Monday, 14 December 2015

Another beautiful mould!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Blue textile moth

After a productive year on Etsy, my shop will be going on the back burner for a month or three. My aim is to sell as much as possible before getting the mothballs out. Consequently, I have reduced all prices considerably.
Please check out my Winter sale, if you have any questions or want to reserve items, just get in touch :)

Please note my Xmas shipping deadlines :-  Canada and USA - 7th December / Europe - 12th December / UK - 15th December.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

New mouldy madness brooches

 Two new, small sized, multi-coloured mouldy madness brooches.

Sunday, 11 October 2015


Superb mould on natural yogurt. Yum!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Observer weekend magazine

Look out for my crochet mould in the Observer weekend magazine on Sunday 11th October. Hopefully pics will be up on their website a few days later :)

Saturday, 26 September 2015

I'm pleased to announce.....

Better late than never! After a trip to St Ives and some serious computer trouble, I'm at last able to pick a winner of my blog giveaway. Thank you to all who took part by leaving comments and those who contacted me privately : If you didn't win this time, don't worry, there will be another giveaway along soon. So, well done to Delia!!

On other winning matters, I'm pleased to say I'm going to be featured in the Observer Weekend Magazine shortly. I'll post more about this soon. Thanks again to everyone! :))

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Another great find!

I'm really pleased with this new vintage find. It's a Wade starfish pin/trinket dish, made in Ireland the 60's or 70's. It cost the princely sum of £3 from a charity shop on Llandielo high street in mid Wales :)

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Summer love

10% discount code at my Etsy shop for the next three weeks. Enter 'SUMMER15' at checkout!!

The crochet coral brooch above is my current blog giveaway. All those followers* who leave a comment in this or coming posts will be put into a hat mid-September. The lucky winner picked form the hat will receive this colourful brooch. 
* Blog, Flickr and Twitter

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

                                Quick peek at one of four nature studies I'm working on this week. 
                                                                     Thanks for looking :)

Monday, 20 July 2015

My Etsy shop is now updated. I'm happy to reserve items or make custom orders. Thank you for viewing!

The photo is a money plant which I had to clean a thick layer of dust off first and an old green hand towel draped behind.....I like to keep my costs down ;)

Monday, 13 July 2015

Ready to fly.

                                          Dark brown iridescent upholstery fabrics, linen, polyfibre filling, glass beads. brooch back.

I'm near to completing about 12 of these moths in various colours. I have yet to find a good way of making the antennae, button thread has the right thickness but even a touch of wax doesn't make them positionable.  I am going to try watered down pva and a couple of other things to see if I can make them perkier. Any suggestions for a fix would be much appreciated :)

                                           Hand painted linen, Joel Dewberry fabric, polyfibre filling, glass beads. brooch back.

I've reached a point where I'm starting to use fabric paint and adding more hand-stitching, the urge to embellish is overwhelming! This means I have to take a different tack from now on. I have just purchased some long entomology pins, the next batch of moths will be more elaborate but constructed specifically for wall display. I'll work to a standard Ikea box frame size which will hold two of these small moths or one larger. It means, I don't have to hold back when it comes to the details.

                                      Vintage Laura Ashley fabric, Joel Dewberry fabric, polyfibre filling, glass beads. brooch back.
All the 12 completed moths will be available to purchase next week in my Etsy shop on Monday 20th at 2pm. They will be listed at a special price in order to encourage their successful flight.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

More moths

The white moth represents the basic pattern I have devised. I wanted to make a really simple pattern, so have whittled it down to seven pieces (the two eyes and one thread for the antennae are included). The aim was to dispense with areas which would be far too time consuming i.e the legs, leaving me with the freedom to play with fabrics and stitching to create a play of colour, contrast and texture.

