|Created at the start of 2013|
No doubt, you have been keeping notes of
your garden this year - what you have sown, grown, planted and transplanted, be
it flowers or vegetables, herbs, shrubs or fruit. Or a mixture of all of them,
arranged formally or mixed together decoratively in a potager, or harking back
to the increasingly popular cottage garden style. How have you recorded your
successes and failures? Just as notes, or on a garden task board (very simple
to make; visual and easily adapted to whatever you grow)? For the latter, all
you need is an inexpensive pin board, some luggage labels, and pins upon which
to hang the tags.
|No preparation needed: just|
the will to start!
You may care to keep more
visual records in a small notebook: ongoing lists, words, verse, and any reminders of what you
have done, a written diary, or better still, an illustrated one, a I did here.
An ordinary A5 sketch book with paper that would take water-colour paints is
what I use – I have a tiny traveling paint-box that goes everywhere with me,
and I use a waterproof pen so that the writing doe not smudge.
|Pocket-sized, handy and easy to make from scratch (you don't need to illustrate it)|
Sometimes I like to make my own pocket
jotter that will literally fit into a pocket. I have quite a number now, made
from stiff art paper bought in a pad, with pages folded to a size that will
comfortably fit into my hand, so I can sketch standing up of need-be. The pages
are held together with a pony-tail band, which allows me to turn them back on
themselves for an even sturdier surface. I create a memory of a particular day,
or a place to which I have been – a National Trust garden, or a Show such as I
will be visiting in a week’s time, at Hampton Court. Sometimes, as in the image
above, I will plan the page on the spot, drawing the little picture-frames and
then infill after reference to a photo I have taken.
|Plenty of space for words and sketches, or photographs|
When at home, and before I had the
courage to make tiny cartoon sketches, I would use an A4 notebook and decorate
the page edges to ‘frame them’ with paper napkins. Choice of book can again be
an ordinary stiff-surfaced sketch book, or as here, one with coffee-coloured
paper – often less daunting than to have a stark white page staring at you.
Select a napkin relevant to your theme (this was Autumn) – they must be the
3-ply type. Cut around the selected leaves or flowers, and separate the plies;
attach the image layer by positioning it on the page and ‘stroking’ it into
place with acrylic wax. Leave to dry. If that seems too complicated, you could
of course use pictures cut from magazines, brochures or seed catalogues.
|Auditioning napkins for a herbal|
I collect paper napkins as often as I do
plants and amalgamate different images to make page displays to accompany text.
These – for a herbal – are being positioned into a hand-made notebook, the
pages have been ‘prepped’ with thin white gesso, acrylic paint and sprayed ink,
and then stamped with text using a rubber-stamp plate, very feint to simulate
an old diary. The napkin pieces were then ‘auditioned’ until I had them to my
liking. Depending on the piece of work, I will fuse napkin pieces to the
background using heat-set bonding – always remembering to protect above and below
the surfaces with baking parchment to avoid wrecking either the work or the
|More adventurous techniques, but really simple|
My ‘Salad Days’ piece is languishing at
present but began out of an experimental piece to celebrate the creation of our
courtyard potager. The pages are created from brown paper bags to which I
applied strips of masking tape on some pages, and whole sections of napkins to
others, planned in such a way that the colours complemented each other. The
taped pages were coloured by applying scribbles of water-soluble wax crayons onto
one page, spritzing with water and then folding together, creating a ‘blot’
print. Text is written, and all the varieties I was trialing have been typed
onto fabric labels ready for stitching into place – but I have mislaid them!
|More complicated; nothing difficult - |
just plenty of time needed
Map Trails are fun to create and can be
as simple or detailed as you wish. Tear a strip right across the folds of an
old map and lightly cover with diluted white poster paint and, when dry, spray
sparingly with walnut ink. You don’t want to obliterate all the map; the idea is
to ‘antique’ it. To continue the antique theme, I used a brown artist’s
sketching pen for my text, leaving space for photos printed on very thin
‘layout’ paper (45gsm) which were then stitched onto muslin and fused to the
map. This particular map trail has been with me to so many places: from my
Spring garden, to Pembrokeshire, France, Dorset, Northern Ireland and the River
Teme on the Shropshire/Welsh border.
Create your own memory books – my advice
is to just begin. You can follow some of my techniques on my Journal blog,
where you will currently also find details of my Caravan Open Studio event –
starts Sat 29th June; all the items illustrated above will be on display.
Labels: diaries, garden journals, jotters, journals, map trails, open studio event, sketchbooks, task board