Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sketchbook Profile: Laura Cater-Woods

Laura Cater-Woods is a working studio artist with an extensive international exhibition record and numerous awards. Her mixed media and fiber art work is held in international public, private and corporate collections.

Marks left by time and the elements fascinate me. I am obsessed with the idea that time in its abstract sense is reflected in diverse and seemingly opposite ways. Manipulating cloth, paint and surface allows me to explore formal and conceptual issues and to find unexpected metaphors in the process. Read more...

Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it?
For a compulsive markmaker sometimes it is hard to tell what is a sketchbook, what is a journal, what is just random stuff <G>.  Having dedicated "sketchbooks" with nice paper formalizes the part of my creative process that wants to make a record, work out an idea, keep track of random things (there's one book that is just the names of rivers and mountain ranges, specific place names that have particular meaning to me.) Giving things a place to live keeps my brain a little quieter. I work in my books daily.

Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once?
There are always several. Any given one might sit alone for a while, to be picked up and visited again...

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?
For a pre-made book I like hard cover, spiral binding, heavy paper about  9x11".  I will use whatever is at hand for mark making and image building: this includes water media, inks, glue, mediums, twigs, leaves, feathers and other things. If building my own book, my preference is for heavy watercolor paper as  a base.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin?
Choose a size that "fits" you. Begin with post it notes for doodles and small zip-loc bags stapled in for ephemera.  Collect something every day for a week: doodles, oddments, then consider altering a page with color and doing something else to it. This avoids the sense of "ruining" that pristine white space and sets a mood of gathering: thoughts, doodles, ephemera.  It establishes your sketchbook as a safe place.

A lot of us are intimidated by mis-perceptions of what a sketchbook or visual journal can be. We think we have to draw, to design. Those are good things but there are other ways to approach a sketchbook.... This project should be a liberating experience as we get to explore a variety of approaches. I think we'll have everything from "sketchbook as an art object" to "sketchbook as an impromptu way of keeping track". What fun!

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

Get all the details on the Sketchbook Challenge here.


  1. That was a great interview to explain to us newbies about the sketchbook concept. I have one but don't just doodle everyday. I will be doing that now. Thanks so much for starting this up. Merry Christmas.

  2. Yes! I am psyched up about incorporating sketching into my daily creativity routine. I do something creative everyday...my husband calls me "oh paint," and its a fitting nickname! Waiting to see what the first sketch assignment will be! It's so exciting!


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