Monday, February 7, 2011

Welcome to moly_x_24!

This blog will follow the adventure of a group of artists around the world, in a Japanese fold Moleskine sketchbook exchange.

Each artist will set off with a small Japanese (accordian) folded Moleskine. Creating a drawing, collage, or painting, then send that book on to the next artist. Each artist will draw on a couple of spreads (3-4 pages) then send it on to the next artist. When the artists book is filled, it will be returned to the owner with images created by artist around the world. Each artist has a month to make an entry. The outcome will be a pleasant and surprising adventure, as artists are encouraged to interact and merge their art with others.

The concept:

1. Each artist begins with the Japanese fold Moleskine - Name, address, email address written in book.

2. Each artist gets 1 month to make a sketchbook entry, and mail it to the next person. The order is listed to the right.

3. Each artist will do 3-4 pages each round.

4. Artists are encouraged to interact with other images in the book. Please be respectful.

5. When the book is full, when one side of the unfolded book is filled, the book will be sent back to its original owner. That artist may continue by buying a new book and sending it to the next person.

6. If a person decides not to continue, she will simply keep her book when it comes back to her. She should email all of the participants to say she is not going to continue. We will decide, then, if we want to find a new person.

7. Please communicate regularly via email. Let each person know that you have received/sent the book. The goal is to have a dialogue. Any comments and questions are welcome.

This moly_x_project was begun by Marty Harris, Minnesota, USA.


  1. Thanks Marty this really helps!

  2. Hello from your friendly moderator/cheerleader! Feel free to contact me with any questions either via flickr mail or leave a comment here. This looks like it is going to be a great group! I look forward to seeing your molys as they progress!

  3. Thanks so much to both of you for you initiative. Most important thing in these groups is communication. Feel free to send a flickrmail to nina_kck, asking if she is going to join the group.

  4. I have actually sent her two already with no reply. It appears that she posted on flickr in Sept 2010 and has not posted again. She may respond to my flickr mail though.

  5. Hi, all.
    I’ve been following along. I’m a bit slow at the draw (no pun intended), crawling out from the affects of some dental surgery. So tomorrow, I’ll see if our one art store in town has the pocket size Japanese moleskine, if not, I’ll order it from Amazon.

    I’m still thinking about your proposed theme, Katie. Winter remembering Spring has popped some images into my mind’s eye. The pots of Spring bulbs that I’m forcing (no flowers yet, just green spears poking up from the dirt) are like a lifeline through the frigid whiteness to what seems like an improbable Spring.

    But I’m still trawling for alternatives. How about Unintended Collections? I’m not a conscious collector, but stuff tends to pool around me. & then I realize there’s a cluster of like forms or objects that holds some personal narrative.

    Here’s a question..I’m still trying to grasp how this is going to work. Each of us starts a sketchbook & sends it on. Do all 4 of these sketchbooks have the same theme or initiating idea?

    Thanks, for getting this going, Katie. Thanks for keeping a watchful eye, Jan. And Marty, thanks for your vision & ongoing curation!


  6. Hi Marcia, about themes, generally each book owner decides themselves whether or not to have a theme for their book. I've done both (themed & unthemed) and both have their joys and surprises. A few moly x's have had an overarching theme. I think every contributor would need to be happy with it. I think themed exchanges generally state the theme before the participants join up. Having said all that, this is YOUR exchange and it can be any way you want it! What do the others think?

  7. Hi Everyone,
    Many thanks for all the information. I feel I have a much better understanding now.

    As far as themes are concerned, I'm in two minds- a theme can prevent new ideas from flowing, but do give cohesion.
    If we have an overall theme,we do need to decide from the beginning as Jan says.

    For me, I enjoy spontaneously drawing people so would like to leave room for that (it's a risky strategy though)!

    'Music', 'Rhythm', 'Song and Dance','Telling the Story', 'Sights and Sounds' are some thoughts that have come to mind. I think that they could be incorporated into either 'Unintended Collections' or 'Spring' though.
    Perhaps for me 'Unintended Collections' might be a preference.

    I'll look for a sketch book now, probably on line. Sadly, art shops have largly disappeared from high streets in U.K. along with independent book shops, butchers etc.

    Thanks again,
    Best wishes,

  8. Hello All,
    I am fine with or without a theme. I suggested a theme in the beginning because I was unclear about the process and thought it was my responsibility to do so. Oops.

    Jan, I am so glad you are here. At first when this blog was associated with my blog, I thought that I was responsible to get things going. I am relieved that it is not up to me. So I will relax and enjoy.

    I just wanted to clarify, I didn't really suggest "spring" as a theme. My suggestion was "Winter Remembering Spring, Spring Imagining Summer". More really about transitions than seasons.

    One more question. If Nina is not going to join us will we go with just the three of us?


  9. Forgot to say I like the Unintended Collections idea. I don't think I collect things so it will be interesting to take a look at collections that I din't really know I had.

  10. Hi Everyone,
    Thanks for posts. I'm happy with or without a theme too. I guess we just need to decide.

    I have ordered a sketch book now, so looking forward to seeing it.

    I think it's going to be a great group and a challenging experience :)

    Rosie x

  11. I ordered my sketchbook today. I should get it by February 15th. I have another issue that needs clarifying: Since there are going to be 3 or 4 sketchbooks circling between us (depending if Nina steps forward or if someone else is enlisted), do all of the sketchbooks have to have the same theme? Could each sketchbook have a different theme? Or one have no theme?

  12. Some of the books can have a theme if their owners decide to, or some books in a group might be themeless. I suggest that if you all decide to have a theme for the group as a whole, that it would need to be one that you are all happy with and open enough to be sustainable for lots of pages in your 3 or 4 books.

    Also to think about, how many pages will each person do in each rotation? There are a few ways to go. You could decide to only send the books around once in which case the each artist would have a third or quarter to work in. Or you could send the books around twice (or with such a nice small group even three times). That would mean extra postage costs and (sadly) mire chance of loss but it would also mean a more diverse & interesting outcome. Both would work well. One rotation would produce a more cohesive book.

  13. Hi Jan,

    Thanks for all your input.
    Just a concern about sketch books; I was looking through the other moly x contributions and noticed they seem to be the larger size. Mine is the 'pocket' one 8883701046, Is this correct? I can get a bigger one if not.
    I guess some pockets could larger than others :)


  14. Rosie,
    I hope you don't mind me answering you question. I'm pretty sure the pocket size is the right one. There is a "Moly_x Exchange" exhibit here in Minneapolis and they are all pocket size. Plus when you go to the flickr site and scroll down to, "About moly_x: an international moleskine sketchbook exchange" , the moleskine link takes you right to the pocket size book.

  15. Thanks Katie. Yes Rosie the are the small 'pocket' ones. They seem bigger when you see the drawings on the internet. That is part of the calm of these exchanges - 2 surprises. One when you see them on the blog and another when you see them in the flesh.

  16. Marty,
    We have invited a new artist to replace nina who never responded. I have added her to the participating artist list to the right. Her name is Masha. Would you be so kind as to add her officially so that she will get notices when we post here on our blog. Thanks so much. By the way I am sorry I wasn't able to attend the show on the 18th.
    Thanks again

  17. Thanks, Katie, for setting this into motion with Marty.