Learning, taking notes and repetition.

Recently my friend, Lisa Chin came to NYC and we had two art playdates. Lisa is a fantastic printmaker and carver. Check out her website and her insta!

In playing together, Lisa wanted me to try out Inovart Eco Karve (and some paints too, though that is a post for another day). So, I tucked in and took some lessons. As I did so, of course, I took notes in my Moleskine.

In the Moleskine, I printed a strike-off (page 31, Playful Fabric Printing), made notes about the carving rubber itself. Then in true Melly style, I decided to carve several similar designs so that I could further improve my skill set within this new carving medium.

Repetition helps build muscle memory and similar imagery gives me time to explore similar lines and carving approaches. I printed them off using the same colors in order to evaluate them side by side. I think the white serves this design well in both versions. I am partial to the white dots at top right, but think both benefit by judicious use of white. White is often a bully of a presence in printed fabric, I feel this use of white creates balanced ‘pop’. I will write notes about this too!

As I create motifs and print, keeping notes along the way allows me to keep up with myself. I have been doing it for long enough that I have 4 journals worth of juicy notes. As a resource, dipping into these journals is really helpful. It can help shift your perspective on current work, provide new ideas, remind you of a new art material or perhaps a playdate with a good friend.

Do you take notes and track your creative efforts? Leave a comment and tell me what you do.




5 thoughts on “Learning, taking notes and repetition.

  1. I do take notes on each artwork I create. I write down the dye colors and recipe I used to mix them, I write down how much colorless extender I added to the fabric paint when I screen print or stamp, I write down what # color of DMC embroidery thread I used in hand stitching. All of these things help me to either reproduce a certain effect or change it for the next pieces. Sometimes, in the margins, I write some new things to try later that I think of while creating. For me it’s an important part of creating.


  2. I have gotten lazy in my note taking. I want to set up a recorder so that I can talk to myself as I work. That said, I am vowing to follow your suggestions because I know that by just the act of creating, more ideas pop up. I need to capture them, because the memory isn’t what it used to be. It is kind of like remembering dreams. You know you had a great idea, but heck if you can remember what it was. I got a sample of Lisa’s favorite carving material and hope to try it out this week. I do love the ease of the gray Speedball stuff, but it is hard to get good definition with fiddly designs. Have fun printing and playing! xoxo


    1. Now is as good as any to begin note taking. Especially with art materials at the ready. Do you have a voice activated Siri option on your phone?


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