Monday, 29 August 2016

All about blogging

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Gosh, dear reader.



The start of a new week and it's a rhetorical question rather than a fluffy 'here is what I've been working on'.

And I have asked it before, but i think it's a question worth asking again. Why spend time,  in my case usually early in the morning over that first cup of coffee before the dogs are awake, composing a blog post for you to (hopefully) read and enjoy?

So why do I do it?

To keep me working - without a doubt my blog has spurred me on to keep making art. In the early days in particular, when I had not started showing any work and with a fairly full on day job, without you, dear reader, the art would have ground to a halt. I used to feel a pang of guilt ( bonkers I know) if I did not have something to share.

To learn new techniques - linked to the above really. "I need to write about something new. I can try this and share the outcome on my blog". Some of the techniques have not made it much past the blog post. Others I have incorporated into my work more frequently. Now, I guess, it's not so much about new techniques as new materials and new work I produce and of course all those inspirational days out in between. But there are also all those other techniques that you have to learn when posting a blog - writing, taking half way decent photographs (still got some way to go on this) working out how to make a nice looking blog etc. I hope I have improved with all of these over time. 

To get feedback - fiddle faddling about on my own in my own little studio, sometimes it's good to get feedback from fellow artists. I do love it when you leave me a comment, dear reader. "Yes, I like that!" - Spurs you on when it would be so easy to slump in front of the television instead.

To satisfy my ego - ok, let's cut to the chase here! Confession time. I get a real buzz when I look at my stats and see how many page hits I have had. Recently, I had some amazing spikes in readership. Ok, let's be honest, they did not last but I have to say that knowing that people in other countries stop by and have a little gander at my words of wisdom ( ahem) does feel rather good! Is that bad of me?

To make friends - Kim, Sheila, Chris, Alison, Mrs Bertimus, you are all people I know I could stop and chat with over a coffee and a custard cream. If it had not been for this lovely wonderful thing called The Internet and the opportunity to self publish all these little fripperies would we have met? I somehow doubt it.

To build my name now I'm an emerging artist - ok, another 'let's cut to the chase' moment. Recently, I was picked up by a small gallery and have had some success selling my work there. And they described me on their blurb as an emerging artist. And I do now sell work. Who would have thought it? But people like what I do, are prepared to part with hard earned pennies and put my work in their homes. Heart skips a little beat. So, if I am to keep that momentum going I need to create a bit of a noise. Though of course here, I still hide behind a slightly anonymous blog title. Whoops!

Because I enjoy it - I really do. It's not a chore. I really enjoy tippity tapping away on my laptop or silently on my iPad. It must be a bit like the pleasure of keeping a diary, which I never have, to be able to look back at what I have written in the past - "Gosh, was it really three years since I did that?" - some posts I remember so clearly. Others I have completely forgotten about.

So- there we have it. A little bit of self analysis. 

Normal service will be resumed! 

Monday, 22 August 2016

j u n k a h o l i q u e: vintage caravan renovation project

I just had to share this with you.

This lady, Artemis Russell, is a lesson in how to produce a successful blog.

She lives on the Isle of Wight with her little family and runs a jewellery business with her hubby.

The jewellery is traditional - exquisite and very english.

And she blogs about life and vintage and collecting and the seasons and her camper van etc. They have lovely little mini breaks. They never travel far - well if you live on the isle of Wight you don't really have to.

And recently they invested in a Vintage Caravan. And, well, I am so tempted! But in all honesty when would I have time to use it and when would I have time to renovate it!



In the meantime, pop over to her blog here to read all about the caravan project.

j u n k a h o l i q u e: vintage caravan renovation project (part 2) completion!

And have a little peruse around their shop while you are at it too.

Oh, and she is an avid Instagramer if you want a bit of eye candy.


Friday, 19 August 2016

Inky powders

I love Brusho powders.

I love the way that they can be turned into ink, can colour other media but best of all the way that they can be used dry and then spritzed with water.

I am using them just now in the Transfusions project I am working on.

But you may also know that I love Paper Artsy paints.

And now, just to tempt me, Paper Artsy have introduced an Ink Powder range - Infusions.

Oh - the temptation!

And I have not yet succumbed (how strong willed is that?) but I did find this little video which I thought to share with you. Some really useful stuff here on how to use these powders.



I the video link does not work from this post you can pop over to Youtube and find it here. The Blogger is Scrapcosy - I don't know anything about her. Sorry. 

But let me know if you use these powders and how.

Meanwhile, I am wrestling with how to fix Brusho. I don't want to paint on a fixative - that will loose the random effect I get from using a spritz of water. I think I will have to find a fixative spray. Again, if anyone has any tips do leave me a comment. 

Thanks, and hope you enjoy the video. 



Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Dog sitting distractions

Dear reader you will know that my blog posts sometimes get photo bombed by my four legged friends. 

These last few weeks have been a particular distraction. 

Let me introduce Brandy - on the right in this photo sharing a post walk moment with my elderly gentleman Gazza. 


Brandy has come to stay, and we are all hoping the arrangement will be permanent. 


We've been settling down and getting to know each other. So far it has been going well and even grumpy Gazza has taken to her in his own way.  And you can see from the photo above that she loves a good art book! 

