Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Brazil Sketchbook: Completing a Cycle

My Brazil travel sketchbook is bound.
This rainy morning was a good opportunity to finish binding my Brazil sketchbook. As with last year’s Spain/Germany sketchbook, I kept my symposium workshop and activities sketches in a separate collection from what I would call my “usual” travel sketches. In fact, the symposium sketches all went into the Moleskine watercolor sketchbook that I received in my goodie bag. Even though I would normally prefer the chronological continuity of keeping everything in one sketchbook, I liked putting all my workshop sketches in one self-contained volume peppered with class notes, related ephemera and cards I exchanged with other sketchers.

I bound the symposium program right into the sketchbook.
I ended up filling seven signatures with non-symposium-related sketches. Like last year, as a symbol of the initial impetus for the trip, I bound the symposium program right into the sketchbook. So the eight total signatures turned into my thickest handbound sketchbook yet, which gave me a little concern about how well the stitching would fare, but I needn’t have worried. Coptic stitch is stronger than it looks (or perhaps my technique is improving).

Creating the book covers was especially fun; it gave me a sense of closure on the trip (and also took care of a potential packratting issue). I pulled out all the maps, brochures and other ephemera collected during the two weeks. This is the kind of stuff I used to haul home, shove into a box, store in the attic and never look at again (until I throw it out a couple decades later). Now, after carefully selecting and preserving the most meaningful images on the covers, the rest goes into the recycle bin (right away!). The front cover is a collage of images of Paraty and the symposium logo. The back cover is made of map scraps and brochures of Rio, plus an image of the spectacular Cristo Redentor cut from a postcard.

My July - August sketchbook covers remind me of a lovely summer.
Since I had all my bookbinding supplies out, I also finished binding my July – August sketchbook. On the covers are the Smith Tower sketched on Kate’s birthday and L.A.’s Marina del Rey – both redolent of the peak of summer (now a fond memory – sigh.)

Last year’s symposium and related travels were my impetus for developing a flexible, portable sketchbook system that led to handbinding. Now, 14 handbound sketchbooks later (in as many months), I feel like I’ve completed one cycle – and look forward to the next one. 

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