Mini Artwork

New mini artwork is now available in my online shop!  I have created some smaller pieces recently to add to the shop in time for Christmas in the same style as my larger pieces but these are individually screen printed to allow for repeats of different designs.  Each piece is printed onto previously dyed fabric so each is unique as the pattern and colour on each piece of fabric is different.  So far the wren design is proving the most popular...take a look and see what you think......

It has been a while since I last blogged (surprise, surprise!) and I have been caught up in the pre-Christmas madness as usual.  The exhibition at Leeds Craft and Design Centre is now up and I have been so pleased with the response to my working, selling all 4 of the first delivery of work....happy days!

I have also got an exhibition of my work at The Black Swan Hotel in Helmsley through Gallery Beyond in Nunnington.  I am told that my work can be seen in the newly decorated bar and has gone down very well with a few comments on Twitter already.

New work is also now available at Finestra Gallery in Kirkby Lonsdale as I made a long awaited trip up there to restock.  It's been really difficult finding time to get out recently with orders to fulfil; I sent work to Bluestone Gallery in Wiltshire with my parents who were going on holiday down that way!  But I am finally catching up and am on track to be up to date for Christmas.

Just a quick mention before I go about Holmfirth Art Market.  I was lucky enough to be selected to show my work here in November and was pleasantly surprised at how well the day went and how many sales I made.  The stand was set up fairly quickly as the access to the indoor market was great and the visitors were all very appreciative of the work on offer...the only slight hiccup was when my Mum managed to spill a cup of coffee over my new clean covers.....but we aren't allowed to mention that (oops!).

Here's an image of one of the mini artworks.....bye for now.

August News

Yet again, it's been a while but I have been busy making a few changes to the studio that I am quite excited about!  The studio next door to mine at the Old Tannery became available recently and it was just too good an opportunity to miss.  Not only does it offer extra space but a separate room looking onto the front of the building, which I can use as a permanent display area, and also a loo, making it completely self contained.  When I start running workshops again it will be a fantastic space to work in with a separate area to relax and enjoy lunch and my existing studio will be used as a wash out area.  I have already made a few changes to the space creating a whole wall of storage, those who know me will now why (major hoarder), and adding a small partition wall to the front to partially screen off the working area.  I have also been going a bit mad on Ebay and buying a few vintage furniture pieces to dress the display area.....any excuse for a bit of retail therapy!

The new space will be finished and fully functioning by the end of the summer holidays and I am planning on a launch date of the 17th/18th September as I have decided, after changing my mind many times, to take part in HOST again this year, so hopefully I will get a few visitors to come along and enjoy the new space with me!

Here's a picture of a fairly new piece of work as I can't do a blog post without an image....

New Stockists

I have spent the last few weeks travelling around the country delivering my work to some lovely galleries following British Craft Trade Fair.  Some of the galleries visited so far are:

Itch Gallery, Oakham, Rutland
Felsted Studio, Dunmow, Essex
Bluestone Gallery, Devizes, Wiltshire
Lee Chapman Gallery, Keswick, Lake District
Finestra Gallery, Kirkby Lonsdale.

I have also sent badges to Apendage in Brighton and a selection of cards to The Pantry at Lockton, near Whitby.  It has been good to see some of the country and a few of the fantastic galleries that we have but it will be good to get back in the studio for a much needed re-stock!

I am looking forward to some exhibitions in the very near future starting with Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge in June followed by Holmfirth Art Week and Gallery Beyond in Nunnington in July.

I have really enjoyed the past 12 months and everything has moved at quite a pace so I have taken some time to reflect and make plans for the next 12.  I think it's important to reassess every so often and look at what's working and just as importantly what is not, it's easy to get drawn into doing things because everyone else is ( especially the shows) and doing all the additional things that seem to go with making a living as a creative person, but maybe sometimes you've just got to do things a bit differently?  I have enjoyed my school and adult workshops and events/shows but I am struggling to juggle all of these with my core business of actually making work to sell, so I have decided to take a break from teaching and attending retail fairs to concentrate on just creating for a while.......for now anyway!

So the next 12 months will see some changes and hopefully a more relaxed approach to both my working and family life, starting with reclaiming my weekends!  I am creating some exciting new work for exhibitions at present and then I shall spend the next few months creating even more to be ahead of myself when my stockists need new work or if I see an exhibition I would like to apply for, I have so many new ideas just waiting for the time to explore them.  Finally I am in the (very) early stages of a new range of work aimed at the commercial sector.....more news on that one later.....

Country Living Spring Fair and BCTF, Harrogate

I promised to write a post after the Country Living Spring Fair but I was rather negative for at least a week as the show was disappointing (to say the very least!) and I didn't want to moan too much!  I had very high expectations for this show and the cost of the stand plus food and accommodation in London made it very expensive so just to break even would have been okay.  The visitors wowed and oooh'd and aah'd at my work  but very few actually bought.  People were going away to think about buying a few cards so the chances of taking a reasonable amount of money at the show were looking doubtful from the very start.  On the positive side my work was very well received and I am trying to take a few positives from the show rather than dwell on the negatives (not easy!).

By the time BCTF came around I was feeling ever so slightly less grumpy and had not really thought too much about the show other than what I was taking and how my stand would look.  I really enjoy doing this show as I am surrounded by the loveliest makers and it's a great chance to have a catch up and see what everyone has been up to.  So what can I say, expectations were pretty low due to the economy and the number of galleries which have closed in recent months and I had a fantastic show!  I was overwhelmed by the number of galleries selecting work and also the compliments that I received from other exhibitors.  In the end I had a small number of pieces left (and I took a lot!) and have already received orders after the show before I have even done any follow up.  So all in all it's been a roller coaster few months but I have come out the other side feeling much more confident about the direction in which I am going and with so many ideas for the future along with some exciting new this space....

