Saturday, 28 April 2012

2012 Sketchbook project

Photographs: Marta Szabo 2012

Nearly a year ago I signed up to join in with the 2012 Sketchbook Project. A few weeks later I received a small sketchbook in the mail. The deal was that I would explore whatever I wanted to in this wee book and then send it back to the Brooklyn Art Library in January 2012 in time for it to go on the 2012 Sketchbook tour that is now under way.

I loved the idea of being part of an enormous community project that spans the whole globe but starts as something personal and intimate. I chose the theme of 'travel with me' and the title of the book ended up as 'into a world of colour'. I've always been a bit nervous about tackling colour so this was my chance to face down this fear. You can see the sketches online here.
The result is a snap shot of my life over about six months. I explored different mediums and remembered how much I use to like using oil pastel and that watercolour is difficult to handle well. Some of the sketches are considered and some of them are tossed off in a hurry. The quality of the paper was poor which created problems. I did have the option of using my own paper and rebinding the book but I chose to stick with what I was given.

So the sketchbook project began its tour at the Brooklyn Art Library which is where these photos were taken. The next stop is Chicago. Since I live in London I haven't been able to visit the art library myself - I'll have to wait until the tour comes to London in October. So I enlisted my friend Marta Szabo who was very happy to visit and record the event.
Marta is a friend who I have made in the online community. We haven't met in person yet but several years we ago began reading each others blogs which led to commenting on them and then having conversations. Marta is a writer and, with her husband Fred, a teacher of memoir writing which chimes nicely with my own exploration of art.

This association Marta and I have developed reminds me of the book 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Frank Doel was chief buyer at Marks & Co, an antiquarian booksellers in Charing Cross Road in London. Hanff first contacted this shop in 1949 when she was in search of obscure classics and British literature. In time Hanff and Doel developed a friendship which was to last for 20 years and was conducted entirely by mail. Eventually this friendship extended to other staff members in the shop and to gifts being exchanged. Sadly Hanff delayed meeting her English friends until it was too late and Doel died in 1968. Hanff did eventually visit London in 1971 and saw the empty but still standing shop in Charing Cross Road. So that was a bit of a sad ending to that story and I hope I do make a visit to New York before too long so that our story has a different ending.


Marta Szabo said...

I was so happy to have been able to attend this event -- the gallery (The Brooklyn Art Library) is a wonderfully unusual place, the exhibit, as Heather described, is just a great idea -- and Heather's book was just glorious to pore over -- I was so excited to hold in my hands this book created by this friend whom I have never met. All in all, the whole experience was and is exhilarating!

jacqui boyd said...

A brilliant post, as usual Heather. Book a ticket now and get out of London for the Olympics, you know its going to be hell. New York is only hop, skip and jump away, these days (unlike Austin :(
Will be checking out your book when it makes it to Austin in September

Heather said...

Thank you both. I'd love to visit NY during the Olympics but we are thinking of visiting Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland then and doing a bit of walking. :)