Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Make a Simple Sketchers Go Bag

Preparedness is about being ready, having a system in place enabling you to grab and go at a moment's notice. In a previous post we looked at six ways to find and collect inspiration, we saw that our daily routines be with inspirational moments. Smartphones enable us to take a photo but, what if we could also further explore these moments through sketching or writing.

While sketching is an integral part of my practice, I often leave it to the last minute to put together sketchbook, pens, etc. and usually forget something. While sorting the pantry, my mind drifted to how preparedness might apply to be ready for recording inspirational moments — thus evolved making sketchers' go bag, having a small bag set aside to grab and go at a moments notice.

Over the years I've tried several size sketchbooks, and my preferred size for out and about is A6. The sketchbook size sets the dimensions for the sketchers' go bag, next I considered the items I would like to include in the kit and culled a few to keep it simple and the bag small.

A zippered pouch using fabrics design by mixedmediabymelforrest.blogspot.con


Items chosen for this sketchers go bag:
A6 Sketchbook
Pen, pencil and two black fine point pen
Watercolours and a small selection of coloured fine point pens
A paintbrush pen
Glue stick, eraser and a small pair of scissors

With the size and contents sorted I headed across to 'Let's Sew' board on Pinterest. A board I've filled with tutorials and ideas for sewing projects. I knew I would be cutting the zip to size and wanted to try using the zipper tabs, so for this project, I referred to a tutorial by Amanda at Jedi Craft Girl.


For the main fabric, I selected two fabrics from my range "Together We Soar" & "Jasmine Balcony." I captured the image that inspired jasmine balconies during a previous sketching day out.

zippered pouch using fabric available through Spoonflower and designed by melforrest

To the right side of the outer fabric, I applied "Iron-on Vinyl" which will give the bag some water resistance, I've used Iron-on Vinyl previously and been quite happy with its durability. Decide which size sketchbook will suit you best and cut the materials accordingly: 

Materials for Sketchers' go bag to fit an A6 size sketchbook
Cut 2 - 8 1/2" x 6 1/2" cotton fabric for the front & back
Cut 2 - 8 1/2" x 6 1/2" cotton fabric for the lining
Cut 2 - 8 1/2" x 6 1/2" Iron-on Vinyl to apply to the outer fabric

Materials for Sketchers' go bag to fit an A5 size sketchbook
Cut 2 - 10 1/2" x 8" cotton fabric for the front & back
Cut 2 - 10 1/2" x 8" cotton fabric for the lining
Cut 2 - 10 1/2" x 8" Iron-on Vinyl to apply to the outer fabric

Materials for Sketchers' go bag to fit an A4 size sketchbook
Cut 2 - 13 1/2" x 11" cotton fabric for the front & back
Cut 2 - 13 1/2" x 11" cotton fabric for the lining
Cut 2 - 13 1/2" x 11" Iron-on Vinyl to apply to the outer fabric

You will also need 1 x zipper to fit the bag and if you are cutting the zipper to size also cut 2 - 1 1/2" x 4" pieces of cotton fabric for the zipper tabs.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

6 Ways to Find & Collect Inspiration

Inspiration is the force that drives you to the studio. It is a state of mind where everything is possible and everything is clear. Inspiration motivates you to keep working. For the most part inspiration flows, but on occasion, the white page can be nail biting. Gathering and recording ideas along the way is very handy for those nail-biting times. Having a pool of ideas means you can dip your hand in and pull out a starting point.

Every day we are surrounded by inspirational moments, moments that are often taken for granted. With trained eyes, these moments will seem different, as if you are seeing them for the first time. Step out of your own way, open your eyes and mind, and start seeing, gathering and recording ideas every day. Once you start you'll be surprised what catches your eye.

Everyday Objects - Often items that we take for granted can be a source of inspiration. While doing the dishes one morning, the sun glistening across the vintage bread knife sitting on the sink caught my eye. I used the camera, firstly in color then in monochrome to capture several aspect of the moment.
Inpirational image used by melforest to design fabric
This captured moment later became the inspiration for "On the Edge". Take a walk around your house or garden, have a new look. Set the camera to monochrome or macro mode and snap a few of those everyday objects, be inspired by the new perspective.

Urban Surrounds - Beyond our house, we are surrounded by urban landscape. A landscape filled with natual and man-made objects. A great source of architecture, colour, interactions and smells. Even discarded items can be a source of inspiration. I was once a part of an exhibition where the curator chose 'Pallets' for the theme. All works selected to exhibit had to respond or reflect pallets.

Travel - When on holidays we are usually relaxed and ready to embrace the opportunity to observe and explore new landscape and architecture, see unfamiliar plants and animals, try a different cuisine, explore new cultures, and our camera or sketchbook is usually close to hand.
Sketchbook pages from a trip to Tasmania
Sketchbook pages from a trip to Tasmania
Nature - the natural world is filled with some of the best starting points for creativity. Take a walk around your own garden, visit the local park or Botanical Gardens, stroll along the beach, close your eyes and listen to the sounds, go hiking and remember to enjoy the four seasons.

Clear Blue Sky – nature provides us with a canvass in the form of a clear blue sky. Looking up or positioning yourself so you can observe various objects or elements with the sky as the background is another source of inspiration. 
Inspriational image used by melforrest to design fabric
Inspiration behind "Dance through the Reeds"
The clarity of the blue sky is mesmerizing and a big source of inspiration for my creative practice.

News headlines – we are surrounded by many forms of media, presented in many forms. What we observe through the media often provokes a reaction. Take a moment to ask yourself why, and see where it goes. 

The world is full of inspirational moments and often those moments are closer than we think. Take action and begin to collect inspirational imagery, record thoughts, sketch or take photos, organize these together to create your own inspirational pool.
"Creativity is intelligence 
having fun"
Albert Einstein


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