Monday, 30 January 2012

summer trend teaser

Today the biggest boy and I have been trying to plan our product offering for the WHOLE year. It's been exciting but a little bit daunting. We have made some decisions though. As a teaser I thought I'd let you in on some colour and theme ideas for the summer:

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Less than 10 miles from me

A lot of people were very worried when we moved to the relative sticks of rural Bedfordshire. We heard comments like "won't you be isolated", and "what is there to DO there". The answer to which is "no" and "lots".  Recently in Bedford there has been a growing number of super cool shops opening, which are truly unique and far more interesting than the offering I've seen in bigger towns. So today I want to highlight a shop less than 10miles from me that makes the most amazing things from previously loved suitcases and bags and other found objects.

May I introduce the work of uoldbag

Beautiful, unique and very cool!

Saturday, 28 January 2012


My online marketing course homework has been focusing on trends and how to incorporate them into my own work.  One that stood out was the concept of mixing pastels and neon colours together. I've put together a treasury on Etsy as a mood board but here are some additional inspirational pictures:

This gorgeous cushion is from Little Joobie Boo. I just love the colour mix.

 This felt circle garland from Jelly Bean Studio is scrummy!

This stunning headband is from the very talented Janine Basil

Hope this gets you inspired - if nothing else its cheery on a grey day!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Map update

This is the cut template for the shipping forecast mythical map. Apart from the fact that it is going to take forever to cut I'm really pleased with how the elements works together. I've split the Norse saga elements so that they speak to each other, and help tell the story of the piece. So the excerpts round the whale represent whale song and the strong winds coming in from the west.  The boat is surging forward on the instructions and reassurances of its captain, the men's prayers for protection are floating heavenward from the boat etc.

I've used a snippet from the shipping forecast to create the whirlpool sometimes associated with the Kraken. It is describing strong winds that could escalate to storm 10. If I'm correct that is as bad as it gets!

For the eagle eyed you will notice I've concentrated on the expanse of sea between Norway, Iceland and the Shetlands. My sister often sees whales around Fair Isle so I decided to include them especially because of their singing. The Viking ship is unsurprisingly in the shipping forecast area Viking!

I wanted to capture the threat of the sea and the Kraken lurking in the expanse of water between Iceland and Norway seemed to represent this well.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

photography day

Whilst the sun briefly shone today I tried to get some shots of my field series in frames. My efforts to juggle looking after the boys, swap pictures between frames and take photos in the 30seconds the sun actually was shining before it disappeared behind a cloud again were somewhat comic. BUT I was amazed at the difference a frame can make. See for yourself. And of course if you are looking for gorgeous papercuts to adorn your walls, these original one off pieces are available for purchase in my ETSY shop!;)


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Fair Isle

I've had little opportunity to work on my map today but have had plenty of time to think about it.

I have been fascinated with the idea of viking sagas, songs of the sea and tales of monsters in the deep dark waters of the North.  For the past couple of days I have been trying to manipulate wind charts to create wave like patterns, alluding to both the waves of the sea and musical notes. Sadly the results aren't what I had hope for.

However several blogs have encouraged me to persevere with the song theme even though one of them has very little to do with art!

Please do take a look at these two blogs. One is written by my very dear brother in law who is Warden of Fair Isle Bird Observatory . David manages to capture a huge range of photos that describe some of the magic and wildness there is to this tiny island. 

The other is written by Tommy - a resident artist on Fair Isle We enjoyed a very memorable game of golf with Tommy last summer and loved his perspective on the island.

For such a tiny island there is a wealth of history, stories, creativity and beautiful music.

This is one of the photos David posted in his blog. When its not foggy I believe amazing views like this are very common on Fair Isle!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

hint at things to come

Well the shipping forecast piece is progressing but not quite ready for its public view yet. So instead of pictures I will give you a little hint:

Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties

Southerly or southeasterly 5 to 7, increasing gale 8 or severe gale 9, occasionally storm 10 later in Viking. Mainly rough, becoming very rough or high later. Rain. Moderate or good

Monday, 23 January 2012

more musings on the shipping forecast and my map

Tomorrow I am hoping to have a full day to work on creating! In preparation for this I am going to employ a method a housemate from university adopted on an annoyingly frequent basis. It goes something like this:

Decide on topic for piece of work. Look at some books/pictures etc on this topic. Fall asleep. Wake up refreshed the next morning and create a blinding piece of work! Here's hoping!!

So as a start here are some more results from the "look at book/picture stage":

This woodcut print by Jono Sandilands really captures my thoughts about Vikings. What's more Jono is based in Lerwick (a relative stone's throw from my sister in Fair Isle which is featured in the shipping forecast!). I love the dark brooding nature, and the way the viking ship is fearless in treacherous seas.

This beautiful wallet from Dark Ages Leather reminds me of sea monsters and the carved figureheads of Viking longships.

