Saskia Designs

Sneak peek inside my sketchbook

I learnt to keep a sketchbook from my mum. We travelled a lot and she would draw and write along the way, my mum encouraged me to do the same. 

Early on my sketches were tiny fine pencil drawings mixed in with humours doodles and notes……the scale has increased over the years as I’ve gone through phases of sketchbook types, from small bound horizontal to XL vertical ring bound ones…

Over the last few years, it’s been lots of sketches of our cat as she’s often curled up in my chair…and teacups, I do love looking at them. I try not to be precious, seeing my sketchbook  as a space where I can explore, experiment and play creatively. 

I draw almost every day, even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes. I find little often is easier to keep up and more effective in maintaining my skills…

In the past I haven’t often shared my sketchbooks, just the resulting finished embroideries. 

Here are a few pages from my current one.

My drawings have been spilling out of my sketchbook too as I experiment with various colourful mediums and papers which I’m excited to keep exploring and sharing (stitches are working their way in there sometimes too) This helps me learn more about shape and colour before I move into textiles.

Some of these are up in my shop now, have a peek :)

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How do I Begin my Creative Process ?

A few books that I’ve read recently have really got me thinking about my process.  Over the years I’ve written many artist statements and I’ve tried to explain how or why I work in the way I do, how I get to my finished embroideries.

My comfort zone has always been making with fabric and thread. When I went to art school the was focus much more on the process, not just finished pieces. I learnt to use drawing to look, record and develop my ideas and inspirations. Drawing became a tool to create and process my ideas and observations and my textiles became more richly developed because of this. 

Over the years, I have relied on my sketchbook as an important part of my process, a starting point and reference as I create and translate my ideas into textiles.  Stitching is still my favourite thing to do in a day.  Most of my embroidery is done on my trusty old Bernina. It’s not a fancy computerized or digital programmed machine. It’s a free and really playful way of creating a line, building up texture, pattern and shape with multiple colours of thread and material.

Reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield has reminded me to be patient with my creative process.  I feel I’m back to making work that is much stronger because I’m giving myself time to observe, allowing myself time to play, and trusting that some joyful creative magic will happen along the way…

“Just say what you want to say … and say it with all your heart.” 

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

How Long Does it Take ?

  • For me it’s not just about keeping track of time as I work, its all the other considerations that have an effect on my end products.  My creativity and inspiration comes and goes. I have to keep working away in the hope that in the end I am moving forward and will have something to show for it. 
  • I have spent many many years developing my skills and evolving my process into the work that I am making now. I find it really hard to put a value on this,  as for me, I have to create, it’s part of who I am. 
  • I’m just glad there are people like you out there that want to see what I’m creating and are interested in the colourful works I’m sharing.  I realize that using embroidery as the centre of my career path may not be the wisest choice, but it’s what I do best and it’s what I enjoy most and it’s what I am meant to do.  When I see the joy on someone’s face as they look at my work, it makes me happy. 
  • So for me, its never been about how long it takes to create a piece, but the joy of the journey from start to finish.
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