Tag Archives: Sketchbook

Third week in Tranås: screen printing and sketches

9 Aug

There have been some spectacular thunder storms here over the past week – and as much as I like going out in them some rain-days have given me time to reflect on and develop my big pile of on-site sketches. I work with the windows open during a storm – the sound of the rain and thunder is energising!

Following my observational drawings of objects, I have now began to bring them together into patterns that can be repeated and also work as stand alone images. Here in town there’s a youth centre – Epic – which has brilliant facilities for screen printing – perfect! Last night I was there setting up the photo stencils / exposing my third and fourth screens ready for printing this evening. We are having an open day here at Kraftverket tomorrow – so I hope to have these prints ready to display.

Here are the first two screen prints – some dancing Dala farmers, inspired by a cake tin and the forest, and a pattern featuring the extra Swedish letter keys on a vintage typewriter. I have purposely printed them onto fabric purchased from second hand shops.

dancing farmers for web


Here is a sneak preview of a paper cut design and an illustrated pattern, both of which I will be screen printing onto fabric tonight.

old things thumbnail for blog


I have also spent some time sketching people. Last Saturday we took a trip to Vadstena, a pretty older town at the edge of lake Vättern, the second largest in Sweden. It was a blisteringly hot day so most of the time was spent sitting in shade in the park, and then hopping over the wall to jump into the lake.

sketch Vadstena


This week we attended a talk by two men who used to work in the fur industry here in Tranas. One was an expert in preparing the fur, and the other a designer who had made garments for the queen of Sweden.

Men who worked in the fur industry


Here is a character sketch of some of the men who worked in the machine factory, which is now Kraftverket. I’m going to play with this some more digitally to add some loose colour to parts of the image.

I’ve been working in a few different spaces to create work – within shops, in my studio here, and also in the garden. I’ve found that my work looks more precise, or evocative, or loose depending on where I’m sat, It’s pretty windy out there today – perhaps another storm is on the way – but I’m hoping to get outside with my sketchbook for a bit. And if the storm does arrive I may even attempt some painting out there anyway – to experiment with new techniques incorporating the rain drops…

Sweden: sketchbook and other snippets

14 May

In April this year I spent 10 days in Sweden. My design work is largely influenced by Scandinavia so I went equipped with a sketchbook and some fat crayons for scribbling, doodling and observing my surroundings. I chose the details from each day which gave me a slice of Swedish life; a hidden museum, a fancy dress party, a volvo engulfed by a snow drift, a journey by train to beyond the arctic circle.

I drew the sights I saw in order to remember them even more.. What follows are a few images from my sketch book, a mixture of messy sketches and more polished studies. Visit the SKETCHBOOK PAGE to view my whole visual diary. 

03_Gamla Stan_Horse
10_Dog Sled 09_House and Ski Slope

The drawings are being featured in  online cultural magazine Wales Arts Review from this Friday as a visual essay. Each drawing will be accompanied by brief notes for context. I’ll post the link up here, as well as the full text, on the weekend.

Meanwhile, here are a few photos of some textiles; braids from Sami / Lapland heritage, and some jolly table linen acquired in the second hand shops in Uppsala. In Uppsala we visited a flea market and bagged the bargain of our own Dala Horse for a fraction of the tourist price.

Table runner


horse close up


Plus, a cultural vending machine at the Kultur Hus near Stockholm C:

A quirky window display featuring carved wooden figures staring at each other suspiciously.

A typographic triumph of a window display  on Gamla Stan

Colourful sign in a dry cleaners’ window in Uppsala