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Here’s another instalment in the long-distance notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko for the past few years. I sent my most recent notebook entry off to Japan in late February, and as it has (long since) safely arrived at its destination it is (long overdue) time to document it here!

In her previous entry Yoko had ingeniously flipped the notebook (a simple 21 x 21 cm square, ringbound, kraft paper notebook from Muji) 90° to create an expansive portrait, rather than landscape, orientation image.

notebook [tokyo] – yoko’s previous entry, double-page spread
(artwork © yoko hayashi)

(You can check out more pictures of Yoko’s previous entry here)

I was really taken with this orientation and somewhat abashed not to have considered it before. I was also very enamoured with the magical universe Yoko had created and wanted to ‘dig deeper’, so to speak… What better way to do this than to travel straight down into the earth below Yoko’s enchanted, snow-laden village.

notebook [tokyo] – seedlings

One of the (many) great joys of this collaboration is the unfettered ‘playground’ the notebook provides: when we began the collab we had two simple tenets: “No Pressure. No Rules.” – so anything goes, and working in it is a welcome opportunity to step away from other projects, to explore ideas for possible future projects, to experiment in a new or different medium etc. I hadn’t done any papercutting for a very long time and was hankering after a bit of scalpel action…

papercutting work-in-progress

multi-layered papercuts in fiery-coloured mulberry/kozo paper
[sunrise and a (grubby!) window make a good lightbox in a pinch]

I also used it as an opportunity to pay homage to our beloved (and very deeply missed) Gira, who we lost to cancer – at the very young age of five-and-a-half – in November last year. Figuring out how to draw a curled-up feline skeleton was both tribute (Gira knew a thing or two about the contented curl-up!) and catharsis…

And applying hundreds of copper and bronze gouache dots to the loamy earth was comfortingly cathartic too…

notebook [tokyo] – gouache stippling as moving meditation

Here are Yoko’s pages and mine combined into a single image, so you too can journey down through this world’s cool, crystalline firmament to its fiery, molten core…

notebook [tokyo] – four page, vertical spread
(artwork top © yoko hayashi)

notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo, and notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6 – part I) | (6 – part II) |
(7 – part I) | (7 – part II)

This is Part II of the most recent instalment from the long-distance sketchbook/notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko. For Part I click here.

If you’ve been following the progress of this collaboration you may remember the mysterious, magical forest scene from Yoko’s previous entry (partly pictured below, or you can click here to see it in more detail).

muji notebook (amsterdam) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook (amsterdam) – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

I was so enchanted by this mystical forest I wanted to create a protector for it, a guardian spirit if you will. She appeared in the guise of a tenacious, green-eyed owl.

muji notebook (amsterdam) - work in progress

late night prototyping

muji notebook (amsterdam) - work in progress

ear tuft/eyebrow, work-in-progress

muji notebook (amsterdam) - completed double page spread

notebook (amsterdam) – completed double page spread

She looks rather flinty, but she’s really quite friendly. That’s just the outward manifestation of her resolute determination to protect all those that call the forest home from all those that would cut down, kill, consume & catalogue.

muji notebook (amsterdam) - glow-in-the-dark eyes!

Of course no guardian spirit would be complete without glow-in-the-dark eyes! (My penchant for GID paint, and in fact anything that glows in the dark, does not seem to be abating.)

muji notebook (amsterdam) - eye see you

ear tufts folded for transit to tokyo

mujinotebook collaboration - post packagaing

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notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam, and notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6 – part I) | (6 – part II) | (7 – part I)

" "

At last, I’m back with new instalments from the long-distance sketchbook/notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko Hayashi.

It’s always a thrilling day here when a MUJI notebook sized package, postmarked Tokyo, lands in my letterbox!

mujinotebook collaboration - post packagaing

In my previous entry (which you can see here) I’d left Yoko with a rather awkward, untidy-back-of-embroidery page to work with…

muji notebook (tokyo) - back-of-embroidery

I was intrigued to see what she’d done with this page. I knew it would be beautiful and inventive, but I wasn’t prepared for just how beautiful – there was actual gasping when I turned the page to reveal Yoko’s most recent entry…

mujinotebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

This fine lace-like filigree evokes a constellation of delicate celestial bodies or magical snow crystals.

Although they are painted they have an enticing three-dimensional quality – like real openwork – that makes one want to reach out and touch them.

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – double page spread (artwork by yoko hayashi)

The village beneath this constellation (itself, it would seem, born of fallen stars/snow crystals) exudes a peaceful otherworldly calm, and that deep stillness that almost always accompanies abundant snowfall.

