Sketchbook Project 2012

Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project “is the world’s largest library of artists’ books…” Based in Brooklyn, NY completed sketchbooks can be viewed by the public at the Brooklyn Art Library in the Willamsburg section of Brooklyn. The sketchbooks also travel North America and even the world via the Mobile Library. For more information, go to httsp://

I participated in the Sketchbook Project in 2012 and 2013. It’s time to take part again. Over the next several weeks, I will post the designs in the pages of the current sketchbook including cover and end pages. (Click on the art tutorials link above.) This year’s theme is Numerology and the visual power of numbers and letters and their relationship to each other.

Pythagoras and Numerology

Numerology studies the meanings of names and numbers and their relationship to each other and is derived from the cultures of ancient Greece, China, Rome and Egypt and the Hebrew Kabbalah.

Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician and mystic from the 6th century BCE. He is regarded as one of the fathers of numerology as well as the father of geometry.

He based his system of names and numbers on his belief that nature is comprised of numerical relationships. Numbers are a source of form and energy and numbers 1 through 9 represent the nine stages of the cycle of life.

Pythagoras and his followers believed that divine law could be calculated through mathematics.

Pythagoras, however, associated numbers with many ideas not just divine law. For example, he explored musical harmony through mathematics and called his concept “The Music of the Spheres.” Pythagoras believed that everything vibrates to its own special harmony; the higher the vibration, the more (or positive) force it contains but the lower the rate of vibration, the less (or negative) force it contains.

Of course there is lots of room for interpretation and agreement or disagreement but have fun with the designs.

Use these designs for inspiration and as a springboard to your own creativity.


Hispanic Art

The double-headed serpent was a popular motif in the culture and religion of the Aztec and Mayan people. Serpents were especially sacred to the Aztecs because they were a symbol associated with Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent-god. Serpents shed their skin every year and this symbolized renewal and transformation to the ancient people of Central America.

Molas are from Panama. They are an applique fabric technique originally used for clothing. Today, molas are framed and hung on walls as art.

Mexican Art:

Visit the art tutorials link above to learn how to make the following crafts:

What is hojalata? A hojala is Mexican tin art used to create ornate and often practical objects like boxes or hangings or candelabra and more.

What is a retablo? A retablo is a small oil paintings on tin, zinc, copper or wood and found in Catholic homes to venerate Catholic saints.Visit the art tutorials link above to learn how to make the following crafts:

What are handmade paper flowers? Paper flowers are made out of simple material like tissue paper. In Mexico, the flowers decorate the altar for the El Dia de los Muertos celebration.

What is a Ojo de Dios? The indigenous peoples of the Americas originally used these yarn weavings as an object of worship. Today the Ojo de Dios or Eye of God is also used as a decoration.

What are maracas? Maracas are percussion musical instruments that originated in Latin America.


El Dia de los Muertos Banner

                                                                      El Dia de los Muertos Banner


EL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS or the Day of the Dead celebration is a

mixture of Catholic and prehistoric Hispanic beliefs about life and death.

The Spanish conquistadors brought their religious faith to the Americas

but their beliefs dated back to the early Christians’ adoption of the

customs of the ancient Egyptians and Romans.

For more information, click on the Art Tutorials link.

Read about the Day of the Dead and make the first craft.

Look for more crafts from Mexico in the weeks to come.





Colonial women spun, wove and sewed garments; cooked; cleaned; gardened; washed and ironed; chopped wood, and raised and educated their children. Women had few rights and rarely owned their homes or businesses. Their husband owned all the property including any property or wealth their wives inherited. All wealth and property passed on to the sons upon the death of the father. In exchange, men protected and supported their wives.

Women were the “daughter of” or “the wife of” a man. Parents, husbands and the religious leaders of their communities defined their roles in society which was obedience to them and other male relatives and to become wives and mothers. Colonial society did not look kindly upon women who never married and called them spinsters.

Nonetheless, women had real power running the household while their husbands worked outside the home. When the men went off to war, they ran the business or farm and actively supported the side of the conflict their husbands fought on.

Women and children faced danger when their husbands and sons went off to war. British soldiers took over the colonists’ homes and seized their livestock and other property.

When the Revolution began, women supported the colonists’ protests against Britain. When the British government imposed the Townshend Act which taxed imported goods, women formed spinning bees and wove their own cloth. They supported the boycott of British tea by abstaining from buying and drinking tea.

Women helped with the war effort by sewing shirts for the soldiers. Often they and their children followed the men to the front and cooked, cleaned and washed their clothes. Some women also acted as spies or disguised themselves as men and fought in battle.

And a small number of women had careers. Women such as Phyllis Wheatley, Annis Boudinot Stockton, Mary Katherine Goddard, Mercy Otis Warren, Judith Sargent Stevens Murray and Patience Lovell Wright were writers, artists, publishers and businesswomen.

Women who ran businesses or were artists or writers were women of influence in colonial society especially when the men were fighting the Revolutionary War.


Diamant, Lincoln, editor. Revolutionary Women in the War for American Independence, A One Volume Revised Edition of Elizabeth Ellet’s 1848 Landmark Series. Westport Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 1998.

Greenberg, Judith E. and McKeever, Helen Cary. Journal of a Revolutionary War Woman. New York: Franklin Watts, 1996.

Micklos, John. The Brave Women and Children of the American Revolution. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc, 2009

Freeman, Land M., North, Louise V and Wedge, Janet M. In the Words of Women: the Revolutionary War and the Birth of the Nation, 1765-1799. Landam, Md: Lexington Books, 2011.

Redmond, Shirley Raye. Patriots in Petticoats, Heroines of the American Revolution.New York: Random House, 2004

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