As mentioned before in this blog, I am and always have been addicted to stationery. On the whole, I am not a big shopper, but this is one area of shopping I can engage in for hours. In all other areas of my life, I shy away from choice, give me simple every time. But in a stationery store, I feel a delightful sense of anticipation – who will I choose? Will it be lined, A5 or A6, square, ring-bound, hard or soft cover, elastic closure, pen inside? Each has its own merits, but which one will suit the job in hand? I somehow can’t resist them even when I know I have an empty one at home waiting, so I often have several on the go at one time, telling myself that I am sub-dividing my labours. Once it is purchased, once I have it safely in my bag, I can’t wait to be alone with it, to open the first page – what will it become???
Previously, I have always bought lined books. I was once a diary-keeper until I felt the deep pain and betrayal of having it read, so then I became a list-maker. Lists about everything. What am I doing today? Who am I? What are my plans for the future? What food do I need? Must remember that website. What books do I want to read / films do I want to see? How do I plan to improve my home? I like the shape of that dress….etc? So my drawings were always hasty sketches with a lined background. It never occurred to me to go blank. It also never occurred to me that this hourly record of my small life was anything other than whimsy.
So without being conscious that this is what I was doing, without an art school background, I have always kept a sketchbook. On my travels, and in my daily life, a little book has always been with me, nowadays accompanied by an iPhone, which takes some of the workload. Sadly what I didn’t do, which art school would have instilled in me, was to keep them all. I saw no value in my musings and doodling. I often threw them away after a quick flick through to see what I was doing a year ago – sometimes tearing out pages that I liked.
And while I thought that I just liked the patterns on the front of my new notebook, I didn’t recognise the much deeper significance of devouring pattern, and storing them away, until I was ready to start my own pattern journey. Thus a compulsive need to list, record and keep has only started to make sense in the last few years, as I have become aware of journals and sketchbooks, it finally feels valid.