I have been pondering the role of a sketchbook in my practice and reading a chance find on the shelves of the Art Department at the college where I work: Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art by Jennifer New. There is quite a lot about journaling which I’m uncomfortable with – the notion of a diary, the element of reflection and simply the number of words that seem to accumulate. I distrust words at the moment. But the idea of a journal where you just stash things that seem important or interesting – keepsakes, ideas, quotes, images – well, that suddenly seemed to make sense to me.
Inspired, I grabbed a lovely small square notebook bought at Salts Mill in Saltaire during the summer and got stuck in. I found a few leftovers from my collagraph workshops with Emily Harvey; glued to the covers they made beautiful marks.
Then inside, my first scribblings.
No structure, no rules – some precious papers, a few words and one shining insight. The way I defined my journal to myself on the first page:
a treasure trove
a place to dump things
for things to remember
for things I want to forget
for saying unsayable things
I like the quote I found recently on textile artist.org from Gustave Flaubert:
Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.
Maybe this will be a place to be violent and original too. Or at least, a tiny bit bold.