Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sketchbook Profile: Kelli Perkins

Kelli Nina Perkins is the author of Stitch Alchemy : Combining Fabric and Paper for Mixed Media Art

Kelli Nina Perkins is a mixed media artist and librarian living on the shores of Lake Michigan. She has a master's degree in information from the University of Michigan. For over a decade, Kelli has been making art that prizes the everyday ephemera of our lives, incorporating the common flotsam of discarded life into art that speaks to the heart. She's taught soapmaking, pysanky, altered books, paper bead making and a variety of mixed media on a local and national level, with virtual studios at the International Quilt Show and a DVD for Quilting Arts Workshops titled "Stitch Imagery." She's been a guest on the PBS show Quilting Arts TV twice, presenting demonstrations on transfer techniques for liquid clay and her method for creating stitched paper-cloth collage pillows.  Read more...

Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
My sketchbooks are really idea books. I need to catch all of the ideas floating around in my head and quickly apply them to paper. Sometimes I flesh them out and sometimes not. Either way, when I want to make art and need inspiration, it's at my fingertips! Some sketchbooks are just for the sake of art. It's nice to have a place to play and experiment without having to think about an end result. 
Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?
I never do just one of anything. Honestly. There are at least three books on my bedside table at all times; being read concurrently of course. I don't think I've ever finished a journal or sketchbook. When the mood strikes, I just grab one and go. They are perpetual books and there's always room for one more!

What's your preferred format (sketchbook size, type of paper, single sheet,spiral bound etc?) and preferred medium for using in your sketchbook? watercolor, pen, pencil, crayon, collage etc?
Yes, all of the above! I will say that I much prefer something spiral bound that lays completely flat for working, but I can't resist a sexy hand bound sketchbook. I love that the moleskine has an elastic band. That's handy. I have all shapes and sizes from tiny to large. Pens are wonderful and I am always experimenting to find the one that's better than my current fave. I actually have not found one pen that combines all of my needs/wants and desires. But the pen is just the starting point for mixed media and all mediums are welcome friends. The more the merrier.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?
Your sketchbook is yours alone, so no one else can really tell you how to begin it, or how to end it. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and the rest will take care of itself. 

Anything else you'd like to add?
Sketchbooks and journals are the best way to fit art into the castaway corners and otherwise lost fragments of your day. It's amazing what you can accomplish if you carry a few supplies and a sketchbook along for the journey.

Visit Kelli's website here to see more of her work.

Get all the details on the Sketchbook Challenge here.


  1. A girl after my own heart! Color is so vibrant, kelli.

  2. I found your blog on Alisa Burke's blog and I'm so excited I did! I have put your button on my blog - - and I plan on signing up for your Silly classes!! Love your stuff and look forward to January.
    Pat, A Remade Life

  3. I love hearing about how other people use their sketchbooks and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of yours in 2011, Kelli!


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