In which I talk about the joys of painting, drawing, knitting, cats, music, living in London, and whatever else takes my fancy.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Completing Things

One of the more bizarre effects of breaking my finger last year is that I have become very comfortable with not completing things!  In the first part of 2011 I had embarked on many projects, ranging from a Woodland Trust graffitti knit bluebell , to my half-made sketch books , to reorganising my collection of cds, to tidying the garden, etc, all of which I was forced to simply leave as they were on May 2nd. At first, this proved to be quite a challenge because I usually derive a lot of pleasure from celebrating the finished results of a project, and the excitement and energy of my success spur me on with my next scheme.

Last May I encouraged myself to live with the chaotic mess of my many works in progress because I believed the optimistic forecast of "six weeks" for my broken finger to heal.  In fact, nine months later, my hand is now just about sufficiently healed for me to resume work on these tasks. In the meantime, I notice that living with unfinished projects has become a habit.  Breaking my hand did not diminish my enthusiasm for starting things, so my flat is now in danger of being over run by works in progress!

It is commonly thought that it takes 21days to form a habit, so I'm going to challenge myself to focus this February on completing as many of these items as I can, beginning with these wonderful mittens:

The pattern is Ysolda Teague's "cotton reels", which are forming a wonderfully warm doubled yarn fabric that would be perfect for current freezing temperatures.  I have one thumb to knit, ends to darn in, and a ribbon string to attach to the loops so I do not loose a mitt. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Learning How To Make Books

My next goal for enhancing my real life portfolio is to add some dummy books: last year several children's publishers admired the contents of my portfolio, and said that they would like to see demonstrated how my illustrations could work in a book!   I also want to follow Viviane Schwarz's example, and make my own sketchbooks specifically for some characters I am in the process of dreaming up.

 In fact, I began experimenting with making books early in 2011, then put the construction phase on hold because of breaking my finger and damaging the tendons.  Every week I notice new improvements to my hand, and am delighted this week to be able to do the necessary cutting, marking and stitching to complete the making of this pink sketchbook:

I've also finally sewn together these:

which were being held together with loops of ribbon. It makes such a difference to be able to turn the pages like a real book!

When funds and time permit, I'd like to treat myself to a course in bookbinding at the fabulous Shepherds Falkiners -  my rudimentary skills, mostly gleaned from watching videos and experimenting, could be vastly improved with some practical guidance!