Monday, 26 March 2012

Sketchbook Peeks - Madeline Norris

Before we start, tell us a little about yourself/how did you get into art/craft/design career and how it all started and where you are now

Hi, I'm Madeline Norris also known as "meeni". I have drawn, painted and made things just about forever. I remember that when I was about six I did a painting and wrote on it "Madeline Norris, artist", very presumptuous! When I was a bit older I helped to organise a bazaar for which I hand made a whole host of items including little felt mice and pin cushions. I also have a love of dance and music as well as visual art and have always found it hard to choose just one art form so have studied all three. However, it is not until more recently that I have found the confidence to pursue my passion for making and creating with a view to making a living from it. I worked in arts education for a number of years and about six years ago went freelance. It was a lull in this freelance work that gave me the impetus to spend more time making and develop "meeni". This April I will exhibiting at the British Craft Trade Fair for the first time - I'm both excited and nervous about this!

How long have you been using sketchbooks?
I started using sketchbooks when I studied for a BTEC in art and design. Why and when I use them has changed and developed over time. Sometimes I use a single sketchbook to explore a particular subject. More recently I have used sketchbooks to log ideas.

How often do you sketch?
Not as much as I would like to, that's one of the reasons I did the "Sketchbook Project"(, this project gave me the opportunity to draw/sketch just for the sake of it. It's my intention to keep up this habit as it proved to be a rich source of new ideas and starting points.

How do you feel about the prospect of starting a new sketchbook?
Quite excited, particularly doing the "Sketchbook Project" and being part of something so big. There is something very special about a new book and all the possibilities it holds.

When/where do you get your inspiration for your sketchbook pages?
This depends, I now tend to use a sketchbook as a log. I have lots of ideas for projects and things I would like to make and if I think I might forget an idea I log and explore it it in my sketchbook. In the past I used to have themed sketchbooks where I would explore a particular subject. For "The Sketchbook Project" you had a choice of themes and I chose the "The Companion Book". I felt that this was quite broad theme that I could interpret in my own way. The book became quite seasonal moving from the Autumn through to Valentine's.

How would you describe your creative process?
Quite busy and layered. I am usually working on several projects at the same time and these will sometimes influence each other.

Have your sketchbooks evolved over the years and if so, how?
They have definitely changed. I used to do more work in a sketch book and produce a few finished pieces. It is the other way round now, I use a sketch book less and produce more finished pieces.

What is your favourite medium to work with? Oh so hard to choose! I explored different mediums in "The Sketchbook Project" including pencil, pen and watercolour. One of the things I liked about "The Sketchbook Project" was the chance it gave me to draw and sketch with pencil, something I rarely do now but want to continue with.

Do you have a favourite sketchbook?
Not really, they all have such different meanings and uses. I did really enjoy "The Sketchbook Project" so this book has significance at the moment. I don't physically have the book any more it is now in the Brooklyn Art Library ( I might get to see it again when it comes to the UK as part of the project tour.

If you had to pick one favourite page which would it be and why?
Again very hard to choose. Perhaps the page in my "Companion Book" where I have explored the text "Quickly my heart beats when I see you". My 7 year old daughter wrote that to me in a letter she gave me. I really want to make a piece, or even several pieces using that text and I suppose it sums up the inspiration and support I get from my family.

Well, I'd just like to say thank you to Maeline for showing us her sketchbooks. If you want to see more of Madeline's work then why not check out her website here

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for featuring my sketchbook here.
    I love this regular feature on your blog. I enjoy having a look at other artist's books and reading about their creative process.


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