The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook: Viv’s page

When the idea of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook was first proposed, Viv was one of the first to jump on board with gusto.

Before the Sketchbook reached her, however, we lost her in July 2016. This was a great sadness on two counts; first for those who loved her and miss her still, and secondly because the Sketchbook also needs words as well as the beautiful images which have been contributed. Viv’s great skill was with words, and the lack of her contribution left something of a void.

Viv’s daughter Sally has kindly consented to allow us to feature one of Viv’s poems to amend this lack. The piece which has been selected is called ‘Conjunctions’, and discusses the importance of building and maintaining the connections between us, a sentiment particularly appropriate for the far-flung Sisterhood.

I was asked to letter and insert Viv’s poem.   I have done this in a connected way, with each verse linked to the next with paper and thread. I thought about adding some pieces of patchwork, another of Viv’s passions, but ultimately felt that her words were splendid as they stood, and needed no other adornment or distraction. I’m happy with the simplicity of the execution.

You can see my own page about the Sketchbook project by clicking the link at the start of this post. Alternatively, go to the blog created for this project by Sandra, for a different perspective.

So, I give you Viv’s contribution. She’s with us after all…

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook # 5

After Anne, who made it, I’m honoured to be first on the list to make a mark on the pristine pages of the Travelling Sketchbook.

If you’re not familiar with this project, I recommend you hope over to Anne Lawson’s blog and look at how it all came to be, links here:

the-sisterhood-of-the-travelling-sketchbook#1
the-sisterhood-of-the-travelling-sketchbook#2
the-sisterhood-of-the-travelling-sketchbook#3
the-sisterhood-of-the-travelling-sketchbook#4

It’s been a rough week or two for me health-wise as some of you will already know, but I’ve finally finished my entry, and here it is. Click on the photo for a larger, and enlargeable, image.

Kate Sketchbook page

A stitched image in fabric, a bit of loopy hand lettering and a sorta, kinda poem. The sewn fabric piece is the hardest bit of foundation paper piecing I’ve ever made, but knowing how fond Anne is of feathers, it was a challenge that just had to be met…. I’m not totally in love with the lettering, but sometimes you just have to commit to getting something down on paper, don’t you? And I like the words… Actually, I’m not even sure which way the page should go, landscape or portrait.  I think I prefer portrait for the feather, but then the words are on their sides. You decide for yourselves which is better.

The Travelling Sketchbook is even now on its way to Sandra (Lady Red Specs – see the link below), so remember to check her blog to see what she’s going to add. I can’t wait to find out – the additions are going to be widely varied and fascinating. I’m going to save myself the trouble by Following the lot of you!

Below is the list of participants and links to them, so you can keep track. Maybe later participants could save a bit of time by cutting and pasting the info? You can track its progress on an interactive map miraculously conjured up by Chas Spain, here.

and finally, back to Anne herself in Melbourne, Australia

The Sketchbook's route The Sketchbook's globetrotting

There is an envelope containing the Sister-hood list with contact info and addresses in the back of the Sketchbook, so do make sure if you’re a contributor that this travels along too. Anne has also made a map where we can record the Sketchbook’s travels, and I hope the others will also update and show this when they publish their contributions, in addition to following Chas Spain’s proposed interactive version (for more on that, jump over here and read up on what she’s planning – it’ll be awesome!).

If anyone reading this would like to join in, please contact Anne about it via any of the blog posts listed at the top – we may need to either add more pages or start Volume II…

So far, the Sisterhood is living up to its name, but the odd Brother would be welcome too, I’m sure….

Update: I’ve now added a Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook page to this blog, which records the background, the story, and the additions, page by page, as they are made. You’ll find it in the bar at the left, under the More Information heading.

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

Yes, it IS kind of an odd title, but the idea is such fun!

May 2016

In Melbourne, in the south of Australia, lives Anne Lawson, a talented and generous artist. A while ago, Anne had the idea of making little informal sketchbooks from ends and scraps of the papers she works on, with some pages still featuring fragments of her drawings and paintings. I asked for one, and was honoured to have my wish granted. I started drawing, writing and sticking things into it. I was not alone. Others were being busily creative too.

A few months ago, Anne and I were fortunate to meet, together with Dale, another blogging friend. To say we got on like a house on fire would be an understatement. I had forgotten to bring with me the sketchbook she’d made me, which I had decided to give back to her with my contributions, to show that even her scraps could spark creativity!  So I sent it to her when I got home.

Sketchbook cover AL:WM Sketchbook binding AW:WMWe started to have conversations about the sketchbooks, and how interesting it would be to see what everyone did with theirs. And so the Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook was born. Anne put out a suggestion on her blog about what form this might take and how its travels might work, and the spark has truly caught. We are a varied and global group who will be passing the Travelling Sketchbook between ourselves, around the world.

Anne has created a small hand-bound volume of slightly different sizes, colours and weights of paper, with an emblematic ‘flying garlic’ bulb on the front cover. Into this, we shall each add our creative contribution, whether it be drawn, sewn, written, collaged or photographed. The Sketchbook will travel from Sister to Sister, growing in wisdom and beauty as it travels. Finally, after many exciting adventures around the world, it will come home to Anne, who saw it born and will now see it in all its glory. One of our members, Chas Spain, has created an interactive map to show its travels, destinations, distances, and an image of each contributor’s page. Go take a look!

Sandra (Lady Red Specs) has created a blog especially for this project, and you really should go over there and take a look; it gives a whole different perspective on the Sketchbook and the contributions.

