Monday, May 16, 2011

Naked Sketch Book

This month's Blog Carnival** asks the question, "What's in your sketchbook?"


There is nothing we possess that is more personal than our sketchbooks. We carry them wherever we go and are never without one. They are far more than something to draw in. Our sketchbooks are really running diaries of our thoughts, moods, and observations in pictures and words. They are in fact an open window into how our brains work, page by page. 

Sometimes the pages are methodical construction plans and manufacturing details. Other pages are spontaneous brain-farts or random tangents set in motion by…anything.  We often write down experiences as they are happening, or stop mid-step to sketch something that catches our eye or sparks an idea. 

Because these books travel around with us on a daily basis, the context in which any page is created may be at a restaurant, the dentist’s office, the Yuma Symposium, driving to work or flying to Germany. 

We have never opened our sketchbooks to anyone before, so you are the first. The following pages are random selections from 1990-2011.  Welcome to our brains.  Please watch your step.



Kinetic objects hold an ongoing fascination for us, as we are easily amused.  We have hundreds of pages of designs for mechanically moving jewelry.  We’ve actually built a fair number of pieces over the years. They always sell fast, so apparently lots of people are easily amused.


We go off in lots of directions and will design purses, accessories, tools, belts, vases, boxes, knives buttons, furniture, and in this case, eyeglasses, as the mood strikes.

Sometimes you just have to sit down and plan out or document how something is going to be made. We’ve got lots and lots of pages like this one.  Its not sexy, but stuff like is invaluable when you go to make the second iteration of a piece.

These pages probably represent the popular notion of what is in an artist’s sketchbook.  We’re working through some surface decoration variations for a specific form.  The item held in the book with blue tape is a tracing from the die used to cut the hydraulically formed shape. This ensures that the designs are as accurate as possible.


This page was done at the Yuma Symposium. The text on the right is a series of quick notes on the events of one afternoon in Yuma. Eventually this will be fleshed out into a short but very weird (and true) story.


These pages show the development of a piece titled “Good bird, Bad bird, which is about anthropomorphism. The concept was pretty crystallized for us, so most of the development focused on the physical body language of the birds.  We did quite a few variations of birds, but felt that the more taciturn we made them the funnier they were. It lent a “business as usual” feel to an image that is intrinsically ridiculous. 

That concludes the tour of our brains. Please visit the gift shop on your way out, and be sure to come back for next month’s Blog Carnival topic “Have you ever made a sex tape in your studio?”

**Blog Carnival is a project of the Etsymetal Team. Each month, members of Etsymetal all blog about a particular subject, thus providing different perspectives on the same subject.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for letting us be the first to witness your recorded brainwaves!! Interesting to see all your directions and thoughts!

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  2. Magical and messy. Ah the creative process!

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  3. Your sketchbook is so interesting and amazing! Thanks for showing us!!

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  4. My sketchbooks are the one thing my partner said he wanted to keep, if anything ever happened to me. There are little bits of our heart and soul scratched onto paper mixed in with dreams and pictures that fall out of our heads there.

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