Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sketchbook Conversations -- a Chat with Jenny Blair

You might remember that in March I interviewed Jenny Blair for my monthly Artist Interview series. Jenny was one of my early blogging friends and our paths have crossed many times over the years. This past spring when Dana Barbieri's and my 2x2 Sketchbook project was featured in Uppercase Magazine, Jenny's tiny Stitch Book also appeared among the pages. It made me so happy to know that our creative expressions were living in the same publication.

As I was contemplating sketchbook artists to approach for my Sketchbook Conversations series, Jenny's stitched sketchbook crossed my mind and I knew I would want to include her in this conversation. I'm so glad to have her here today.

I'll let Jenny take it from here.

Jenny Blair, sketchbooks, handmade books, bookbindingJenny Blair, sketchbooks, handmade books, bookbinding

I'm Jenny and I am an artist and designer. I sell modern embroidery kits and patterns that are colour infused and inspired by nature.

Jenny Blair, sketchbooks, handmade books, bookbinding, embroidery, fabric collage

If I was to tell you when I started to keep a sketchbook I would probably say just in the last few years..... truth is I've kept one for most of my life...except I called it my notebook! 

Jenny Blair, sketchbooks, handmade books, bookbinding, drawing, sketching

How funny that by just changing one word a simple object can go from being a friendly companion to something that is fearsome and intimidating, but that's how it was for me with the idea of a 'sketchbook' and what I felt was expected from it. (I know I'm not alone!). 

Jenny Blair, sketchbooks, handmade books, bookbinding, drawing, sketching

It was only after several years down the line of 'outing' myself as an artist that I understood sketchbook/notebook/scribbles on scrap/pinterestboard.. it's all the same thing.

Jenny Blair, sketchbooks, drawing, sketching, collage

Gathering,exploring,expressing,collecting (inspiration), and most importantly to me, playing!

Jenny Blair, sketchbooks, drawing, sketching

So you'll find everything in my 'sketchbooks' from splodges and messy doodles, scribbled ideas to detailed finished pieces. I often make my own 'sketch book' using all sorts of paper for the pages (the perfect remedy for blank white page syndrome!) and many different mediums to fill the pages. 

Jenny Blair, sketchbooks, handmade books, bookbinding, embroidery, fabric collage

It's my 'safe' place to go without expectation or need for perfection. I sometimes find a little drawing that has snuck into the pages by one of my girls which makes me smile no end!

Jenny Blair, sketchbooks, drawing, sketching

Working as a full time artist can make it harder to create just for the sake of creating, so my 'sketchbook' invites me to create without agenda. 

Jenny Blair, sketchbooks, drawing, sketching

This definitely helps keep the well of ideas full, and undoubtedly sparks ideas that can be used in the business side. 

Jenny Blair, sketchbooks, drawing, sketching, collage

My love of embroidery and sewing has brought a new dimension where I've merged the 2 ideas to create 'stitchbooks'..... the perfect place to play with stitches!

Jenny Blair, sketchbooks, handmade books, bookbinding, embroidery, fabric collage

Thank you, Jenny for sharing your story and your sketchbooks with us today.

You can find Jenny:






You can catch up on the other Sketchbook Conversations posts and find more sketchbook inspiration here

And if you're an artist who works in sketchbooks and would like to be featured, please contact me and I'll send you the details.


*Photos in this post © Jenny Blair. Used with permission.

8 comments:

  1. Fantastic! 'Stitchbooks' are a wonderful idea to experiment with stitching and embroidery. Thank you for sharing your books Jenny. :)

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    1. Aren't they fun! Again, there's no wrong way to keep a sketchbook!

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  2. I love the stitchbook so much! I would love to make one someday. Maybe Jenny will teach a class on it. :) Thanks for sharing another wonderful sketchbook conversation Anne.

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    1. I know! Wish I wasn't a total klutz at embroidery. :)

      Glad you're enjoying the series, Dana!

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  3. Thanks so much Anne, I had such fun doing this! And thankyou Simone and Dana for the lovely comments. A stitchbook class is something that I'm working on Dana....watch this space ;)

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    1. And thank you, Jenny!! Your sketchbooks and stitchbooks are so inspiring! And hooray for an upcoming stitchbook class!!!

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  4. oh my, oh my!
    so much going on here!
    LOVE all the possibilities!
    xo

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    1. Yes, yes, yes! She's such an inspiration!!

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