Sunday, 22 February 2015

Making Sketchbooks: AENW Workshop

Making folded square sketchbooks from recycled papers

Recently I was asked to run a short workshop at Tullie House for Art Educators North West, a group of teachers and others involved in art education who meet regularly to share ideas, experiences and skills. The workshop was to tie in with the Anselm Kiefer exhibition currently on show at Tullie and the programme of workshops being offered to schools.

Some of my sample sketchbooks

Folded Square Sketchbooks

Folded Square Sketchbooks-Opened out

The workshop I've designed for the schools in connection with the exhibition is a mixed media book making workshop so for this session I adapted that idea. I wanted to run a workshop that would be both enjoyable and useful so I was aiming for something that the educators would be able to take back and use with their students but that would also be fun to do.

Me showing one of my books

Folded square sketchbooks made from prints taken from painted fabric

One of my envelope sketchbooks

I always feel very nervous before I run a session for teachers, it's very scary teaching a teacher! However, everyone was really friendly and the atmosphere was relaxed and positive. I also got lots of positive comments so that's always a good confidence boost. I really hope the session was useful.

Envelope sketchbook seen from above

Envelope sketchbook

Envelope sketchbook

The workshop focused on three different ways of making sketchbooks; a folded square book, an envelope book and a variation on book maker Hedi Kyle's blizzard book. The other focus of the session was what paper to use, I wanted to look at using a range of recycled and discarded papers (rejected prints, junk mail, old maps, unneeded photocopies and so on.)

Preparing squares

Putting the squares together

Preparing squares

I had a range of books that I'd made to show the group and once we'd looked at those we got stuck in to the making. What I like about all three of these books is that they're basically very simple but there is a lot of potential to do quite exciting things with them. My favourite is probably the folded square book, it is just made of squares of paper but the way it is folded means that as well as being a flat sketchbook it can also be manipulated into more of a 3D form. It is a very tactile form and interesting to play about with.

Selecting and preparing papers

Preparing pages

A finished sketchbook

I also really like the envelope sketchbook, using an existing envelope as a template a range of envelopes are made from different papers and then joined together to form a book. The envelopes can be used to store things as well as being drawn on or written on as sketchbook pages. Like the folded square books they can also be made into more 3D forms. I think it would be great to work with a group making these and then use everyone's finished books to make an installation.

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