painting…

…last weekend out came the paint and brushes to create a new batch of fish paintings. i had none left for the online shops and for the Saltaire Arts Trail Makers Fair which is next weekend so I thought six would do. They are available now for the fantastic price of £15 each (P+P extra) and unsold ones will be at the fair next week. I hope to do more but I think prices will be increased – they are hand painted and each one is quite individual. Please click on the Etsy or Folksy links in the right hand side bar to see them.

Good news of the week is that I now have a part time job with Ikea. Enough hours and a decent wage to be able to contribute to the household income and enough days/hours to continue with my illustration work. There are new badges in the works which I am painting up and varnishing – soon to be revealed. I think I have a plan illustration wise now we are settled in Coventry and the job search is over and done with. I am concentrating on getting as many things as i can ready for next weeks fair – then having an online/ebay clear out and then spending some time seriously developing work and my website.

page two…

…it has taken me a while to get this page scanned in. i have been taking the sketchbook out and about but i haven’t been that determined to draw in it. i took it to Stoke with me but i mainly sat and made hedgehogs them few days and helped looked after Mollie who is my friends baby – she is nearly three months old. i think Mollie will be drawn quite a lot and so will the birds from the back yard. there are now two robins. in other news, i have mainly been searching and applying for jobs – i had a three hour interview on Monday so that was a good start. fingers crossed i find something soon as the Mr needs help paying the bills.

make a date…

…in your diary for the Saltaire Arts Trail 2012. I am so pleased to be working towards such a great event – my only event so far of this year. Aye – you read correctly – my only event of 2012 (so far). So if you fancy popping on down on any one of the three days, 5th, 6th or 7th May, I will be there with a table full of handmade prints and wares at the Makers Fair. Please click on the super link here for more information. There will be loads of my favourite makers there as well which you can read about on the Makers Fair page. If you can’t wait until then, pop in to the Saltaire Visitor Information Centre to see a small selection of my work for sale in the Saltaire Arts Trail Pop-Up Shop.

In other news, I am trying to find a part-time job of sorts – anything to help me and the Dr Mr financially as things cost a lot of money these days and unfortunately my income from what I do doesn’t go far. yesterday was a sorting the wheat from the chaff kind of day and today I am applying for a couple of vacancies which I found. It is scary as I haven’t filled in a job application in a few years but I will give it a whirl.

Also, I was contacted recently by Lucy through Folksy to see if I would take part in her Blog Interview Project – I said yes and the results of them Q & A’s can be read here. I hope it reads ok and please let me know what you think. Also check out Lucy’s website of great illustration work. Love the owl.

page one…

…and a half of Lion Sketchbook 3. Started carrying this sketchbook with me a couple of weeks ago and it is taking some time getting used to drawing lions again. Hoping it will become easier to draw in – in time. Other than drawing, I have mainly been sewing hedgehogs and taking days off with the Dr Mr as he had some holiday time to use up. I have also been tidying up the back yard and we have put a bird feeding station in there to encourage the birds to pop by and say hello. We have two robins – one is more friendly than the other, great tits, chaffinches and some wood pigeons, oh and one pesky squirrel. It is lovely sitting out back on the seat swing that is there and reading away – this is of course when it is sunny.

on fire…

…after much thinking – it is decided – that Lion Sketchbook 3 will be started this week. I thought it may not be a good idea, doing too much of the same, people may not want to see more lion drawings and/or it was time to take a leap. But looking through the Lion Drawings made me realise I generated and developed a great character and I enjoy it. Tried to get the project started in Moleskine sketchbook about two weeks ago but the pages are too yellow for scanning in and I wasn’t keen on the line/pencil quality on the paper so I rushed to the net to find a good old Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook and it came last week. Despite it’s swift arrival – I haven’t done owt to get going again except stick a sticker on the front. I am building up the courage as it has been a super long while since the lion sketchbooks. Also if you like sketchbooks, over on Sue Bulmer’s blog is a little Q & A I contributed to. I hope it reads ok. There are other Sketchbook Peek’s with other artists/craft/creative people. Have a browse if you have a moment.