The mousy brown moth is the first go at making a finished moth. I am not overly keen on machine edging in general, not sure why, but as I am creating more moths I can vary the colour and add small hand-stitched accents that liven up the flat edges. The aim is to keep it simple, so I have to make sure the urge to embellish doesn't take over. I have a large moth pattern (with legs!) in development, where, in the future I can go crazy on the details.

The brown moth presents an interesting dillema in the creative thought process. One of the wonderful things about moths here in the UK is their modest plumage. We have many hundreds of 'little brown moths', it's not until you zoom in on them the amazing variations become apparent. Just making brown moths would suit me, but I'm lucky enough to have a large stash of upholstery fabric samples. This stash has been part of the inspiration for producing the pattern in the first place, I also have to justify hanging onto all this fabric!. So, I'm trying to do both, subtle moths and moths with eye-catching colour combinations. More pictures to follow soon....

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Cloth Moth

Working on prototypes this past week, developing a simple pattern for a fabric moth. This one has a wingspan of 11cms and body of 5.5cms in length and I think, it's about as small as I'm prepared to go. 

By far the hardest task is turning the body right side out after sewing from the back. I left what I thought was quite a large aperture at the side to keep the shape of the point at the tail and blip for the head, but still it was tricky. What the photo doesn't show is the gash left by the scissors on the underside. I know it's madness to use pointy scissors to push the fabric through, but I often fail to listen to that inner voice. Thankfully, it wasn't a finished piece :)

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

A plant out of place.

Above are a few of the errant plants growing along the pavements in my road.  It is incredible how interesting the pavements are at the moment, with such a diversity of plant and leaf types. A short spell of fecundity before the council sprays the whole place with weedkiller. I also discovered the 'June gap' which beekeepers talk about in relation to a worrying lack of nectar for the bees. The result is the verdant greenness of plants especially those classified as weeds, being much more noticeable as there is a lull between Spring and Summer blooming.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Nocturne #5

Nocturne #5
Indian and Acrylic ink on Paper
11.5 x 15cms

Friday, 12 June 2015

More drawing

It's always a relief to dispense with naturalism. My mind's focus falls repeatedly on the principle elements of abstract drawing :- line, contrast, spatial relations, tone etc. that is where my interest really lies, puzzling it out, playing. There are certain advantages to allowing drawing to become more stylised, despite the consequent problems of neatness and designs that can become over-worked and overly detailed. Using a botanical theme lends itself to playing with improvised forms which can exist purely to look peculiar rather than pretty. Luckily there is plenty in nature that fits that category.

The best way of countering this static quality is by keeping the composition dynamic. What works for larger, gestural drawings, serves also for smaller intense works - introducing strong elements that expressly refer to the edges of the white paper, which then require careful negotiation. A bold initial move also seems to thwart any reluctance in approaching the snowy wasteland of the paper.

As someone who loves drawing, I found this a fascinating watch!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Drawing mini-projects

I'm loving the process of ink drawing. I am a bit rusty but there is definitely muscle memory in my favour. It is all coming back to me, especially how if I'm trying to improvise it all goes off in so many directions....My thinking is to try and focus on three or four of the directions that 'come naturally' and make them into mini projects. As illustrated above, one of those projects will be plant based designs that nod to European ceramics and bold fabrics. 

I also remembered how vital it is to have a plentiful supply of paper. There is nothing worse than feeling you have to conserve one's paper. The tendency is to get neater as the session progresses, so having the freedom to use unrestricted amounts of paper keeps the gestures loose and direct. This is a difficult issue, as often you can produce the best work on your worst quality paper, in a moment of genuine flow. If funds allow, good archive quality paper should be the norm. I recommend Fabriano Jumbo Watercolour Paper Blocks as they have a healthy 75 sheets per block.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Day 1 - Just playing.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Work in progress

I have finally bought myself a new bottle of Sennelier 'Encre de chine a la pagode', the best black ink you can find. I've dug out my old brushes to start ink drawing again. This is a snapshot of my drawing table, after I've tidied up! You should have seen it before. Don't let the plastic boxes fool you I'm organised, it is usually chaotic at best. I will be posting the results of my improvised drawings as they come along.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Dear Etsy

You know the bit in films where the last carriage of the train uncouples and grinds to a halt while the rest of the train rushes towards the horizon? Well, I feel exactly like that carriage. Etsy has changed to a point where I just do not get it anymore.

