Nature Inspired Book Making with artist Clare Wassermann

Following the success of her team concertina bookmaking workshop, we recently invited artist Clare Wassermann back to Boundary Way to share her skills with some of our visitors. The day-long workshop was a great opportunity for participants to experiment with mindful sketching, markmaking and gathering materials to capture sense of place in the Allotments and Community Garden. The books of images created were beautiful and all so individual. Today we are going to be sharing the methods used to fill the books over the course of the day and take a look at some of the processes and finished art.



Clare started off the day with an introduction to the wide variety of hand made books that can be created. She bought along a box of books from all corners of the world and they were hugely varied.  This was a great was to start the day, inspiring everyone and creating an excitement amongst the group to get creating.


The next stage that Clare went through was to ask everyone to choose a number between 30 and 50. Each person was to keep their number to themselves, and it was later revealed that each person’s number would equate to the number of steps they would take around the Community Garden to reach their next subject to draw. The ‘stepper’ would stop at 7 locations, each for 10 minutes and each reached by counting their number of steps and walking in a direction of their choice. The inspiration for the day came from the want to show the links between well-being and art, to  record and explore the Community Garden, and maybe to draw things that we wouldn’t normally choose to draw, with the number of steps limiting everyone’s subject choice & forcing unexpected subject matter.



Before we set off on our steps, Clare gave an insight into how we could all be more mindful in our drawing and mark making – taking note of our breath, ourselves and our environment. Clare explained how being mindful can influence the type of drawing that we do, and encouraged everyone to take notes of feelings and surroundings within their books. This element of wellbeing is present in many of our workshops and it was wonderful for Clare to really share how both nature and art can influence both mind and body. Following our mindfulness discussion, each participant was given a book and set off on their steps to find their first location to sketch at.


We spent an hour and a half sketching at different locations around the allotment, and this was to create some initial marks in the sketchbooks. This outdoor exploration was followed by a quick lunch and then everyone began to work into the sketchbooks using different techniques and media to express their earlier experience. It was really exciting to see everyone’s personality and style coming out in the books, which turned out to be very diverse.



From birds and flowers, to burnt wood and sheds – everyone picked up on different interesting elements of the allotment and made beautiful art out of all of them. Here are a few examples of some of the work, you can see more images on our Facebook page.



Want to see the sketchbooks for yourself? The books will be exhibited, alongside a wide variety of other art, at our upcoming Sense of Place Exhibition on 13th October 2018. The exhibition will take place from 14:00 onwards and we’d love to see you there. For more information visit our Events Page or Facebook Events Page.


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