I credit the Quiltart internet list with much of my willingness to try new things with fabric (and foil, and paint, and photography, and techniques.) I don’t always have time to keep up with the list, but it has spurred me to expand what I do with art. From group challenges, to fabric postcard exchanges, to the Journal Quilt Project, as well as discussions about scissors, sewing machines, batting, and more, the quilters on the list have been generous with their thoughts, opinions, and knowledge.
In the late spring there was a lot of discussion about the Sketchbook Project. I looked it up and I was hooked (sort of.) I’m always buying sketchbooks and journals. I love stationery stores as much as fabric and yarn shops. The problem is – I don’t know what to do with the sketchbooks once I buy them. The “scripts” run through my mind: “I don’t know how to start.” “What if I mess it up?” “I didn’t take painting or drawing classes.” But I jumped in anyway. I signed up for the Sketchbook Project.
My thinking was simple – in Jewish tradition we often study a text or sponsor a lecture in memory of someone we loved. We’ll read a Psalm or study Mishnah in memory of a friend’s loved one. I learned about the Sketchbook Project shortly after my cousin Leslie died. I wanted to do something in her memory and, although I bought a modern translation of the Book of Psalms, that wasn’t Leslie. A sketchbook, however, was a way to remember Leslie and celebrate her life.
One of the possible themes: “Light From A Distance” cinched it for me. It reminded me of the Hannah Senesh poem “Yesh Kochavim.”
There are stars
whose light reaches the earth only after they themselves have disintegrated
and are no more.
And there are people
whose scintillating memory lights the world after they have passed from it.
These lights –
which shine in the darkest night – are those which illumine for us the path.
— Translator unknown
I’ve had the sketchbook for a few months now. The pages are still blank, but I’ve done a lot of thinking. I’ve taken a lot of photos, looked at a lot of art, and thought about light and how it illuminates and shadows things. And I’m finally ready to begin to fill in the pages. I’m shutting down the “scripts.” I’m ready to sketch.