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  • Writer's pictureMarlene Dahl

Inside the sketchbooks

I have always enjoyed working in sketchbooks. It is a way for me to record and organise any thoughts or ideas I have as the project progresses. I usually tend to have a few on the go at the same time. One is mainly used for visual reference where I print out photos I’ve taken and write down anything I find of interest among these photos. That could for example be a specific colour combination, mood, texture or pattern and so on. It also let me evaluate which photos that I want to continue explore and develop within other mediums.

And then in a larger, A3 sized sketchbook, I take the ideas and thoughts I discovered while studying the photographs and express them using a variety of mediums and techniques. This could include painting, drawing, collage, rubbings and everything in between. I attempt not to limit myself during this process and instead try to find innovative ways to express my findings.

For example in the pictures taken above of the sun reflecting on the water surface - the aim is to try and reference the lines and patterns with other mediums. I started out scrunching up paper and realising that the markings where similar and then moved on to creating rubbings with different types of pencils. The next step in this process will be to determine how it can be created with textiles. And how I can manage to find connection and relation between what I am actually making and the research.

Sometimes the actual photographs can inspire an initial composition idea for a woven piece of cloth. I found the pictures of the waves rolling in on the beach to be particularly fascinating and just by looking at the photo I could imagine it being created in textiles. This led to me investigating through thumbnail sketches on possible arrangements and as well as ideas for what yarns and fibres to use.

However, writing down ideas and plans are all well and good. But I find that with textiles the only way you will know if your ideas will really work or not is to try them out through sampling and development.

Until next time,


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