Saturday, April 16, 2022

Big Sister Sendak

Big sister Sendak!

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been happily using my Peg & Awl mini Sendak to keep my colored pencils organized and handy in my everyday-carry bag. Every now and then, though, I’ve wished that it were just a bit bigger so that I could consolidate other sketch tools in it. Even when I was shopping for the mini Sendak, I debated whether the full-size Sendak would be better, but after much hemming and hawing, I got the mini. Whenever I rummaged in my bag for certain things that wouldn’t fit in the mini, my twinge of doubt returned: Maybe I should have gotten the larger Sendak after all.

Just like the stars had aligned for me to get the mini, a new constellation formed in the shape of Peg & Awl’s announcement a couple of weeks ago: The small Philadelphia shop was offering “mystery boxes” containing an assortment of slightly flawed “misfits: merry mishaps, prototypes, and items riddled with character – imperfect but fully functional” – at half the regular price. And some boxes could include a full-size Sendak! I’m generally not a gambler, but I had perused Peg & Awl’s catalog enough to know that any of their lovingly handcrafted products would delight me, so I knew I wouldn’t be unhappy with whatever came in my mystery box. Offered sporadically and infrequently, the mystery boxes sell out quickly. Heart palpitating, I checked out my cart. (To push the stars further into alignment, I added the following order note: “Please, please, a big Sendak, please!” It never hurts to beg, right? 😉)

A short time later, my mystery box arrived – containing a full-size Sendak! After my initial elation, I checked it out closely to find the so-called flaws, but I couldn’t see anything awry. If any flaw exists, it’s hidden by Peg & Awl’s signature rustic look and my general appreciation for wabi-sabi. It looks perfect to me!

The full-size Sendak is about the same size as an A5 sketchbook.

The full-size Sendak’s features are identical to the mini’s – just scaled larger. I immediately filled it up with the pencils that were in the mini Sendak plus other tools that were in various parts of my bag. I took the opportunity to do some much-needed weeding of infrequently used materials that had overstayed their welcome. (Skipping my annual minimalism challenge during the pandemic had taken its toll. My small fitness-walking/pandemic bag has stayed slim year-round, but meanwhile, my everyday-carry bag had been putting on some COVID pounds.)

All my tools and materials now in one place.

Everything fits beautifully! More important, the unrolled Sendak itself fits in my Rickshaw bag almost as easily as the mini Sendak does. All my materials and tools are still upright and fully accessible while I sketch. (See my post about the mini Sendak for details about the convertibility of the ever-versatile Sendak.)

The unrolled Sendak fits nicely in my daily-carry Rickshaw bag.

For this photo, I pulled the Sendak up to show the contents, but I keep it pushed all the way down in the bag.

Even as I was filling it, I was also making plans for the mini, which will certainly not go to waste. Every now and then, I get the urge to use a different palette on location, but switching out the pencils in my daily-carry palette requires time and consideration that I’d rather not take as I’m eagerly walking out the door. I’ve also been wanting to take some Caran d’Ache Neocolor I crayons out with me sometime, but these infrequently used materials are exactly the kind of thing that leap spontaneously into my daily-carry and end up staying indefinitely. I’ve decided to pack the mini with experimental materials that I am unlikely to use regularly, but if they are ready to grab in a self-contained roll, I am more likely to use them on a whim. Perhaps the mini roll will also keep my now-slim daily-carry bag from regaining excess weight.

My mini Sendak is currently filled with a couple of secondary triads, a primary triad, Neocolors in a CMYK triad and an Albrecht Durer watercolor marker.

Mobile-studio sketching with the mini Sendak.

I’m thrilled that the big and little Sendak sisters are working together to keep my tools and materials at my fingertips!

The two sisters keeping me organized!

By the way, I know you’re curious about what else was in my mystery box . . . see below. I haven’t figured out what to do with the small hanging chalkboard yet, but I immediately organized some of my many pencils and erasers in the beautiful wood pencil caddy.

Mystery box revealed!

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