Am I getting old? Is this just like some old buffer (see what I did there) who can't use an apple watch? I know these things take time to get the hang of but I no longer see myself bothering even to try to be on that train.

In the past the public forums were the source of information. Folks that are way more intelligent and committed than me would wade through all the posts, Etsy blogs and team posts; to work out SEO, relevancy and how to react effectively to changes on the site. Sometime a few months ago, Etsy became impossible to work out! Maybe it's because there aren't so many of those clever people around and the few old-timers (or should I say kool-aid drinkers) who are, repeatedly put it all on the sellers shoulders. It's you're own fault if you don't get it or it's not working for you. " You're SEO could use some work" is the only solution. Nobody has the big picture anymore.

I am a member of an SEO team. There is a current thread about recent search and statistics news, over 850 posts plus numerous links to google search news with in those posts. Ugh!

That is my real disappointment with Etsy, if you read up in the sellers handbook about all the multitude of things you need to do to stay relevant, given the context of huge levels of competition for relevancy. No sane person would sign up for a lifetime of slavery to the Etsy task. Well, unless of course you have a main- stream product manufactured by someone else and have 500+ listings on auto-renew. For someone who has a small shop with a few monthly rather than daily sales, the competition is pretty much over.

For me, what used to be the hardest things to do, like getting a gallery interested, exhibiting, getting into  magazines and blogs, driving traffic to my own website etc. are now looking easy-peasy in comparison.

As an artist, with very niche items, I'm starting to throw my seed on more fertile ground. :)

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A bit of Thich

Here is a lovely picture sent to me by Tara, which includes one of my Petri dishes. Along with Tara, I love to compose objects, textures and organic elements into inspirational groups like this one. Tara's includes a sublime quote from Thich Nhat Hanh.

It reminded me of the first time I discovered the writings of this wonderful teacher. Well, discovered is probably the wrong word, the intention was clear to direct people to profound teaching. I was working in the kitchen of Gaia House many moons ago on silent retreat. Everyone on retreat is given daily work duties and washing up was one of these vital chores. The quote below was pinned up in the kitchen. I remember trying super hard to be in the moment, just the sheer effort propelled me the opposite direction! 10/10 for intention about 2/10 for relaxed awareness.

“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not "washing the dishes to wash the dishes." What's more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can't wash the dishes, the chances are we won't be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future -and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”

Thich Nhat Hanh ―The Miracle of Mindfulness

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Spring newsletter out soon!

My Spring newsletter is out next week.  

There will be a discount code for subscribers. If you haven't subscribed yet and would like to, contact me here at my website, giving me the email address you would like it sent to :))

Friday, 10 April 2015

Last four Petri dishes in this series

At last, completed the final four Petri dishes that have been in the pipeline for a couple of months. The bottom right paler one (my favourite!) is winging it's way to America today.

Thank goodness for the onset of spring, my energy levels actually start to reach normal. Like most bears, I'm a natural hibernator.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Natural History Museum Visit

When I visit London I always try to go to the mineral hall at the Natural History Museum. It is truly fascinating. Not just the exhibits but the way they are displayed, as if trapped in time in the 1960's. I dread the day the displays themselves are updated. The other good thing about it is, there are never more than half a dozen people in there (why?) So, if you need to think, write or meditate it's actually pretty much guaranteed to be quiet. Occasionally, you get the odd person who doesn't look at anything but flies through taking photos, seems a very odd way of enjoying the exhibits....later, on a screen. Hello! They are right there in front of you!!