How Artists Document Their Creativity

When contributors’ artwork arrives in our offices we can’t wait to open the boxes and see the treasures inside. Two artists who have projects in our January/February 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors surprised us by including something else in their packages: beautiful postcards and greeting cards featuring fantastic photos of their artwork and tools.

artists
At left, cards by Rachel Hazell show off her bookbinding tools and artwork. At right, Ailish Henderson’s cards promote her signature stitched self-portraits. (Photo by Jenn Guneratne)

Ailish Henderson and Rachel Hazell both live in the U.K., and used Moo, the online printing company, to create their cards. The cards are obviously a great way to market their work, but in asking what inspired them, we got some surprising answers.

First up is Ailish, who wrote Jumpstart: Stitched Collage Portraits, page 45.

CPS: How did you come up with the idea for these cards that feature your abstract self-portraits?

AH: I thought about how I could create a timeless sense for my work. My original art pieces are one offs, and I wanted to keep a visual archive of them. Capturing them in postcard format meant I could show my work to many more people than those who would see the real piece in exhibition (The cards were part of my first solo exhibition last year.).

CPS: Do you consider them a marketing tool, or a way to show more of you as an artist—or both?

AH: Although art is my job and how I make my living, I am a tad complacent when it comes to making things only for monetary gain. I made them as a way to give out special cards to those I care about, and also to sell. They are also useful when sending art to galleries for exhibition purposes, as they have a professional feel and can be used as a “thank you for having my work” card.

CPS: Did you take the photos yourself?

AH: Yes, with my digital SLR camera. Over the years I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error with photography, and it does take time to get it right. The right amount of daylight is needed, along with clear rooms and white walls.

Rachell Hazell, who wrote Books that Speak: Make your ideas come to life (page 80) sent cards that included photos of her bookbinding tools, plus examples of her work, such as sketches and tiny folded works:

CPS: What was the motivation behind creating these cards?

RH: I was looking for something more interesting than a plain compliment slip. Bespoke cards give a personal touch to a parcel and a bit of character to correspondence. I love sending cards at any opportunity!

CPS: Are the cards just for marketing, to show your range as an artist, or both?

RH: They are a subtle method of promotion. So, yes; they are an irresistible marketing tool for someone whose business involves stationery and who is surrounded by special papers.

CPS: What has the reaction been to these since you’ve been sending them out?

RH: Very flattering! Recipients appreciate special touches, such as custom-made cards and handwritten notes. I want people to feel that I’ve taken care of them, even from a distance.

Artful Experimenting

Seeing glimpses of an artist’s creative processes is fascinating and almost magical. Understanding what inspired someone, and viewing the progression from conception to creation, makes the finished work so much more impactful. So it was thrilling to see how Ailish Henderson created her abstract self-portraits (page 45) as documented in her sketchbook, which includes selfies, altered photos, sketches, copious notes about her experiments, and the paper and fabric scraps she used to make the pieces. She writes in the book that the collaged and stitched artwork was inspired in part by childhood memories, life experiences, and by the stories her grandmother told her while growing up.

These pages from Ailish Henderson’s sketchbook show how she recorded her process of making abstract self-portraits. (Photo by Jenn Guneratne)

One of the most exciting parts of the sketchbook is the presentation of her final sample pieces. She stitched pieces together accordion-style to show the progression of her work, from sketches to adding watercolor, then fabric scraps and stitching. Two of the accordions spill off the page vertically, and one stretches across a two-page spread. Detailing a special project or series this way makes sense, and results in a unique work of art on its own. We hope you’re inspired to record your own future projects this way!


Our January/February 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine is filled with more creative ideas and projects. Take a look at our lookbook preview for a special sneak peek!

In the January/February 2018 issue, discover how to create layers, work in a series with collage, create stitched collage artwork, make some boho style earrings, and much more!

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