I love new sketchbooks. Their sweet promises get me every time; they whisper; art will happen; a visual feast coming soon. I pine to have an artfully messy catalogue of my creative impulses and musings, yet my sketchbooks remain mostly empty. Maybe because when an idea bursts forth gasping for paper, I reach right past them and grab the loose sheets stacked in my printer. With this in mind, I attended a sketchbook workshop where we took a line for a walk with needle and thread. I thought a proper sketchbook session might straighten me out and wean me off of my Epson ways. Instead, my sketchbook myths were the first to happily go down in flames; the start of a small creative wildfire.
A short quiz. True or False.
1. A sketchbook can be anything.
Hello? Needle and thread, fabric pages: of course it can! Printer paper, napkins, candy wrappers; a stick dragged in the sand; take whatever road will get you there. I’m starting a sketchbook rug. Not a sampler or a hit and miss but a good for nothing rug. A mat for mindless fiber doodles to run judgement free without a finish line; where wild and crazy can live comfortably knowing they will never have to tidy up and welcome guests. All in favor of a guilt free U.F.O.(unfinished object), say aye!
2. The edge is the last thing you finish on a piece of rug hooking.
Seems logical but what if an organic shape is bossy and insists on going first? I’ve tousled with this persistent cuss. Its bravado whipped me common senseless and I whipped it right back. If I can draw with thread and knowingly start a U.F.O., why can’t my next rug hooking begin with the edge.
3. You must use a hoop or frame when you hook.
What if you decide to whip your edges first? There’s no way it’s going to fit in any hoop now. Especially since that brassy shape wanted an extra thick edge to show off its many curves. I have opposable thumbs; I can adapt! If I can start a rug I’ll never finish and finish a rug I’ve never even started, why can’t I tool around hoop free.
4. Rug hooking backing is only for rug hooking.
Sounds a bit “thou shalt” when I think about it. If I don’t have to stretch my backing, what other liberties can I take with a malleable patch of linen; needle felting might be interesting. I hooked around a big sassy border, surely I can free form my way around soft felted shapes. Actually, without the wooden brace, I can run free style in a lot of different directions!
Who knew you could bust and burn without a sledgehammer or match in sight and that it would feel so damn good! Perhaps a little personal myth busting is another way to liberate our own natural creativity. Inner critic, forever hold your tongue and put more printer paper on the shopping list.
Knots by Lisa Hannigan ( a new way to wear color and there’s a ukulele! )