One of the key areas to my art practice is working in sketchbooks. I use them to explore new ideas and as a creative journal, and they often become artworks in their own right. I will use bought sketchbooks or create my own; I really enjoy the concertina format and working in old secondhand finds to make altered books.

Below is a selection of pages from my sketchbook and altered book projects:

Handmade sketchbook: collage and mixed media 2022

This started out as part of the Lydia Rink’s 5 day Collage Up Your Sketchbook project. The book was made using a ‘no stitch’ method, which I really liked, and then I filled it with my own collage, mixed media and mark-making.

Mixed media collage sketchbook page
Mixed media collage sketchbook page
Mixed media collage sketchbook page
Mixed media collage sketchbook page
Mixed media collage sketchbook page

Reclaimed embroidery altered book: Leigh Art Trail 2021

This project was completed for the SEVEN Sketchbook Collective exhibition at the Leigh Art Trail, of which I am a member. We were exhibiting at the Refill Room, which is a zero-waste store, we chose the theme of ‘Reclamation’ and we wanted to recycle and reuse as many materials as possible. The book I chose was a secondhand book on crewel embroidery that I collaged and stitched into.

Altered book spread
Altered book page

#52weeksartjournal: Instagram challenge, 2021

During the various Covid-19 lockdowns in the UK, we had been restricted on the number of people we could meet with and where we could travel to. As part of SEVEN Sketchbook Collective we looked for a sketchbook project that we could work on remotely. We found one on Instagram, hosted by RaspberryBlueSky. The project suggested a weekly word prompt for us to respond to. I chose to use an old diary from the British Library as each week had a double-page spread, which gave me a good struture work with.

Week 1: New beginnings
Week 15: My Art Journal is…

Mark-making concertina book: The Sketchbook project 2020

The Sketchbook Project, based in the US, started in 2006, and is a global sketchbook project. Anyone can request a sketchbook, fill it in and submit it. The book will then be displayed in their physical library and can be digitised for online viewers.

My book was inspired by Warley Place and I have used botanical themes and maps as a starting point.

*UPDATE: In 2022, the Sketchbook Project were relocating from Brooklyn to Florida when their truck caught fire! They estimate to have lost 7,000 books in the fire and I’m not yet sure if my book survived…you can view my sketchbook online.

Concertina pages
Concertina pages

The Water Replies: Estuary Festival, Metal Art Culture 2021

Sketchbook cover
Mixed media with collage and embroidery

Hundertwasser hand-made sketchbook: Leigh Art Trail 2019

Mixed media collage
Mixed media collage

Creative journals: SEVEN Sketchbook Collective

Sketchbooks and altered books
Concertina sketchbook
Mixed media collage
Mixed media collage

You can read more about these, and other, projects in my blog, or follow me on Instagram.

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.

Pablo Picasso