Monday, 13 February 2012

Sketchbook Peeks - Dionne Swift

My name is Dionne Swift, I’m a Textile Artist based in Yorkshire UK.  I paint, dye, print and stitch cloth to reflect my vision and thoughts of the world around me. Inspired by both my Grans, I have had a love for fabrics for as long as I can remember. I graduated from Goldsmiths College over 20 years ago with a BA Hons Embroidery and soon an MA Textiles from UCE [University of Central England). Even before I graduated I started teaching and over the years I have had numerous roles in Universities and Colleges.  Now I run workshops from my Holmfirth studio and exhibit nationally – sharing my skills where ever I can.

How long have you been using sketchbooks?

Working in a sketch book is a ‘habit’ that is created in college, so when I was on Foundation Art & Design. [25 years]  Then they were a devise for collecting and holding images in one place.

How often do you sketch or use your sketchbook?
Sketch?  Well I might use a sketch book every day, but it can be notes, thoughts and I might review a book, in that sense I’m still using it.

How do you feel about the prospect of starting a new sketchbook?
I know that a lot of people are daunted by that first white page glaring at them.  I’m not.  My sketch books are a tool to help develop or sort out a problem or body of work, they help me visually articulate my thoughts.  It’s not important to me that they ‘look good’.

When/where do you get your inspiration for your sketchbook pages?
When I’m in the thick of a new project, I can lay wake in the night going over & over ideas – the only hope I have for sleep is to scrawl these ideas down, so I might keep my book by the bed and try a decipher the midnight ranting the next day.
Recently I have been drawing self portraits, left handed and continuous line pieces purely for the fun of the process and I’m hoping to expand my ideas.
Sometimes local landscapes are my starting point – I love the translucency of the sky playing off the solid land mass.

How would you describe your creative process?
I like to create lots and then review, select and evaluate, looking for common denominators within the work and personal themes I can develop.  Sometimes it’s comforting to keep the personal thoughts in a closed book!

Have your sketchbooks evolved over the years and if so, how?
During my Masters I began using ring binders as ‘sketch books’ – it was great because I could move pages and change the way the ‘story’ within the book was read.  I also started to make more maquettes to help work through ideas I see these as sketch book ideas too – only they are stored in a box rather than a book form.

What is your favourite medium to work with?
I love any form of print: onto cloth or paper.  There’s an excitement when you wait to see what has transferred.

Do you have a favourite sketchbook?
Tricky that changes depending on what I’m working on.

If you had to pick one favourite page which would it be and why?
There’s something that I’m intuitively drawn too in the pale blue and in the balance of the composition.  Bizarrely I can’t say that I took this anywhere – sometime you don’t need to, you just enjoy that it’s right.

Well, I'd like to say a big thank you to Dionne for taking part in the Sketchbook Peeks. If you want to find out more about her award-winning work you can check out her website here, her blog here, and you can also follow her on facebook here too.

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