals, ideas, receptacles... as my current jewelry notebook is down to its last few pages. This is the book I keep on my worktable and sketch out ideas as I am working, design, solve problems, record options or variations that come to mind as I am sawing, beading....I couldn't bring myself to use the last few pages. I felt compelled to start the next book. I was going to start my Bead Soup piece, and my Challenge of Music piece - and I wanted to be free to have ideas evolve and expand. Those last few pages were limiting, finite. The new book with plenty of pages was full of possibilities, potential and room to grow. I don't have trouble finishing things in any other aspect of life - this was much more philosophical! So a new start, new ideas, and time at the bench!

Do you keep a journal? Sketchbook? What do you record? I would love to hear your thoughts... 



  1. WOW Jenny that's so cool. I've tried numerous times to do something like this but they always end up falling by the wayside after a few weeks, then I pick them up again later and try again but it falls away. I think it's awesome and hope one day I start and continue!

  2. I think us 'creative souls' are inspired by the muse of the moment -- which does not lend itself easily to a 'creative routine'. (isn't that an oxymoron anyway?!) I too have all sorts of different journals and use the one that fits the moment. The one I will be starting, tho, thanx to your inspiration, is the 'cut and paste' type. I have boatloads of inspirational items in a bin . . . putting them into a journal and adding my own elements looks like a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Your journals are amazing. I keep a written and a gratitude journal but not an art one. I can't draw a line straight with a ruler much less the beautiful things you have done. That pin sounds stunning. I feel your pain with losing it. I was thrilled with the bracelet I made in Stacie's class at ArtBliss and wore it all the time. It represented overcoming some challenges for me and sadly I lost it a little while back. The bad thing was I didn't even take a picture of it! Thank you for opening your journals to us.

  4. I keep a sketch book. I have (had) a rule: draw at least ONE thing each day in my book. I was really good about it up until about a year ago. Thank you for this post - it has inspired me to revive the habit!

  5. I keep a sketch. However it is not as detailed as yours. Yours is simply beautiful. A lot of my designs happen in my head or at my bench, simply by looking and moving pieces around as needed. I keep my sketch books for ideas I want to remember and don't have the time to do in the moment. Mainly my sketch books are to work out ideas for lampwork beads; exactly how a butterfly wing is constructed or placement of stringers on a bead, can I possibly fit all the elements in my head onto one bead.

  6. This is so cool! I was just thinking about starting a sketchbook this morning!!! Great minds?

  7. I keep a sketch journal-everything journal. I am not a diary keeper - I wouldn't want anyone to read my private thoughts, but I do like to right down important things. Mine is a 5 x 7 that goes with me everywhere - I'm never without it and it has everything in it. sketches, ideas, lists, notes to myself, etc. EVERYTHING goes in the journal. I had lost it last summer after Bead Fest PA and it was very traumatic but I found it! I also keep collage journals and I like to make my own journals. Journals are another form of art to me that I love.

  8. I love your sketchbooks/journals. I will try to do that and it lasts about 5 minutes. I am just not a record keeper like that. I may sketch an idea, but it's rare and usually on a random bit of paper which I promptly lose or forget about. Maybe if I could sketch more than chicken I get bored very quickly when handwriting words. It's too slooooow

  9. I love the way you have personalized yours! I always have a notebook or two in progress.

  10. Your journals are wonderful Jen - I'm hopeless at keeping up things like this but it would be great to be able to go back over past ideas a jottings. Maybe I'll try again...

  11. Thanks for sharing your journals. I have tried to keep a sketchbook, or at least a compilation of my design doodles from work and what not...need to try harder!

  12. I loved seeing your journals. I have kept written diary-type journals on and off since I was a kid. I don't draw, but I do have the color journal that I wrote about in my first AJE post, last October.
    Great post, Jenny. Thanks!

  13. I keep a scetchbook where I sketch design ideas. Sometimes I get so busy with life (kids) that I only get time to me in a series of moments.....taking a moment to scetch ideas as they pop in my head gives me the joy of being creative and records the idea, lest it be lost forever. Loving that bandolier!

  14. Kinda. I started to use a sketch book at the beginning of 2012. My problem is that I never seem to have it handy so I use post its instead. They are all over my office.


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