i went to Gran Canaria for a week with my family and it was lovely! It was so hot. We stayed in a proper hotel and we didn’t have to cook or clean. Amazing! The best thing though is that it has helped me to shift my focus away from having to work all the time and inspired me to look after myself a bit more.
Since I have been back home I have been making time to go surfing. It feels so good to be back in the water and I feel my strength and confidence growing.
Tabitha is also at school now (she’s enjoying it!) and I am discovering all this time to get on and do things. I feel like I am a bit more in control of what I want to do. It feels pretty amazing! I’m busy, but also pretty chilled with it. I hope that feeling lasts!
I had a lovely afternoon at Sennen, taking pictures of my new enamel mugs. I’m a little bit in with love them!
I’ve been pretty busy! I love experimenting and trying new things though and so I’ve been having a great time.
This tea towel took about an hour to do and although it was fun, I don’t think I will be using this technique for tea-towels again. There is no way I could price them competively when it takes so long. You live and learn though and energy is never wasted.
The next image is a glittered Rose lino cut. It looks gorgeous in real life!
I screen printed this image onto paper for the first time. I have put it on plenty of t-shirts, but I was really pleased with how this turned out - especially with the sparkle.
My hare lino print has really surprised me by being so popular! My love of lino printing has also surprised me and now I am planning on preparing a collection to display at Morvah gallery next year! It’s really exciting to have something to work towards.
I love getting commissions, especially when I have a good connection with the project. This particular project began with a customer at Sennen Market who asked if I could illustrate something for her yoga studio and gave me a sketch of a lady in a bending tree pose for inspiration. I love yoga and the name ‘wild Willow yoga’ and I felt that this would be an exciting thing to work on.
The first thing I did was research yoga studios in the same area to get an idea of the competition. I then researched Willow trees to see if there was a particular animal/insect/flower that was associated and that I could include inthe image.
I found that owls and foxes were associated with a willow trees eco system. They seemed particularly appropriate as an owl is often associated with wisdom and a fox is associated with cunning and adaptability. These creatures also helped to illustrate the wild element in the studio’s name.
I submitted the above images and waited for feedback. I was then guided to change the clothes, make the creatures less dominant and make the whole thing more magical.
The above clothes were considered to be too ordinary and I was asked to put her in a dress. My concern was that this would lose the leg positioning of the yoga pose, but the fantasy element was considered more important by the client. I was sent a few inspiration images to guide me and this led to me including the mountains in the background.
The final image has room for the client to add her own text, which she then can update as needed for different events. It is also saved in layers so there is the potential for the colours to be changed to coincide with the seasons and/or to have different elements added.
It was a great commission to work on and I love the way that the client directed this to get a really magical piece.
If you have a project that you think I would be great for then please get in touch!
It has been a bit of a strange week. Life has felt really busy and a little stressful and I finally feel that things are calming down a little. Tabitha started school last week and I was pretty worried about big struggles and lots of tears. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. She skipped into school, excited, and gave her new teacher a big hug. When I nervously went to pick her up at 3.10, I wasn’t sure what to expect. She was a little tearful and she looked a bit upset, but I remained calm and sat down until she was ready to tell me what was on her mind. What she finally told me was a big surprise - she didn’t want to come home!
I was not prepared for that, but I was really happy and relieved. It’s still early days and of course there will be good ones and bad ones, but hey, this was a good start.
Whilst preparing Tabitha for school we have also been preparing our house for a Home exchange. It’s been pretty nuts as me and my husband are both pretty busy anyway, let alone having to majorly sort out the house. It’s been good though. Our house looks much better and it will be much nicer over the winter.
At the moment we are doing a non simultaneous swap with a lady and her mother from Denmark. This means that we are not in Denmark, but actually only over the road in the barn where my husband makes his chocolate.
It also means that we get kind of a ‘free pass’ to stay in someone else’s home in the future at a mutually agreeable time. This is a good thing! The world becomes much more accessible this way as it’s a much cheaper way to travel.
