Monday, 27 April 2015

‘Golden joinery’

A bowl repaired through the Japanese art of Kintsugi. Using this method, a broken vessel can become even more precious than before it was fractured.

In my last post over a year ago, I talked of the ‘creasing, tearing, or denting’ our sketchbooks might endure on their journeys. I couldn’t have foreseen then what a rough ride some of my exchange friends, including me, were going to experience!
My life in Scotland has been completely dismantled over the past year and now I am starting afresh in the south of England. I even had to leave behind my beloved German Shorthaired Pointer, Ramsay.

Ramsay’s contribution to my sketchbook.

I am fortunate, though; I still have reserves of gold in my life to repair the damage. It’s time to take out the pencils and brushes again. I think I also have a little gold-leaf hidden away somewhere...

Monday, 24 March 2014

Stillman and Birn launch the Nature Trail
Sketchbook Exchange

Banner and logo designed by Lorraine Adams. Botanical illustrations by Claire Ward.


We are honoured that our Zeta Series sketchbook has been selected by Nature Trails 2014, a prominent group of botanical artists, for a unique artwork exchange. Here is an explanation of the program’s concept: 

“Nature Trail 2014-2015: a Natural Sketchbook Exchange,
is promising to be an exciting collaboration of 15 botanical artists from all over the UK, Ireland, Holland, Italy and the USA. Every month each artist will complete a double page spread then mail it to the next artist on the list. Subjects to sketch and paint will encompass anything from the natural world; for example, feathers, shells, berries, habitat landscapes and absolutely anything botanical. Also colour notes, poems, any writing you would normally include in a sketchbook can go in, in whatever design.

The Zeta Series sketchbooks to be used on the exchange are made by Stillman & Birn with thick, smooth, quality paper perfect for nature studies. The size is a neat and small A5 (5.5” x 8.5”), just right for posting.”

We are grateful for the support of our U.K. partner, Jackson’s Art Supplies whose team made the timely launch of this project possible.

We will be posting updates periodically from the blog of Nature Trails 2014:’

See Stillman and Birn’s Facebook page. 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Taking a long journey has its risks

Ghost Trees is my first contribution to Nature Trail 2014-2015: a Natural Sketchbook Exchange, a collaboration of 15 artists from the UK, Ireland, Holland, Italy and the USA. Once a month each artist will complete a double-page spread, or maybe more, in their sketchbooks before posting to the next artist who will do the same until, fingers-crossed, our own sketchbooks will arrive back home 15 months from now.

Ghost Trees. Birches on Pitmedden Estate woodland walk. Watercolour.

Giovanni Cera has illustrated the route each sketchbook will take in his
delightful map.

I have come to know my fellow artists through FlickR, Facebook, and the Society of Botanical Artists (SBA) diploma course which I completed in 2013. They are a talented, enthusiastic, and supportive group of people whose beautiful work constantly reminds me to keep trying... and trying!

We are using Stillman and Birn sketchbooks, size A5, handy for posting. The paper is thick, smooth, and should take a bit of punishment from water and brush!  Mine was lovingly dressed in a smart green coat with colourful lining before being packed off from Ellon post office.

A long journey has its risks and no doubt some books will suffer creasing, tearing, or denting. Some may not make it at all... But I hope all will return like well thumbed passports, pages stamped with the distinctive marks of 15 artists.