For other images, you can also go to Alys’ Google photos gallery at https://goo.gl/photos/7pvZDmPqRHYQGaYq7

Below, I am cataloguing the contribution of each member in the order in which they are added.

My page (I was first on the list…), created in Bakers Creek, north Queensland, Australia.

Kate Sketchbook page

Sandra’s page created in Teneriffe, Queensland, Australia

IMG_6121

Chas Spain’s page created in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

1-IMG_2128

Sandi’s page, created in Victoria, Australia

SAM_0846

Alys’ page, created in the USA

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-8-16-17-am

Sue’s page, created in the USA

img_4757

Ushasree’s page, created in the USA

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-7-11-50-pm

Marina’s page, created in Greece

screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-4-07-34-pm

Constanze‘s page, created in Germany

 Lynn‘s page, created in France

Jan’s page, created in Wales, United Kingdom

Margaret’s page, created in Yorkshire, UK


Trish’s page, created in ACT, Australia

And then finally, back to Ann, who began it all, and created the Sketchbook itself.

We have one more addition to make. During the Sketchbook’s travels, we lost our dear Viv, a treasured member of the Sisterhood. Her contribution would have been a poem, and her daughter has kindly given us permission to use some of her previous work in tribute. The poem will be written out by hand and the paper inserted into the Sketchbook. Watch this space!

And here it is:

There is also a dedication to Viv at the beginning of the Sketchbook. We are grateful for the permission to include her poem, without which the Sketchbook would not be complete.

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

My friend Anne, a talented and generous artists, has come up with a fun idea. Have a read and see if you’d like to join in. So far there are seven of us participating, but the more the merrier, and the more varied the input the more interesting and creative the outcome will be.
Sew, draw, paint, write, photograph, cook, collage…. make some kind of creative contribution and make this Travelling Sketchbook totally amazing!

If you’d like to see who’s participating, there’s a later post from Anne here.

Anne Lawson Art

Oh I do love a good idea, and this is one of the best! A travelling sketchbook!

Let me go back to the beginning….

A while ago I was inspired to make sketchbooks from odd bits and pieces of paper that I had drawn on, practised watercolour washes on, started paintings on and so on. I offered them to blogging friends and sent about half a dozen around the world. One was to Kate in Northern Queensland. (You can read more about the original idea here.)

Earlier this year Kate and I had a chance to meet up in Melbourne. When she got home she sent me back the sketchbook with delightful additions. This was one, and you can see all the pages in my post from earlier in the week.

IMG_4251

Though the comments in that post Kate came up with the brilliant idea of having a travelling…

View original post 281 more words

Days of opportunity

It seems to me that for some, this world has taken a step backwards.

From the bright and hopeful start of women’s work towards social equality with men, I am seeing darkness creeping back. Abuse, sexual harassment, tacit approval of rape as a ‘weapon of correction’, violence towards women offered as entertainment, workplace bullying, suppression in the name of tradition and family pride, marginalisation and dismissal of our ideas and contributions in a way that men would not be expected to tolerate.

So when I hear of an organisation dedicated to opening horizons of opportunity for girls and women, even in a personal and private way, I’m interested. And when that contribution makes an unspoken but shattering difference to millions of lives over dozens of years, I want to know more.

If you’re a man, this may make uncomfortable reading. With all possible goodwill: Toughen up, princess. This is something every woman has to deal with, for most of her life.

The organisation is called Days for Girls, and its strapline is Every Girl, Everywhere. Period. It seeks to ensure that every girl and woman has access to adequate, healthy and sustainable sanitary protection. It offers dignity, hope, freedom from stigma and the ability to keep attending school and work instead of losing days, weeks and months of their lives, stuck at home and often ostracised as ‘unclean’ because it’s their time of the month and they have nothing to help them deal with that. From early beginnings in 2008, the organisation has become international, and to date it has helped over 1,000,000 women in more than 124 countries. That’s a lot of new freedom, a lot of new opportunity.

Yesterday, I joined my local branch, and came away with ‘homework’. Many volunteers work together once a week, others take work home and bring finished items back when they are done. I have piles of fabric to assemble into one element of the kit each girl and woman receives. Each kit is estimated to take 8 woman-hours: a gift from one woman to another, one day spent to give another woman days and days of a better, richer life. The design has been refined and re-refined in the 10 years it has been in use. A lot of thought has gone into creating something that is sensitive to the widest possible variety of local ideas, traditions and taboos. Girls receive a discreet bag filled with the sanitary necessities to take them through each month and to last for years to come. Some of the kits have been in use for more than 5 years already. I am incredibly proud to be a small part of this chain of hands held out to our sisters, who receive not only these necessities, but also basic instruction on their use, plus hygiene and sex education. Co-ordinators go in person to deliver hundreds of kits and the education. Where this is not possible, the kits are passed on to the volunteers on Mercy Ships to deliver together with education, where they are making port and offering medical care.

I think a lot of men are bored with hearing about ‘women’s issues’. When you’re at the top of the food chain, you maybe don’t feel the need to pay attention to those at the margins – and make no mistake, women as a whole are still at the margins despite decades of knocking at the door and banging our heads on the glass ceiling. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still such a long way to go… So it’s down to women to help each other. I am glad to help offer freedom and dignity to young women, so that they can enjoy as much opportunity as their circumstances permit, and travel in life as far as their imaginations will take them.

I expect some umbrage to be taken about my opinions. It is human to hold differing opinions and to believe different things, based on our experiences. If you wish to express your disagreement rationally and without abuse, your comments are welcome. Trolls and anyone using abuse to make their point will be deleted.

But nothing will convince me that this concept is not a shining light of compassion, rationality and sisterhood.