The Sketchbook Revival has proved to be a family life line in this strange and weird time and has become a part of our routine, like furniture in a room. In fact a few odd things have become a part of our routine: Over lunch we all do a number puzzle (this makes it sound easier than it is – some of them are real buggers) which over in North London my Father and Brother are also doing (It’s sent out in the morning..and I hear it’s being passed on to all manner of people who want to give their brain cells a beating). Then after supper, when work is finished and the day is drawing to a close, we gather round the kitchen table to follow the sketchbook revival, never knowing what we’re going to be asked to do next. This time together is not about comparison or competition, but connecting and just doing; Here’s a thought: if you don’t do art because you think everything you produce is sh*t, think about who’s made that decision? Is it limiting? Why should you limit yourself? Now put it into perspective – are you ever going to sell your art? No. Will it be a fun thing to do? Possibly…but until you try with an open mind, you’ll never know…and let me tell you from experience..shit art has real comedy value.
But that’s now come to an end. (Although you can still follow the series until April 26, link here) Sob. So what next??
My mother sent a link this morning to Firstsite and their Artist Activity Packs which can be downloaded for FREE. All manner of artists from Jeremy Deller to Annie Morris to Anthony Gormley and Grayson Perry have or are intending to contribute, offering projects, thoughts and inspiration, designed for children and adults alike that can be explained or done on a sheet of A4. A quick look through – the first pack is 26 pages – reveals all sorts of gems from drawing a self portrait with your eyes closed to making a chain of people designed by Anthony Gormley. Can I underline – this is pure gold dust and liquid star beams and basically the stuff dreams are made of: Can you imagine all these artist’s competing to come up with the best ideas..and then giving it out for free???
Sorted. With a huge, happy smile.
Laters, Kate x
The hump day of the week, highlighted by a rebellion from Charlie over running this morning. All I can think is, why wouldn’t you? The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the blossom is out. But there’s that expectation to lash out at, the enforced decree. I think it’s what Boris Johnson is so scared of hence his fudged message: Stay at home, unless you have to work at work, which you can only do safely, but your bosses will decide what that means. Certainly on run, there was very little difference, the main roads are the same, the residential roads are quiet except for builders, who were told to shut up shop, but now are considered able to work safely. A builder working safely? The niggling feeling is Boris is trying to blur the line between caring and the economy. I wish he would just make a strong stand one way or the other.
Charlie did go for his run – the threat of losing time on Fortnite was a powerful motivator. But we ran different routes.
The big success has been the daily sketchbook challenge. On day one Carla Sonheim explained her daily page dump – drawing a box, dividing it up, filling each square with different subjects: day and date, a diary entry, an ideas section, a drawing and an anything goes box. We’re all doing this every day so that by the end of this we’ll all have diaries of this bizarre, never known before time to look back on and remember. Once that page is complete, there’s a different artist offering something new to do each day.
These were from blob drawing and looking at food.
The idea is not for perfection – and the random nature of the vintage-handmade-sketchbooks really helps with that.
The email of ideas comes in at 12. I find myself looking forward to it.
Laters, Kate x
This morning is the first test of the strength and endurance of our internet – all four of us are working at the same time. So far, all good – the biggest concern is between those who can work quietly (me, John, Bella) and those who can’t (Charlie) and whether those who work quietly will influence a dial down, or the constant nagging needs of one will dial it in the opposite way; I’ve only yelled once…
We’ve all kept to our normal times. Apart from Bella, who over slept so missed the newly installed 8.00 am run – we’ve each installed the couch to 5k app with the aim to run with it every day. It’s a great programme especially for beginners; it tells you when to run and when to walk and is designed to progress you from a beginner to running a full 5k. There’s an option where you can choose your personal running coach – mine is Michael Johnson, because when he tells me I’m doing good, I really believe I’m doing good. He’s fast becoming a good friend. When we’re running as a group we look like a flock of birds, when with no obvious signal we all transform from walking to pounding the streets. The streets today were probably two thirds down on traffic, but busier than expected. I think everyone thinks their car is their own portable bubble. The thing is it’s what you do at either end of your journeys that can matter…there’s news that petrol pumps are sources of infection. Just saying.
This weekend we prepped for the sketchbook revival 2020 challenge, buying nothing, but going through book shelves for old books, gathering dust that could do with a re-love, finding old sketchbooks, tearing out pages, old letters, cards, wrapping paper, tissue paper – anything that would make it interesting, then sewing it together…very satisfying.
Mine is done now. Just waiting for the first email to drop in with instructions for the day – better check my spam folder…
Also redid our window boxes: ivy, trailing white geraniums, miniature daffodil bulbs and some white plant that looked pretty! They’re going to get a bit of love every day as well.
Something little, something often, something creative, something together. This is could be more a blessing than a chore.