And then Pigeon the Whippet came to stay. 


And there was doggy wrestling on the bed! Of course I don't approve!! 


And practising our social skills (sharing a moment here at Rob and Andy's Barbecue with the lovely Sandi) 


And we have been going to doggy school. 

And if you follow me on Instagram then you will know that we have been having a few adventures.

So that explains why things have been a bit erratic both in the studio and here on the blog. 








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Sunday, 14 August 2016

Summer barbecue

Because we all need a break from the studio ( and indeed the office and the day job!) 

And it's a fab way to relax with friends. 

I had a call from my darling boys. Hills, they said, get yourself down here for the weekend because we are firing up the barbecue. 

And if course, being Rob and Andy, the salads were a work of art in them selves. 


Those are home grown beetroot. Not the vivid red variety but a subtler pink version and sweet, sweet, sweet. And the salad was sliced oranges, sliced beetroot and walnuts glazes with honey. 

Oh my days!!! 

And the garden looked magnificent. 

The geranium above I think came from a cutting but is now a huge beast and fills a large pot. Rob has a green house and has more success at overwintering these things than I do. I lost all of mine last winter - poor plant husbandry! 

And the borders are choc with flowers from seed that came from a collection called the Venetian Collection. This photo does not do them justice! And I was too busy eating to take many photos. 


And this beast was dominating the patio.


Meanwhile, back in the studio and just to prove some creative stuff is going on, a new set of handmade stamp blocks for a new project, "Transformation".



Wednesday, 27 July 2016

If in doubt - shop (part 2)

Well, did you rush out and buy Textile Nature yet?

I promised you part 2, and here it is. 

(If you've just stumbled across this blog you're probably wondering what I'm talking about. You migh want to pop back one blog post to Part 1) 

So, dear reader, my other bookish investment is Making Art From Maps by Jill K Berry. 


In all honesty I'm not quite sure how I found out about this book. I thing I was meandering round the blogosphere when I tripped over a reference to it.

But what a great trip. What a fabulous book! 

Bit of background. 

Last year my father died and I helped my Mum do a bit of clearing out. We found a box of maps in the loft. A few vintage, but mostly just out of date. But I've always loved maps, and never one to miss a mixed media gift horse ( think there's a metaphor lurking in there somewhere) snatched it up. 

I've had a bit of a play but nothing too serious to date. 

But I'm planning some work for an exhibition later in the year entitled "Transformation". And the whole idea of reusing, recycling and changing landscapes got me thinking. I have done a few sketches using the maps ( and, by the way, the paper is lovely to work with. It takes wet media nicely and stitches well. I guess maps are designed to withstand folding and unfolding) but need to get somet more substantial work made. 

So when I found this book it was definitely one for the library.

This book is divided into 6 chapters. Each chapter focuses on a 'use for the maps' - Decor; Books, Journals and Boxes; Fashion; Collage and Illustration; Sculpture and Installations; Interiors and Lighting; - with an initial chapter discussing techniques and materials and tools.





The book is peppered with art by other makers and artists.




And I loved the fact that one of the first artists features is John Dilnot - a lovely chap. Now I have met John very briefly a couple of times but my lovely friends Rob and Andy have some John Dilnot work in their home (which reminds me - they have finished their renovation and now live in a gallery. I must post a tour for you some time).


And I love these 3 dimensional pieces by Deedee Hampton . They are based on Pajakis - Polish paper chandeliers used as decoration at Christmas.



If you are tempted I found this book on Amazon (yes - I know!! Please forgive) but it is published by Rockport Publishers . The author is Jill K Berry - not an artist previously known to me but someone I need to explore further. 

Sunday, 24 July 2016

If in doubt - shop (part 1)

Dear reader did you think I had abandoned you?

So very sorry - a few technical hitches and life curve balls have rather scuppered the flow of creative witticisms I post here. Nothing major (though I have had a couple of those this year) just little niggles that eat into time. 

And a technical hitch with the camera! I do post pics taken with my electronic gizmos but nothing beats a proper pic taken with a proper camera don't you think? 

But I have been shopping! 

Nothing too extravagant - instead a couple of books. 

And I thought I should share them with you just in case you want to indulge. 


What can I say? Everything about this book screams class and quality (actually I think that's true of everything they produce. Even the cover is printed on fabric). 

I met Anne Kelly at her open studio in June. What a lovely lady she is. And that is reflected in the book.

The content is divided into 5 Chapters:




  • Drawing From Nature - getting you close with the natural world and suggesting how to organise your resources (Nature table anyone?) 


  • Planting in Cloth - exploring the endless possibilities for print, stitch and dye with flora imagery


  • Taking flight - bird and insect motifs and how to incorporate them in your work


  • Working with green Spaces - exploring your environment, artists residencies in gardens and expanding beyond your locality


  • Nature in Context - symbols from nature and exploring further ideas. Also some ideas for working when travelling. 

As well as Anne's own work, the book is liberally peppered with exquisite work from other artists.



And the photographs are stunning.





Definitely a worthwhile investment I suggest.







Right - I'll call a halt there. Pop back for part 2 of my recent shopping extravaganza in a couple of days. 


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