I still managed to get some art done while at the barn and I’m excited about the new possibilities that are opening up. I will have more time and energy to get on with art projects and I hope that things will all click into place.
In the meantime I think I will just breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to being back in my own home.
First experiments using a sponge brush to put some speedball ink down! I've ordered a sponge roller which I think will work better, but my goal is to print on textiles so I really need an ink/paint that is colourfast and also really bright! I need to tweak my lino cuts slightly, but I'm pretty happy with the initial results!
I then tried with some turquoise Pebeo setacolour fabric paint and applied it by dabbing it on with a sponge. The effect was a little mottled, but it was pretty good coverage. I used a t-shirt underneath instead of a sponge mat.
I'm still not sure about my Lino cuts.... I need to tweak them a little. I want them to all work together as a pattern, so I think that I am just going to have to play and see what works well together. I will just use some normal ink next, so that I can work out placement, as the fabric paint comes in a really tiny bottle and I don't want to use it all up!
I experimented with some distress inks which was fun and mainly to refine the print. I had the brainwave of importing the image into Procreate so I could play with image without making irreversible cuts!
i also tried importing all my lino cuts into Procreate so that I could get a feel for how they might work as a pattern. I felt that I needed to simplify and so I started to cut away more lino to get bolder designs. I’ve been inspired by looking at Pinterest and immersing myself in lino prints and the aesthetics of the medium.
The use of two colours particularly appealed to me and so I had to give that a go. I traced the outline of the unicorn and then created another linocut by cutting away the opposite space. For example, you can see how the unicorn has been dug out in the first image, but the second image has everything else removed.
i was a lot happier with the second image of the unicorn and I thought that this would create a better motif for a pattern. I modified my rose image so that it was more graphic and then decided to print onto a tea towel using the Pebeo Setacolour fabric paint. I applied the paint using a sponge brush as my roller still hadn’t turned up and I couldn’t wait any longer!
I laid my lino cuts on the fabric to get an idea of how many would fit and then quickly decided on an alternating pattern. I placed another tea towel underneath so that there was a little ‘give’ and pressed the lino down with a hard roller. The effect was really satisfying and I didn’t need to use much ink either to do what I wanted.
Well! I am waiting for some different inks to arrive. One for fabric and one for paper. I have some cute little eco notebooks that I want to print on and I am excited to give that a try.
In the meantime I will heat set the tea towel and give it to myself as a little present so that I can also see how it performs as a tea towel and how well it washes.
I have some more pieces of lino that I haven’t used yet and so I will consider what to put on them.
Anyway, it feels like a productive week and I am definitely a lino enthusiast! I love having the control over printing my work. It’s a very different beast to screen printing even though some of the results can be very similar. I’m not sure I could handle carving up an a4 sized piece of lino, but then again.....it could be fun!
Hope that some of this is helpful! There is also an amazing lino group on Facebook called linocut friends which is searchable and so you can search for words like ‘paper’ and ‘ink’ to find out a wealth of information.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have tried lino cutting and you have any tips!
How are you doing? Hope that life is treating you kindly at the moment.
I have been feeling up and down - there seems to be so much going on! There is something about seasonal shifts that make me want to clean and tidy. I have been doing a lot of sorting and letting go of things that I don't use any more - even though it's been hard to say goodbye.
I gave away my big shot die cutter as I am no longer making my glitter cards and I sold my sewing machine as I wasn't using it. This has freed up some space to store my screen printing stuff and also tidy some of Tabitha's books.
It feels good to get organised - but I am still dreaming of a larger space. I'm actually going to look at a house for sale tomorrow!
This mug was created for Tabitha as she loves all things batty and buggy! It also seems perfect for this time of year and I can imagine using it around a campfire telling ghost stories. Tabitha makes a pretty good art director and I simply love being able to make special things for her.
I personally have been loving my fox design and have got it on some notebooks now as well as on a screen print.
