TextileArtist – How textile artist, Daphne Taylor, uses her sketchbook

Read the full article on TextileArtist.org here: http://www.textileartist.org/top-textile-artists-use-sketchbooks

There has always been a sketchbook within my reach for as long as I can remember. Drawing is an intuitive, natural act for me – a second language, often more accessible than speaking or writing. When I open a sketchbook to draw, my body relaxes and I am most present.

As a young child my parents encouraged my love of drawing by keeping me supplied in an endless source of art supplies and drawing books. I have an image of being home, sick from school, observing my father cross the driveway with a new sketchbook in hand to keep me happy.

In 8th grade I carried around that first black artist book where both drawing and writing began to cover the pages. Drawing in that book seems integrated with listening to music and responding to the world around me.

In high school our teacher gave us large black books to fill with drawing outside of class. We spent hours after school sitting around on a battered couch in the art room, drinking coffee, listening to music and drawing one another or the still-life nearby. It was here that we students learned to be fearless in filling these books, drawing from life, rarely judging. While not knowing it, we were experiencing the satisfaction and practical discipline involved with keeping a sketchbook. We were very fortunate.

My formal art studies encouraged the keeping of a sketchbook as a vital tool in developing one’s art practice. I have valued this all my life. My sketchbook is a place where I draw with no judgement, scribble notes and design ideas that reflect what is of interest to me in a particular time. I see these sketchbook pages as investigations, inquiries and notations of possibility.

In my studio I keep a large sketch book that reflects the process of my textile work. Here on these pages I work out technical issues, record measurements and make small drawings and collages that express the essence that I am after in the quilt being designed.

Most of all it is my small, portable sketchbook that gives me the greatest pleasure. Each page is a drawing of the mundane – a cup, a chair, a landscape. They are studies of the ever changing light, darkness, shadow and colour found in everyday life.

Such studies encourage thoughtful inquiry into what drawing is all about and keep my observation skills strong and perceptive. It is this act of drawing in response to the world around me that most influences my work as a textile artist.

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