Laters, Kate x
As this week comes to an end we have potentially the biggest change so far – I have Bella at home for the first time today and Charlie’s school will close at 3.50 pm. Things to be grateful for:
- My children are older.
- We have a garden.
- I like my children.
I think it also helps that I am used to working from home and already have systems in place that I know work. My rules are pretty simple: Run a planner to prioritise what needs to be done, turn off all distractions apart from appropriate music, set a timer – 30 minutes max, focus till timer goes off, re-set with 10 minute timer, start a podcast, do a cleaning or admin job to tick off planner. Repeat. There’s something about this system that means you’re always willing to re-start the 30 minutes because you stopped it just before you lost concentration. And you always look forward to the 10 minutes because you left the podcast at a critical stage…
I am hoping we’ll all be able to work in the mornings, and create in the afternoons.
Through Carla Sonheim’s amazing website, I have joined the sketchbook revival for daily drawing sessions. What appeals about this is the unleashing of creative freedom that is the opposite to perfection. I received the first pre-event taster in my email box straight away – (so far all of this has been free) – a tutorial with Calylee Grey on making a junk art journal from an old vintage book. Utterly delicious and a must to do: You don’t actually need anything to start, other than a willingness to experiment and a drive to do a little bit every day.
This is my heaven.
Laters, Kate x
The news here in London is that the kids are still going to school, but things are very quiet; it’s like the calm before the storm. Time button down the hatches and prepare. I’m going to see what garden centres are still open, find seeds, little things that can grow into big things and be nurtured, things that will mark the passing of time in a positive way.
The other thing on my list is art supplies: For those already stuck indoors, Carla Sondheim does a series of brilliant art courses that work if you want to invigorate your creative juices, or you’ve never painted or drawn before. There are both pay for options and free, for adult and children alike.
Where I can, I’ll be getting all my supplies from independent shops, not Amazon: If we don’t use them, we’ll lose them.
Laters, Kate x
Here in London, the sky is a birds egg blue, there are buds on the trees and the supermarket toilet roll aisles are empty. If it was a stomach bug, I’d have more understanding, but…toilet roll?? It means they’ll have to close the schools soon for fear of pupils stealing from cubicles and selling it on the streets..All jokes aside, this is the one time we need humour: Enjoy the following… I have.
Laters, not in lock down yet, Kate x
This is a post has been recovered from the mists of time, because it’s one that I often think of and was courtesy of the lovely Lia in Brussels who first introduced me, via a comment on this Blog, to the incredible work of Austrian wizard, Klemens Torggler.
There are a rarified group of objects like the London Underground map that have totally fulfilled their design potential – to meddle any further would be to over-engineer or muddy. And so it could be thought with the humble door – opening or sliding are the only two options.
That is until now. Torggler’s design, based on rotating squares, makes it possible to move an object sideways without the use of tracks. Even if the object weighs 200 kg.
There’s also the Evolution door,a door based on triangles that moves at the touch of a finger tip like a piece of living origami.
What I would give for my own flock of steel birds – The perfect marriage of function and Art.
Laters, Kate x
I am obsessed by supermarkets. I watch them change, adapting to the demands of society. Their purpose is to fill a need and make a profit, but at what cost? Where does the truth lie? The cynic in me thinks they’re not changing because they have a conscience, but because it’s another tag line to peddle, another profit pocket to plunder, and so I watch with interest the bright, shiny, plastic packaging of their organic and vegan food, designed to appeal. Which means I sigh with pleasure when someone with real clout can dig deeper than green-washing headlines and cultivate, from their rich soil upwards, a brand embedded and held up by sustainable beliefs. But the shining joy of Stella McCartney is not just her glowing ethos, but her vision, because she points to a future away from obvious hippy, home spun stereotypes that says caring can be luxurious; she blurs boundaries, fuses opposites and visibly demonstrates that anything is possible, if we want it enough.
Bring it on.
Laters, Kate x
Maybe it started with knowing which kitchen you loved in Big Little Lies; for me, it was always Bonnie’s warm welcoming one…and so it started, because although Zoe Kravitz was just playing a part, part of her natural soul was on show too: the piercings, the tatts, an effortless grace. And then there was her singing the Elvis Presley cover of ‘Don’t’ in the final episode of season 1. I still have it saved to a play list on Spotify…
Authentic, honest and holding a space in the world that is all her own.
Laters, Kate x
From the ridiculousness of my last post to the sublime: There are times when I see an artist, their work, their lifestyle and feel a pull, as if but for a sliding doors moment, I’m looking at a life I could’ve lived. This is the work of stained glass artist, Tamsin Abbott, inspired by the mystery of nature, folklore and fairytales.
Tamsin lives in rural East Herefordshire with her family and works from an idyllic studio in her garden.
Is it wrong to say I’m now saving my pennies. And stalking her?
Laters, Kate x