I have only had time to do a couple of t-shirts so far, but I have been loving experimenting with mixing up different coloured inks directly onto the screen. It's really exciting to see the different effects each time. I can't wait to try different colours and play some more!
I'm excited about developing some new products too and have ordered some new supplies! Looks like I better get a bigger space soon!
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts of the moment. Sending lots of love and magic your way!
My garden is located in the extreme SW of England and subject to high salty winds and marauding snails. Gardening in Cornwall can be a bit of an extreme sport and its similarities with trying to establish an art business didn't escape me. Getting things to grow is a little complicated, just like making a career out of art.
To begin with you need to to establish your space, prepare your soil and decide what you are going to grow. A certain amount of realism is helpful here! My garden is too small for the massive blooms of hydrangeas or fruit trees etc. and so it would be inappropriate to plant them. You need to have an idea about what you want to create - you might not know how it's going to work out, but you have a vision. If you have a small space like me then you have to get creative about being creative.
I work mainly on my iPad which is pretty brilliant in terms of saving space, but I sell actual physical products at markets, so I also have to store all of it somewhere (mainly in Tabitha's room and in pretty Sass and Belle bags).
Another issue with space is that it limits the amount of stock I can order at one time which means that I cannot take advantage of bulk ordering and price discounts. I have to keep things small and manageable. This however is my situation and everyone will have their own entirely unique set of challenges.
My limited space has worked out fine so far as it has kerbed my impulse (a little) of creating lots of products before knowing what will sell. It's good to test things out first. See what grows well and plant more of that. It won't be long though till I need a bigger pot as I'm starting to outgrow mine.
If a garden only had one type of plant or flower however it might look a bit boring and it also might be subject to dying or being eaten by bugs all at once, leaving you with a bit of a sorry mess. Successful gardens have a good variety of plants, with some plants helping to shelter others, generate the right type of bugs, shield from the wind etc. Diversity is not just pretty, but necessary. I'm thinking permaculture here!
The same is important with an art business if you want it to be successful. Think about all the different art markets and products! Sometimes the choice can be overwhelming. I think that intuition helps a lot and I tend to choose what feels right in the moment.
I planted an olive tree in my front garden when I first moved in and it's really in the 'wrong' place, but it's thriving! Sometimes it's worth taking a chance and doing things that you are not supposed to do.
Getting some new tools!
When I got my iPad I was really liberated in terms of what I could do and when I could do it. You wouldn't dig in the soil with bare hands only on the full moon and hope for the best hey? The result of this for me was that all of a sudden I was able to do lots more and fit it around my daughter. I had a huge time of experimentation. Some things worked and some things didn't, but I worked every day and pushed forwards.
Art and gardening involves a lot of 'wait and see' and faith. When you plant seeds you don't see results immediately - you have to water the spot and wait for some shoots. You have to be gentle! You don't berate seeds for not growing fast enough.
The same applies to your work - you can't give up on it because it doesn't go viral and you don't make much money. While you are waiting for everything to grow you can plant more (depending on the season you are in), do some weeding or pruning. Sometimes you do need to cut back in order for things to grow and be manageable.
I feel as though I could carry on with this analogy for some time, but I'm aware that this might turn into a crazy long blog post! For some reason though I'm finding it quite helpful to think along these lines. Creativity is an organic process and it's something that has a wild nature of its own. If you want a garden though, as opposed to an overgrown mess you need to do some work to create a space for yourself that you truly love.
I hope this might be a useful way of thing for you too! I'd love to hear from you and continue the discussion.
Thank you for reading!
I have entered this image for the 2017 Bridgeman Studio award. The theme was 'dark Summer' and they had a Pinterest board for inspiration, which was pretty amazing. It was a bit weird designing a book cover with no idea of the story, but it was also freeing as i could pretty much do what I wanted.
The prize is a commission to do the book cover for real which would be fabulous! Imagine seeing your design on books lined up in a shop. I would go around taking selfies everywhere I found them! 😂
Here is the link to the competition details: https://www.bsa2017.com/
Wish me luck!