If anyone would like to feature me on their blog, website, thing – please get in touch.

a picture…

…with another story to share. earlier in the year, one of my friends sent me a link to an exhibition opportunity at Artlink which is in Hull – i did not have access to my computer at the time as i was staying with a friend in Stoke but made an application best i could to meet the deadline date using pictures saved from the web with access to a little netbook – my friend’s family helped out! Out of three prints – Brian the Circus Lion was selected to be part of Artlink’s (n.) craft exhibition that started on 3rd February and it runs until 24th March 2012. It is a showcase of high quality craft work, created using both traditional and unconventional techniques. It features ceramic works, a variety of textile arts, printmaking, jewellery and furniture. So if you are nearby – please pop in and have a look – please let me know if you do visit it as due to packing/moving – I was unable to go to the preview evening. Also, please have a wander round their new shop area as you may also spy some of my work in there. From the exhibition application, I was then asked to submit work for their shop. Two applications with double success.

down south…
…in the Hampstead area of London is a little shop, gallery and workspace place called Oak Studio. They offer an array of workshops, classes and sessions in a laid back and informal environment. They have a creative space for a range of ages and abilities where you can learn new skills, hone existing ones, meet like minded people or just relax and enjoy yourself. Oak Studio offers craft workshops, knitting classes, cupcake decorating, life drawing sessions, vintage fabric collage, dressmaking, flower arranging, crochet and much, much more.
If you happen to be nearby, please go in and have a look around and I am proud to say that they are now stocking a selection of my work in their shop so you may see some bits and bobs of mine in there. I am never good at the promotion of things but I have been trying my best to get work out there and seen as part of my 2012 aims/goals etc and thankfully the hard works seems to be growing shoots from the little seeds i have been sending out.

hello said Mr Star…

…all the way from Coventry. Right this minute as I tip tap type, I am in a new work room in the new home that is in Coventry. Back to living with the Dr Mr and I am slowly making a work mess all over the floor. This post is going to be about a project I decided to contribute to that was organised by the lovely Chris Webb of Lazy Crafternoons. We used to both live in Mancland in the years of yesterday and originally met though the Manchester Craft Mafia.

Chris started a project earlier this year called ’52 Weeks 52 Crafts’ where Chris and other guest makers will be attempting to make and display a craft a week throughout the year, with him then selling the items online to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support via ebay. I am not very good at writing words as I keep reminding you all – so please do follow all the links – also Chris writes a lot better than I do.

My contribution, The Mr Star Cushion as pictured above can be seen here on his blog, there are bits about me and my work on there and be found here on ebay. I made it for the project and as part of my 2012 mission of using up supplies combined with new printed textiles pieces. Bidding starts at just £5 (P+P extra) and finishes on 26th February 2012 at 16.23pm London GMT Time. Please help out if you can as it would help and be much appreciated.

another one…

…yep – another lion. i have been printing this weekend – well on Friday. The screen was exposed in early January but developments on that day and later on in the month, halted the printing of it. With house moving sooner than I thought – most plans and intentions have been floating around in limbo land while some art supplies have been packed away ready for this Saturday. This print is rather small – one of the smallest ones i have done. There are 11 of them in the edition and can be found for sale on etsy or folksy at a very reasonable price. Please have a click and a look.

