Thursday, November 11, 2010

Paging Through Our Sketchbooks: Missouri Bend Studio

This week's sketchbook features the works of Patti from Missouri Bend Studio Mixed Media on Paper and the progression of her most recent piece "Page from the Book of Loose Associations."

I’ve been saving teabags for a couple of years and I’m not sure how I amassed so many since I almost always drink loose tea.  These must come from all those times when I’ve run out!  I keep them in a basket next to the main basket of embroidery thread, which is in a wild abandon of chaos.  I know this would drive most people totally nuts, but I love that mix of color and it’s only when I try to disentangle a particular color that I wonder why I don’t choose a more sane way to keep the thread organized.

Having been a cataloger for much of my working life (now flying solo with my Etsy and blogging life) I am very much drawn to the book page and have been making a lot of them lately, using these teabags mounted on Japanese paper.

The book is a place of magic for me, both as an object and as a vehicle for a journey into the unknown.  As I am so much about the one-of-a-kind and the still image, I realized that for me, making a single open page of a book says what I need to say at any given moment. 

So as far as the making, I found that using gel medium adheres the teabags beautifully to the paper.  I also love the look of  drawing on the teabags in ink and acrylic and then dipping them in beeswax, my other best friend!  I keep the beeswax in an old electric wok, which I turn on to just a little under 200 degrees, so it melts slowly.  I love the richness, texture and color that the beeswax provides.  I’d have to say I’m a mixed media artist, as the work I make combines ink, acrylic, teabags, and hand stitching in these little book pages. 

My process is entirely intuitive, so I don’t actually keep a real sketchbook, but do often jot notes here or there.   I just begin by playing and making random drawings, which may or may not end up in a finished piece. By now I have so many scraps of paper and bits of drawings laying about, that I have an eclectic source of collage material. Unsuccessful drawings may be torn up and used much later somewhere else.

Some of the parts of the finished work were drawings that were dipped in beeswax back in the early summer and only now did they find their way into a final piece. The titles of the works announce themselves as I am making them…I’ve always said I think through my hands, which is why I don’t actually keep a sketchbook….the thinking and making happen in the actual construction of the work.  I guess, you’d say the bits and pieces laying about my desk or in small piles on various shelves are my sketchbook!

You may find out more about Patti and her work through her Etsy Shop, and two blogs: Missouri Bend Studio and Missouri Bend Paperworks.


  1. fascinating! Love your work. really love to hear about your process.

  2. I love your work!!!and love that you do not keep a sketch book! Thanks for sharing!

  3. totally fascinating Patti - thank you for sharing it- I love your work

  4. Thanks for sharing to see how you create!!!

  5. I love the vintage look that the color lends to your work - it's beautiful! I love the idea of the beeswax, too.. very interesting, Patti :)

  6. Your comments are very much appreciated. It is interesting to share the process! Thanks to all fine folks at the Artisans Collective...this is such a great blog!

  7. very cool! thanks to Patti and to MadderRoot for this great post!

  8. I am totally enamored by your work Patti. The pages remind me of remnants left over from some other place and time... they have a language all there own, but at that same time feel comfortingly familiar... like some language I once knew, but have forgotten. Really wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Your work is so incredibly beautiful, Patti.. many thanks for sharing a bit of the process with us!