The Lost and Found Sketchbooks

In two weeks it will be a year on from when i had my car broken into and my sketchbooks stolen. It totally broke my heart that day, not because of the shock of the glass everywhere, or my stolen bag and laptop but the sketchbooks - the irreplaceable sketchbooks.

Only a month earlier I had had to let go of my home of 10 years after my husband was made redundant and we moved to a 1 bedroom nook on our friends property till we found our feet, this move required us to let go of most of our belongings and then my beloved furry friend Maxi died too, it was all too much. The night before Maxi died he sat on my sketchbook and i drew around him, drawing his shape and energy into the pages, he then drank milk with his paw and dripped it all over the sketchbook - this sketchbook that had been stolen.

Maxi Mew Cat Illustration

I reached out to the community threads of social media to send me good vibes for their return, it was a long shot, but i believe in magik and affirmation and good vibes and i needed this hope.

I then let go and spirit reminded me that we have to let go of everything in the end...


This is a heart cracking open thought, a leap into the unknown, which is what the last month had been all about for us as we surrendered our home and 'stuff' for something else.

'More letting go,' i sighed and i realised that i had been holding on to those sketchbooks for dear life since Maxi died, as if somehow he was inside those pages. No, he is not there, but he is forever in my heart i realised and that can never be stolen. Such a comforting thought and a wonderful place to sit, in the peace and comfort of the heart.

Miraculous things happen from this heart space and i feel from the love that out poured in response to my call out in social media land - a man messaged late that night near witching hour "I have found your books" it said, no name, no more info. Oh my, my heart leaped, and i got in touch with the man who had found them chucked under a frangipani tree in a laneway next to his house, in the mud from the rain that had poured down all evening. Ray and I drove to this mans home a couple of suburbs away in the wee hours and in the rain, he was a small man with a long beard and a glass of whisky in his hand, his name was John and he had the energy of a magikal, gnarly old gnome. He explained that it was a regular occurrence to find dumped things in the dark old lane. There layed out on the concrete of his carport were my tattered sketchbooks all soggy and covered in mud. I couldn't believe it - always pop your phone number in your sketchbooks - big lesson <3

So i gratefully took my tattered sketchbooks home to dry in front of the fire and the next day posted a thank you card full of love and a scratchy to John, who let me know he won $20 - nice one.

It's a funny thing this whole lost and found process. My sketchbooks are such a private creative companion, they travel with me till they are full, slowly filling with sketches and ideas for artworks that are finished outside of their pages, they are the beginnings, the dreamseeds, the private thoughts, musings and daydreams, they don't usually leave my side, but for some reason these two books went off on an adventure, they leaped out into the world and burst free of their bindings, they came back changed and i knew that the drawings that were salvageable weren't to be kept in a book anymore, their wings had sprouted, they were to fly free again.

Over the next three months i worked on the Lost and Found drawings as they came to be known, the papers were crumbled and some water damaged, the images had a history now, a story to tell and i lovingly reworked them with the intention to send them out again into the world.

I had organised with a gorgeous cafe in Perth to hold an exhibition of the Lost and Found Sketchbooks but we moved before it could happen, so here we are present day, I'm in Melbourne now and i have recently finished setting up the new art space in my sister's shed till we find a place of our own and as i unpacked the Lost and Found illustrations, now all housed in frames, i wondered 'what will become of them now, they are certainly on an adventure - here we are on the other side of Australia'

to be continued...

#HandmadeWonderland #ArtExhibition

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