guest post…
…today we have a post from Cat Hayward. Since late last year, I have been screenprinting for other people. I test printed some of Cat’s designs for her late last year and in early January, we refined the process and now we have some results to share.
Back in 2009, I made some limited edition applique wristlet pouches bearing the design of Mr Squirrel, who urges people to squirrel away their possessions (photo above). I knew at the time that I wanted to offer some screenprinted versions, but I didn’t have the facilities to do screenprinting and my attempts with my old Gocco printer didn’t come out how I had hoped. I put the idea on the back burner for ages, but then my good friend Debbie here offered to collaborate with me. As readers of her blog will know, she’s a dab hand with a squeegee and so I knew I could trust her to do Mr Squirrel right (photo below).
Now, my Etsy shop Scatterbox Originals finally has a simpler, screenprinted version of the Squirrel Away pouch! Drawn by me, printed by Debbie and sewn by me. I’ve also been coming up with some other fun new designs, like the Sensible Survival Kit (photo below – a pouch for holding anything from first aid supplies to pencils to emergency chocolate stashes – everyone has something they need for day to day survival!) I’m hoping to add more designs over the coming weeks so please do take a peek.
Catherine 🙂

take a seat…

…sit down and i will put the kettle on. this is a cushion made from rescued printed fabrics and fabrics from the stash box in and amongst trying to draw. it was finished on Thursday but has taken me until now to photograph – ones i may redo depending on the weather. it is now on etsy for £20 (P+P extra). i think it is a way forward with the potential making of things but we shall see. i have the print table out today and so i may print some more bits to make up in to future cushions as the hand sewing element of it is very nice and relaxing – also means i can sit and watch Monk and have a semi-rest.

BIG NEWS…
…I am soon to be moving to Coventry to live with the Dr Mr. Some how along the way we found a house and everything went well with it all so in a way I think it is meant to be. I will miss my hometown of Huddersfield – to a point but adventure is out there.

2012 QUILT UPDATE…
…made some more hexagons last night but i am waiting for some more templates to be delivered. i think once i have done some more patterned, green plain and red plain hexagons – that i could start planning the pattern out to see how it may look and the size of it. Hoping to make it big enough for a double bed.

tooth…

…i am unsure what to type on this blog as with working for yourself you end up spending too much time thinking. thinking about what to do, what to draw, what people will think of what you are doing or drawing, thinking about if you are doing the right thing, thinking about getting a proper job and thinking about thinking. it can be a struggle and sometimes the only thing that helps ease the mass of thoughts, i find is doing something familiar or sticking out the new stuff. so in between the new stuff, is the old which are the large plush teeth. these are now online in the shops and i will be printing a few more to put in the to-do box before the design is washed off the screen and retired – maybe not forever but for a good long while.

moving about…

…the hedgehogs have only been around for a little while but to say they are only small, they are fair managing to get out and about – spotted and seen – found and rehomed. Above is a treasury on etsy made by Laura. Some have home within the UK and some have flown to Australia and Brazil. It is very nice to know that they are well liked. There are drawings in place that I hope to be able to sort out, finalise and print or make soon in the hope they will also be liked. I am already missing the day job which I know is a little silly to say but I do. I am doing my best to keep at it with the illustration work and for 2012 I have started keeping a ‘have done’ list as well as a ‘to-do’ list. It is a piece of advice I read in one of them ‘1001 Ways to Relax’ books – am finding it a very helpful task to complete. There are two new colours in the paint range and I am hoping to print from a newly exposed screen as soon as I can.

happy new year…

…to everyone. today i celebrated the start of 2012 with some printing at home with the table top equipment. quite a Lo-Fi DIY set-up but it does what i want it to do. i have had requests for large plush teeth that i used to do, so i hand painted part of a screen with that design and one of my lion logo – its seems to have become my logo as of late so am running with it. I also printed off some more rainclouds and drops before the screen gets washed. these designs were in retirement but are popular and it is handy to have projects in the to-do box when there is a dry imagination spell. The Dr Mr took some photos of me printing but the one once above is the best one from a rather bad batch. i am moving on to sewing this evening and then some further drawing with an eye on the telly.

light…

…whilst outside the other day, maybe it was Wednesday – i was trying to get some good photos in order to put some of my work online in the shops. i took a couple like this with the light splattering through.  i am no photographer but i try my hardest and with help from Cat – my photography skills are improving. as much as i moan about chasing natural light – it is a challenge and i like finding ways of how to improve my product shots. the one above though was not used but i wanted to share it. it was the best one out of four i took. the wind was wild and unfortunately the cloud was cropped right at the bottom of the screen/photo. if you pop over to my etsy shop – the grey raincloud can now be found online. today it is grey and wet – no photos to be had today.

