When the student is ready, the teacher will appear… Without fully realising I’ve been needing-looking for a creative project I’ve been feeling the lack. And, I need a creative outlet that gets me out of the kitchen, doesn’t involve flour, butter, sugar, eggs, food processor, saucepans or washing damn jars.
A few years back Anne Lawson proposed The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook just as the G.O. and I were settling after relocating from city to country-coast followed by an around Australia roadtrip, and the timing didn’t feel right. Two years later, cue aha moment when I read a post by Richard Guest of the blog The Future Is Papier Mâché about the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project.
Following the link Richard provided I found plenty to interest me… Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project is a “crowdfunded library of artist sketchbooks that anyone can join”.
“Founded in 2006, Brooklyn Art Library is a creative platform that hosts interactive projects accessible to anyone. We are the largest collection of sketchbooks in the world. Housing over 40,000 sketchbooks on our shelves and over 20,000 in our digital library, we fuse the digital with the analog to create a one of a kind experience for all of our artists and visitors.”
Follow your own theme or go with one of the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project 2018 themes… “Go-between. Disconnection. Bizarre. Things I’ve left behind. Standstills. Rituals. This one thing… Burdens & Brushes. Homonyms. Stitch & story. Infinite sketch. City streets. Melancholy. A visual short story of the day we met.”
You can opt for standard and digitized versions. The current 2018 sketchbook project deadlines are ORDER BY: NOV 15th, 2018 / SUBMIT BY: FEB 15th, 2019.
“After the due date we’ll exhibit the current year’s collection of sketchbooks both at the library in NYC and out of town. Everyone who sends their completed sketchbook back in time will have their book included, and later cataloged into our permanent collection at Brooklyn Art Library.”
I decided to sleep on it. If I could come up with a starting point and theme I’d go for it.
I signed up this morning.
“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” ~ Albert Einstein
Ever since I read Anne Lawson’s inaugural In My Studio post I could hardly wait to shift furniture and unpack the contents of our new-old third bedroom at Taylors Arm so I could join in, and share my embryonic dreams of creative space. The reality is it was the last room to be sorted.
But in time for Anne’s January 2016 In My Studio post I can unveil… the Backroom.
It’s early days yet, and other than blogging & Instagram artistic creativity remains in chrysalis stage. But for now it’s enough that I created the Backroom. For 10 years I’ve been dreaming of occupying this room that opens onto the verandah where the G.O. and I could share space on our big old table made from floorboards and fence posts topped with pots of pens, photos, notebooks and… stuff. A room that fits our books and collected knickknacks, where the old night & day sofa that reminds me of one at my grandparents’ old house sits below paintings done by my Great-Aunt Emma in 1911. Tall drawers and a repurposed drinks trolley hold other stationery and creative bibs & bobs, some untouched for more than a decade since I last did art courses, and recent gifts of sketchbooks & pencils.
It’s a beginning and a space where inspired by Anne’s artistic life and Ardys’ creative life & mindfulness I can play with the seeds of possibilities and creativity that have so wonderfully come my way.
Without giving it much thought I’ve always had a number of creative and/or personal projects on the go; attending to what grabs my interest in what spare time I have. In the past week quite a few flagged their presence.
As I read Ardys’ post do your work, then step back… vis-à-vis the genealogy scrapbook she created for her daughter, I thought of the wedding photo book I’d started, and decided to employ similar parameters.
I’d gotten as far as importing the photos and placing about two-thirds. I placed the rest of the photos. It looked stark. I decided to flagrantly abandon the parameters. Forsaking restraint, I downloaded wedding theme embellishments, and an eclectic mix of others, splashing them across the pages. My inner Oscar Wilde “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess” was pleased.
We’ve purchased an elegant formal album for the 40 printed photos taken by Loving Images Photography. That project, affixing the photos and congratulatory cards within the album belongs to the oh-so-neat-and-patient G.O. Not a task for slapdash EllaDee.
There’s method, rather than madness, behind my pick-it-up-put-it-put-it-down style. If I work continually on a project, I stop seeing detail and perspective. I put it aside, park it in the back of my mind and while it’s in hiatus jot down ideas, then return to it afresh.
That method also camouflages procrastination… as in the case of our “if you’re reading this, we’re no longer with you” letters. Upon marriage legal wills are revoked, so the day before our nuptials we signed new wills but the accompanying personal wishes + useful information missives could do with refreshing to make them current. Sigh.
Late in the week I stumbled across a tangible prompt: a Love Who You Are banner, which complements a project along those lines I’ve been nurturing for too-many-years. My Saturday morning meditation affirmed it should be on my radar and provided insights of how I could develop it further.
The same meditation also yielded a suggestion to compile EllaDee’s Photo Library. I use only my own photos in my creative work. I’m pretty good at backing up (more so after the smartphone debacle resulting in the loss of photos of the G.O.’s grandmother’s old house…) particularly now I’m linked to OneDrive, and Google Photos is set to automatically back up my phone. Much like my email and tax filing, it’s all there but there is no order and I regularly search extensively the various repositories. Sigh.
Amongst Indie and book club reading and reviews, I read and reviewed Letters for my Little Sister.
“… I thought I would read it fast, eager to know all the information and experience it conveys. However, I’m savouring it; enjoying each essay and the personality of the woman who wrote it. When I’m weary or stressed, whether it’s due to peri-menopause or just life… reading it lifts me up, makes me smile and connects me with wonderful real, thoughtful community.”
Elements of Love Who You Are also feed into Celi’s Second Fellowship Book: Letters for my Baby Girl, which I’ve signed up for, and begun composing a letter to contribute. Of course I’ve mislaid my writing- do’s-and-don’ts checklist. Sigh.
And there’s the family history, mine or anyone else’s, I explore. I’ve lost count of the strands I’m following. It’s difficult not to get side-tracked. I lose endless time clicking on sources leading to various snippets of information, saving links and excerpts within the labyrinth of my electronic filing for sometime-in-the-future reference. Sigh.
However, last weekend we lunched with the G.O.’s visiting aunt & uncle plus family I hadn’t met before who live on the far side of Sydney. We got to chatting about family stories and history, the G.O. enthusiastically sharing the information of their mutual convict ancestry. In a
generous weak moment I offered to email the info I’d amassed. Which means locating and sorting it. Sigh.
Looking through the files reminded me of a blog post on the third convict ancestor I’d not finished, and old family photos I’d agreed to send to a newly discovered distant cousin from Dad’s mum’s Button family. As she is a prodigious online sharer, I want to watermark them first. Sigh.
Blog posts… Sigh. What on earth was I thinking in December 2011 when I created not a single but THREE WordPress blogs? Since sanity prevailed via my April 2014 blog consolidation exercise I’ve barely managed to keep up with one.
“The old proverb about having too many irons in the fire is an abominable old lie.
Have all in, shovel, tongs, and poker.”
Late last year when we moved apartments I read it’s good feng shui to give a gift to your new home, so I bought a French style wire postcard holder and thanks to http://www.zazzle.com.au and photos from my garden created colourful postcards with a selection of my favourite words, “happy” amongst them, of course.
[*relax & remember wouldn't fit into the holder, so they're on the fridge]
“The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.” Auguste Rodin
“Wherever you are is always the right place. There is never a need to fix anything, to hitch up the bootstraps of the soul and start at some higher place. Start right where you are. ”