I have only recently become aware of the term commonplace book to describe a miscellany, scrapbook or collection of interesting snippets. Yes, we all know I am very slow. Stop laughing. But it's funny how once you hear of something, it keeps popping up. At the library where I work, we have lots of manuscript collections, but it was only through reading some of Joel's research notes that I found they were known as commonplace books. Then, only a couple of days later, the catalogue of this exhibition appeared on my desk for shelving. The title page contains this wonderful description of a study, from Comenius's Orbis sensualium pictus, published in 1672:
"... a place where a student, apart from men, sitteth alone, addicted to his studies, whilst he readeth books, which being within his reach he layeth upon a desk and picketh all the best things out of them into his own manual."
I have always kept a notebook in exactly this way, and a blog, of course, in the form that many of us keep one, is also a sort of commonplace 'book' or scrapbook to record things that interest us. This is an idea that much cleverer people than me have already explored, but I rather like the sense of connection with the past that it gives.
For me, certainly, this space functions in exactly the way that a commonplace book might have done, providing inspiration, a means to remember creative processes and experiences, somewhere to make lists, a place to collect my thoughts. I count myself lucky to live in an age where it's all made so easy and the pleasure to be gained from it is so great.
To suit the mood, the photos in this post are just ones I like and thought looked nice together. The last one is the beautiful fabric of a Nicole Farhi skirt I recently sold (for peanuts) on Ebay and now wish I'd kept for patchwork... what was I thinking?