quilt progress is going well – figured out that it is best to iron all fabric before folding round hexagons which i have done before in the past but never bothered to do until last nights ten hexagons. i was being lazy. this afternoon i am getting out the pencils and print equipment in the hope of getting some progress made on the to-do list. i have not really adjusted well to the self-employment routine. i blame christmas.

challenge…

…for the year ahead is to make a quilt. one made from hexagons in the traditional way of ‘piece-ing’ it together by hand sewing or something like that. i have started tacking the fabric round hexagon shapes – doing about five or ten of these a day. the fabric was bought with intentions of making Christmas bunting to sell as it was manic this winter at the markets, online and between friends and family with the bunting. i was unable to get the usual fabric i make bunting with and so ordered some new stuff which when it arrived i was unsure about so instead of sending it back i decided to use it some other way and so started the task on 26th December while watching a naff Arnie film. The aim is to make about 150 to 200 hexagons and plan the overall layout of the quilt from there – there will be progress reports no doubt.

today i am off to the Post Office to send another hedgehog on its way and to pick up a puzzle magazine – i have taken to doing the competitions during illustration break times. resting the drawing brain cells but working on the thinking cells – beats putting the telly on as an half hour break can turn in to two hours especially if there is a Midsomer or similar on. Other tasks to tackle today is an important project with the butterflies, a new card design, a new moleskine design, printing of some large plush teeth as per a request and some other bits and bobs of printing.

never…

…get the photo sizes right on this ‘ere blog! Little bit frustrating. Does anyone know how to find out how wide a log post is in pixels? this is a very nice colourful working out from some serious sketching that i have been doing these past few days. i have finally returned to full-time illustrating and left the day job. It will be hard without the pennies but something had to change and i was starting to feel quite unhappy. hopefully the chance to ‘wing it’ for a few weeks maybe months may be good fun. am going to enjoy it best i can and make the most of being free to draw/print every day.

Happy Christmas to everyone who has supported my work this year – thank you.

watching…

…always watching with them sneaky eyes are the foxes. my granma has a fox (maybe two) that come in to her garden nearly every night to eat the tasty treats that she leaves under the tree for them. She often feeds them more than she feeds herself. This goes for the birds and the three legged squirrel as well! I am forever being asked to pick up ‘so and so seed’ or ‘them packs of fat balls’ from the shops when i am in town. i saw the fox once while painting her kitchen walls near the window. best time to fox watch, as you are not expecting it. if you sit and fox watch – the fox will never turn up until you turn your back. in the photo are many fox badges that i made last week for the stock tub. i am trying to take a lot more photos of everything/anything in order to improve my photo taking ability. theyse badges can now be found in the online shops with the acorns, ice-creams and teeth (see sidebar for links).

do you remember…

…this bad boy? yep you say? well – he is on ebay with two other prints of mine and loads of other prints by other printmakers as part of a charity auction for West Yorkshire Print Workshop. This is the place where I often go printing and they are hoping to raise some much needed cash. Please take a look and place a bid if you can – you may get a bargain. Click on the purple link.

partner in crime…

…a little hog who looks after your pins while you are on one of them mad sewing frenzy missions. it is normally the case here but with everything! there is always a constant work of working going on but it gets harder and harder to keep up with what is going on. today i finished making up six hedgehogs – the prototype was made in March with the hope of screen printing my own brown fabric but nope, plus I had some fabric in the stash box to use. prototype stayed on the desk and has been in use as pin cushion ever since. he was not quite fat enough or stuffed enough so I adapted it yesterday evening and cracked the whip. there is now one in each of the online shops and the others will be taken the Elsecar Heritage Centre Fair. I remembered that there will be a brass band playing – please come and say hello to my table and be prepared with tissues as I may shed a musical tear. brass bands – marching bands get me every time.