Before Pinterest...


 ...there were scrapbooks. I started collecting cuttings when I was 16, for art references and articles of interest and I kept it up for about 20 years. So this is my pile of 38 scrapbooks, filled with newspaper and magazine clippings, postcards, flyers and all manner of ephemera wot-nots.

In the same way that I now have specific Pinterest boards, I tended to keep different albums for different subjects. Textiles was a favourite even back then.

Landscapes and atmosphere -


I often found poems in old newspapers and put appropriate ones on themed pages. The spread below, of various tapestry and decorative textiles, includes this lovely writing by Vita Sackville-West, 
'Full Moon'

She was wearing the coral taffeta trousers
Someone had brought her from Ispahan,
And the little gold coat with pomegranate blossoms,
And the coral-hafted feather fan;
But she ran down a Kentish lane in the moonlight,
And skipped in the pool of the moon as she ran.

She cared not a rap for all the big planets,
For Betelgeuse or Aldebaran,
And all the big planets cared nothing for her,
That small impertinent charlatan;
But she climbed on a Kentish stile in the moonlight,
And laughed at the sky through the sticks of her fan.

Other books are just full of slightly odd, curious, often ugly and sometimes downright macabre images.

There are several life style 'aspiration' books, put together by a dirt poor teenager with nothing but dreams, some old magazines, scissors and glue.

And hundreds of references for colour, style, ideas and potential reference for the glowing art career I was (naturally) going to have.

I'm going to keep them out now that I've discovered them again. There is something satisfying about these old and battered albums; it's like looking into my own head from a few decades ago, when I dreamed big and didn't worry every day about the future. Some pages are like messages in bottles, from the me-then to the me-now. As if I somehow sensed something.

 Don't Ask

Tell me love, what are you thinking of?

I was thinking how there are certain times of the night
when the dead wipe the frost from their souls and weep.

Of nothing simpler?

Of a courtyard I once visited and of a woman 
standing beside a statue covered in snow.

Of no-one? No-one else?

She was so beautiful.
Had she been made of nettles I'd have wanted her.

Why think of her now, at this moment?

Because I am still missing the ashes of the dead and of dead obsessions

Why answer me like this?

Because I am bankrupt of small comforts, of small deceits.
Because we two are new, and without history, 
And treasonous memory sleeps in so many beds.



Soozcat said...

Pinterest may make the process easier, but there's something lovely lost in the process. These scrapbooks are so beautiful. They're like a collaged self-portrait made with paper and scissors and glue. Thank you for sharing.

Frances Tyrrell said...

I think this makes you an Anthologist of Imagery. Perhaps, like the comeback of sketch books and handwriting (which we never gave up anyway) real scrapbooking will be rediscovered. Treasures and keepers.

Bonny said...

Thank you for this! These are beautiful and fascinating.

Mac n' Janet said...

They're wonderful, you ought to think about publishing them. Love the first poem.

the veg artist said...

After seeing this I've just asked Santa for two scrapbooks for all the still-life and landscape photo/ideas I've cut out of magazines over the years! Santa is delighted that there is now one entry on the list!!
This is always going to be a tough time of year for you, and treasonous memory is full of what-might-have-beens, but you ARE building a new history, even with your new log shed and garden projects. Time doesn't remove memories, but builds on top of them. Take care of yourself, Gretel. There are many people thinking of you.

Su said...

What treasures to have rediscovered, and memories too. I love them 😊

Granny Sue said...

You remind me of my friend Ellouise, who made collages of images and fabrics. Your scrapbooks are fascinating. Love the poem too, I want to copy that and send it to her.

rossichka said...

Dear Gretel, this is a real treasure! And, yes, I guess it's a "rendez-vous" with your youth and am sure that all those images and ideas , carefully cut and glued, have their special place in your forming as an artist!
We don't have that scrapbooking habit here, but I've been thinking lately that it's the only way to gather together and keep my memories from Kenya!

Yarrow said...

I used to make mood boards or even whole books like this.
Seasons greetings to you, with so much love for a happy New Year to you.xxx

BumbleVee said...

Wow... what a treasure to have Gretel... I love the feel and textures of paper and stuff... I wonder where some of the stuff I made as a kid disappeared to? ... Probably somebody tossed it in the dump... the tip over there.

I just finished up our final renovation in this house, so I can get my hobby room in order and get back to having some fun. Haven't had much for the past 9 months believe me. ... ...yep... we have now renovated every single thing in here so there is nothing left to do. Greg will have to start outside if he wants to build something...and, I know just where he can begin in the spring...the garden shed. It is in need of a facelift.

Wanted to stop by to say hello and wish you and Joe a very Merry Christmas and healthy and happy New Year.

hugs, V>