They're not seedheads!

Just a quick post as I haven't posted for a while...thought I would share a few almost finished pieces....of pears!!!

They still need stitching etc. to finish off and will be framed in a lovely dark brown frame just in time for Country Living Spring Fair in March.


Finally I feel like I am getting somewhere!  I have started quite a few new pieces of work this week in some new colours (mainly blue) and am really please with how they are going.

I decided to do a bit of a stock check whilst they were drying and breathed a sigh of relief as I already have quite a few pieces wrapped and ready to go to Country Living Spring Fair.  It's amazing how many pieces you can store in a plan chest!  So I felt a little more relaxed knowing that I could just concentrate on the new work to go on the I only have a 3m x 1m stand with 1 open side they need to be big eyecatching pieces so I am planning on creating 2 big canvas'......
this one is in the first stage of production and is the width and nearly the whole length of my printing table so it's going to be big!  This image is the reverse of the fabric stretched onto my table and has been drawn into with dye and also printed.  It will go in the steamer tomorrow and have it's first wash and then on with the next process.

I am also about to start a commission for a hotel who want five large pieces of work for their reception and dining area (for mid March!) and have been contacted by a new gallery regarding an exhibition in June/July so things are going a bit crazy lately.

I will post some more pictures once these pieces are a stage further and I haven't forgotten about the sketchbook pages that I promised to show you....maybe next week!

If anyone wants to sign up for my newsletter to receive occassional updates about exhibitions, events etc. you can subscribe on my website here and if you like my work and would like to vote for me in the craft and design Selected awards please click here....much appreciated!

Preparation and planning

I have spent this morning planning the colour schemes for the work that I will be taking to Country Living Spring Fair and British Craft Trade Fair.  I don't normally plan in this way but I often find that I have lots of work in certain colours and would like to ensure this time that I have a range of colourways and an even mix.  I am only selecting the colourways that are right for my work and that I normally use anyway but I am always looking at interior and fashion magazines and this just seems like a good way to collate all of the images that I have torn out because I like the texture/colour/pattern.  You can't get away from the fact that certain colours sell well when they are in fashion and whilst I would hope that my work will stand the test of time I don't think it can harm to keep an eye on trends and fashions as these are usually the colours that galleries/shops/magazines are looking for and requesting because they are current.

I have put this sheet up on my wall as a constant reminder as to what I am aiming for as I find it all too easy to digress and whilst I usually enjoy letting my work flow and evolve I am working to a pretty tight deadline and want to get this just right.

So I have planned my colourways and have so many images and ideas in my head of how I want each piece to look I just need a quiet few hours to get some of these onto paper.  If I am feeling brave I might put some sketch book pages on here too.....

Transfer Printing Part 1

Finally back in the studio today after an extended Christmas break!  I decided to ease myself back into things with a fun morning transfer printing as I have a few bags to finish for an exhibition at the end of January and I have decided to decorate them with some transfer printed satin.  I am always excited by the possibilities of transfer printing but never seem to have enough time to fully explore it's different methods of application so I have decided that this is one of the areas I am going to explore further this year.  For those of you unfamiliar with transfer printing it is when disperse dye is applied to paper (endless possibilities for doing this!) and once dry is ironed onto fabric (manmade).  I am planning to try different resists and today decided to use a dried piece of plant from my are the results..

 ...can't wait to try some more of the things that I have collected and to take these pieces further.

Country Living Spring Fair

I have had an enforced day at home today as my son is off school poorly so I have been catching up on a bit of planning and as usual ended up surfing the net.  I visited the Country Living Spring Fair website and had a moment of nervous excitement as I discovered my details had been added; it was only my name and address but it really doesn't take much!  It made me realise how near the event actually is and whilst I am looking forward to it I still have a huge amount of work to do.  It's so difficult to judge how much work to take as well; probably dependant on what will fit in the car; as I would hate to not take enough but must try and select the right things.  I am also going to order a new set of stationery and packaging with my fab new(ish) logo, designed by the very talented Michael Barrett aka emelbi, so everything works together on the stand.

I am looking forward to finishing some new pieces off when I get back in the studio....pears!  I started studying these before the Christmas rush kicked in and discovered some interesting new ways of printing off my screens coated in thickened dye using simple paper resists and printing and overprinting.  I just need to apply the devore paste and a little more dye and I will share them with you.

Before I go here are a few interesting blogs that I discovered today:

Happy surfing!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! I am looking forward to a busy 2011 and can't wait to set to work on all of the new ideas I have for Country Living Spring Fair and British Craft Trade Fair. I have started by writing a list as just makes me feel like I have made a start! I am making only 2 new years resolutions this year:

The first is to not take on too much....easier said than done! I am prone to loosing track of how much I have achieved and concentrating a bit too much on what I haven't and this can cause me to try and cram in too many things. The Christmas break has been a good opportunity to look back on the past few years and see how far I have come; 2011 is a year for enjoying where I am now and really getting the most out of my creativity without putting myself under too much pressure.

The second is to try and blog more...this is a recurring theme! I am going to attempt a new post a week (at least) to try and form a visual diary of my year; what I have created, what has inspired me, who I have discovered and what exhibitions and events I have been a part of.

But for now I am calling it a day. It's been a really rewarding day working with teachers from Reinwood School prior to my creative partnership project there this term but a full on start to the year...bye for now.