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

Soft, substantial snow came to Haarlem a few days after the notebook arrived. Coincidence or enchantment? I favour the latter…

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – all artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo, and notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6 – part I) | (6 – part II)

All artwork in this post is copyright yoko hayashi

While Yoko was producing the beautiful pages in the ‘[amsterdam]’ notebook of our long-distance MUJI notebook collab (featured in this post a couple of weeks ago) I was enjoying working in the other / ‘[tokyo]’ notebook. Yoko had previously provided this trigger for my next entry…

mujinotebook (tokyo)

… and I leapt at the opportunity to raid my stash of postage stamps amassed over the decades – soaked off correspondence received from distant friends and family, flea-market finds etc. While sifting through this trove I restricted my selection to stamps with animal or vegetable themes and collaged them onto the notebook’s left page.

mujinotebook (tokyo) - work in progress

notebook [tokyo] – work in progress

postage stamps

Then I chose eight of my favourites (chosen for their excellent animal subjects and not, in the case of some, for the pernicious colonial legacies they represent) to use as the basis for a series of black and white ink drawing exercises exploring pattern, texture, positive/negative space… and fun!

bull-headed shrike - based on a 1998 postage stamp from japan

bull-headed shrike (japan, 1998)

7th century celtic dog - based on a 1971 postage stamp from Ireland

7th century celtic dog (ireland, 1971)

sloane's viper fish - based on a 1961 postage stamp from the congo

sloane’s viper fish (congo, 1961)

chameleon - based on a 1967 postage stamp from ghana

chameleon (ghana, 1967)

sun squirrel - based on a 1984 postage stamp from malawi

gologolo / sun squirrel (malawi, 1984)

To give my failing eyesight a fighting chance I made the drawings at a larger scale than they would finally (re)appear in the notebook… then scanned, scaled down, printed and ‘stitched’ them back into the notebook using bright embroidery thread.

mujinotebook (tokyo) - work in progress

notebook [tokyo] – work in progress

mujinotebook (tokyo) - work in progress

notebook [tokyo] – work in progress

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – work in progress

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – double page spread  |  back side of stitching

" "

notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam, and notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo.

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6 – part I)

" "

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

They say time flies when you’re having fun… but can it really be four months since I last posted here?! Apparently it can…

My summer has flown by, too fast, in a bright blur of visitors, first forays into roof-terrace ‘farming’, city explorations, art gallery visits, plenty of enjoyable reading, some interesting client work, and lots of drawing for projects of my own. My camera has been working overtime so I have many pics to share and I’ll be trying to catch up on some of the summer’s wanderings and meanderings in my next few posts. Kicking off the catch-up, here are some more pages from the sketchbook/notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko…*

A recent project for a client required lots of mushroom research and drawing, so I used the notebook as a place to experiment and play with ‘shrooms of all shapes, sizes and colours.

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam] – work-in-progress (animated GIF)

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam]
dreaming of mushrooms | work-in-progress detail

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam] – left side of double-page spread

mujinotebook (amsterdam)

notebook [amsterdam] – right side of double-page spread

During my research** I encountered many weird and wonderful mushrooms – the world of fungi is mind-bogglingly diverse and fantastical! Although the patterning and colouring of my mushrooms is mostly imagined, it would be no surprise if these curious specimens do exist in nature. However real or imagined though, I’m pretty sure those purple ones above are poisonous enough to drop a human at thirty paces… even if they’re apparently quite harmless to snails and ‘mourillos’***

Yoko’s most recent pages, as with all her previous entries, are filled with magic and mystery. Finely-detailed etchings of a unicorn and a nesting bird atop a kingdom within an apple are incorporated into a collage of beautiful old stamps, mulberry-paper leaves and delicate drawn elements.

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – double page spread, and a right side page detail
(all artwork by yoko hayashi)

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – left side page details
(all artwork by yoko hayashi)

Yoko also included a treat for me on the next blank page of the notebook: a glassine envelope containing more beautiful old stamps – inspirational triggers for my next entry…

mujinotebook (tokyo)

notebook [tokyo] – details (all artwork by yoko hayashi)

" "

notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam, and notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo.

The preceding four Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) (2) (3) (4)

" "

* Yoko and her husband visited in July and it was the first time since we embarked on this project that the two notebooks were in the same place at the same time :)

** I highly recommend checking out the photographs of Steve Axford for lots of fantastic fungi! Many of my mushrooms were inspired by his photographs

*** mourillos: as christened by a friend, when they first appeared here, for their resemblance to a cross between a mouse and a tiny armadillo

" "

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Darkroom shenanigans! (My ‘darkroom’ is simply an area in my studio that can be enclosed by light-proof curtains when needed. Grayson had not yet discovered this fluid ‘space within a space’ and was mightily intrigued when I recently used it while exposing some screens for a new print) - #darkroom #lightproof #blackoutcurtains #black #grey #cat #greeneyes #grayson #explorer #onelungedwonder #MegaLung #ThinGreyDuke #catsofinstagram #screenprinting #zeefdruk #lowkey #lowkey_photography -
This was a relatively good inking session, but the intense & unprecedented heatwave we’ve been experiencing in NL has had some ‘interesting’ effects on my drawing ink – turning it (and me!) into a rapidly congealing, sticky mess. The second pic illustrates a particularly bad inking session when, on lifting the freshly dipped pen to continue drawing, the entire inkpot came with it and crash-landed across the drawing. Ugh… a sticky mess indeed! This is, of course, a very trivial effect of the #climatebreakdown we now find ourselves in the midst of, but no less vexing for its insignificance in the great scheme of things… #no_use_crying_over_spilt_ink - #drawing #inking #indianink #encredechine #dippen #spillage #blunder #stickymess #sunlight #shadow #organic #pattern #mycelium #tangled #chaos #climatecollapse - Thankfully today is a cooler, rainy day… perfect inking conditions! -
A jaw-dropping summer sunset in Haarlemtown this evening… - #sunset #summer #evening #sun #light #golden_orb #dusk #clouds #roofgardenviews #haarlem #dutch_sky #painterly #colour #awe_inspiring #nature -

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