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:


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.

Words under Pressure #6

So many of you are heading into the heart of winter, pulling out your warm clothing, putting on boots and coats to go outside. Here, we’re sweltering in hot, hot days and miserably high humidity.  It makes me a little nostalgic for being too cold, and being able to pile on the woollens!

Selfish Joys

Ah, the deep, rich, velvet comfort
Of old red flannel pyjamas
And oh, the pink-cheeked bliss
Of hot chocolate and fleecy socks.

The outrageous pleasure of a whole sofa,
Cushions, fresh coffee, a new book, and peace.
The happy hedonism of others’ cooking.
The acute rightness of a well-considered gift.

Yes, and waking warm, with sun on eyelids.
With grilling bacon in the hungry nose.
And gale-blown air in office lungs,
And the heart as high as heaven.

Words under pressure #1

No, it’s not good poetry, but it released something that wanted out.  And this is MY blog, so I can post it if I want to, heh heh!

The colours don't look quite real, but actually they're even stronger and brighter than this.

The colours don’t look quite real, but actually they’re
even stronger and brighter than this.

Island in the Sun

Hurtling across the earth’s face,
The shrieking plane violates
Heaven’s lofty peace, its pure moonscape.
This parody of flight, this facile travel.

And then the reprieve, the release
From their stinking shell. A birth into the sun.
Dazed and feeble, travellers emerge,
Inhale – and stumble blinking, confused.

Something magical, something far-off and strange.
A sense of other, a profound difference.
A sweeping rush of exhilaration.
A changed way of being.

The tremor is stilled, heartbeat slows.
In the sunlight, hummingbirds tremble and glitter.
Time to stop and watch. The race recedes.
The mind’s eye is dazzled, ultraviolet-lit.

White echoing cliffs, where the sea hurls
Lace-like foam onto the bony shoulders
Of ancient, fossil-crusted limestone.
High in the aching blue void, birds scream.

Sands: white, golden and shaded pink,
Soft and fine, like island sugar, whisper and blow.
The wind is strange, far-travelled,
Breathing its lonely, ten-thousand-mile breath.

Along the shore, the restless, unending
Refreshment continues, the world’s
Inexorable heartbeat, the surf, the tides.
Unceasing, eternal, ancient, ever-new.

Along the roads, the great grass, the cane
With its heart of sweetness, its heady promise
Waves above brilliant hedgerow jewels –
The wild orchids. Everyday miracles.