Teachers Looking for a Quick Sketchbook for Your Students? Heck, Anyone Want to Make a Quick Journal or Sketchbook—Check This Out!

October 27, 2010

Discussion of a great site for teachers and, well, everyone who wants to make a book quickly!

The  other day I was looking around the internet to find sketchbook facsimilies, as we all know I have a weakness for collecting them.

Well I found something delightful. A site about getting sketchbooks in the Schools. This is something that is near and dear to my heart. From 1998 to 2005 I created and carried out residencies on journaling for everyone from grades 1 through 12 in Minnesota schools (not just in the Twin Cities). First graders just created folded books; I had adult helper folks aiding the second graders with needles; and everyone else managed very nicely on their own. (I finally gave up going into the schools as an artist-in-residence because I work alone the rest of the time and I was catching every bug known to the CDC—I couldn't afford the time off from work to teach and recover from whatever I caught!)

Well the authors of the site Sketchbooks in the Schools totally get that "Sketchbooks can be a vital tool to encourage creative and critical thought and action across the whole school, and beyond the art curriculum."

I encourage you to go and check out the site and see their Making Sketchbooks—an Introduction.

From that post, or from my embedded link which follows, you'll also find a fun, short video on making multiple signature journals very quickly. I have never seen it done this way—the signatures are sewn separately, then sewn together by weaving through their individual sewings at the spine, and finally the spaces between the signatures are glued with pieces of paper to make the whole thing sturdy. (I often glue paper at the glue seams of my casebound books because not all the papers I use hold a glue seam well—but the method of binding this group uses actually relies on the gluing of papers at these junctures as an essential bit of the book's structure.

I have to admit that the orderly Roz was horrified at the random way the sewing was done without any prepunching of holes, but as soon as the presenter said "higglety-pigglety" in her wonderful British accent I was delighted with everything. And the texture loving, have-at-it Roz was enthralled. I think the "roughness" of the resultant sketch book has a marvelous and tactile appeal.

The site also contains related information on teaching and ideas and activities for you and your young students. You can follow links to artists sketchbooks and children's sketchbooks. (I wonder what it would be like as a child to be in a class where everyone is keeping a sketchbook/journal instead of the odd one out? It must be marvelous because you get to see all the cool stuff different people are doing.)

All of this seems to be under the umbrella of Access Art. I don't begin to understand the website—some of the links seem to lead to lists which I can't get past, or definitions of projects which seem to have just started, but it might also be I'm late for an appointment…go check it all out.

  1. Reply

    Thanks for the links, Roz.

    Gotta love the higglety-pigglety!!


  2. Reply

    I enjoyed the video and will explore the other links too. And by the way, that’s how I speak! 🙂

  3. Reply

    Judith, well then that might not be a fun selling point on watching the video for you—but it means I would enjoy talking with you in person! Especially if you say higglety-pigglety!

    Glad you enjoyed the video!

  4. Reply

    Hi Roz. Thanks for sharing this new way to make a sketchbook. I’m gonna try this today. It suits me because I always use fabric but I fuss around with a sewing machine and sew over a watercolour cover then handsew my signatures in. It does leave the thread showing outside though which is fiddly. I love this no fuss method!

  5. Reply

    I’m gonna share another way to attach the fabric cover here instead of using a glue.
    Buy some iron on Pellon Vliesofix applique fusible webbing from a fabric shop. You iron it onto the fabric first. Then peel the backing off the fusible webbing to reveal the other sticky side and place over your watercolour cover and iron it on. It’s very quick and there are no wrinkles.

  6. Reply

    Colette, I haven’t used the Pellon product you mention, but I’ve used other fusible webbing stuff to make fabric covers and enjoyed it. I’m sure people will have fun trying your idea out. You should send a jpg to the person who posted on the teacher site and let her know the video inspired you. I’m sure she’d love to hear it!

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