Speaking of sea monsters this Kraken cuff from Jezebel Charms features a dreaded monster that is rumoured to live off the coast of Norway and Iceland. I love the mix of fascination and fear!

Something about this piece of pottery from Scottish Beach Finds reminded me of old maps, sea charts and far away places.

This amazing piece by Crumpet Time Comics really evokes the perilous nature of the sea and the fear that we all have of something lurking out there in the deep.

I lived in Finland for a year so this jumped out but I love the idea of music involved with the sea - seems very appropriate with the poetry of the Shipping Forecast. Even more appropriate when I find out that Rima the artist was inspired after listening to a programme on Radio 4! Follow the link to find out more..

Well now to bed and to dream dreams of Vikings, songs of the sea and the wild North...

Sunday, 22 January 2012

creative maps

I have lots of ideas whirling around my head at the moment which I hope are going to crystalise into some clear designs. I keep thinking about the shipping forecast and how I used to imagine the places mentioned visually. Often my imaginings bore little resemblance to the reality of the places. This got me thinking about creative and perhaps fantastical maps.  Here are the results of my own mystery tour of the creative internet this afternoon.

This tree map of pubs in North London is one of a series of fantastic creative maps from Liam Roberts. I have very fond memories of Upper Street and Islington in general and thought this was a truly brilliant idea.
My kind of geography - everyone knows there are sea monsters living off the coast of south america - here's the map to prove it! I love this animal world map from stitchink
                   I love the way Kate Gilman Brundrett has depicted place names in this poster.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Introducing the Utterly Fabulous Buttersctoch Beesting

Part of my online marketing course is about working out my unique you factor. What makes me special. I am currently struggling with this one but I have come across a shop that I could rave about all day and all night for a very long time. I must confess I have yet to make a purchase from this fabulous emporium but rest assured my nieces and nephews will all be receiving items from this emporium this year. And now without further ado I give you some truly tantalising feasts for the eyes (and mouth) from this wonderful shop Butterscotch Beesting

Friday, 20 January 2012

Typography update

 You may remember that I was working on a piece for a friend about to have her third child. Well the baby hasn't arrived yet but I've finished the piece!

This Bird Print - Imitation Quote from Rebecca Kemp inspired the colour scheme for the piece below

Hope you like it

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Kingfisher Card

After a happy hour or so of copying, cutting and sticking my dad's card is done.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A flash of inspiration

There are times when the pressure of a deadline stifles inspiration and try as you might you cannot think of what to do. Tonight has been one of those nights and I had pretty much decided to give up and go to bed. I have to create a birthday card by the end of tomorrow. Open brief, fussy client (me) and very special recipient (my daddy).

So, the flash of inspiration? When we moved to the village last winter, we were treated to a snow day. We walked around the winter wonderland in complete awe at how beautiful everything was. When we got to the bridge over the river I looked out to see a kingfisher sitting in a willow tree only a few metres away. And then as is always the way in a flash it was gone.

Tomorrow I will use a kingfisher as the theme for my dad's card.  Today I'll show you the work of some other UK artists who have been inspired by this amazing bird.

This stunning bird is the work of the very brilliant Alice Tams. My bird obsessed family will love her shop Birds in Hats. The colours are just gorgeous; seeing a Kingfisher is a privilege and I think this card really captures that.
This digital print is from a drawing Simon Alderson used as a cartoon to create a stunning glass panel. I think he has captured the way a Kingfisher sits perfectly. It took me right back to the river.
This stunning piece by Julia Barber of Pink Amaryllis Designs captures just how bright the plumage is. You can never quite believe a bird can be that colourful. I think the choice of background really works to accentuate the bird in this piece.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Sources of inspiration

The view from my window this morning

This week I am responsible for looking after the chickens. This means I have to get up to let them out as soon as it starts to get light. On a cold frosty morning like today it can seem a real chore. That is until I am about half way up the lane and the sun is starting to fill the sky with a hundred different shades of pink, orange, gold and red. There is a gap in the hedge which seems to match up perfectly with where the sun rises at the minute and so you are treated to a framed view. It feels like this is a moment created just for me (and the sheep in the field). 

Up at the allotment, it seems like the frost has picked out every blade of grass, the minute detail on the few leaves left on bare branches and the light is amazing.

By the time I get back from the chickens I am treated to this view of the village church.

I try and store up these memories to tap into and use as inspiration.

My field series was sparked by meeting a pheasant strutting about in the lane.

Several of the very talented guys I have featured on the blog so far have shared their sources of inspiration...

Andy "The penguin came like most things from a train doodle. I spend a lot of time on the train to work and like to use this time to sketch. I tend to let my mind wander. Colour wise, I really like mid century style and I think orange is a pretty good way to go to achieve that look."

Chay Hawes "When I used to have trouble sleeping I would put on the radio and listen to the mellow, gentle tones of the shipping forecast and think about being out there on the sea at night. In this day and age it seems very anachronistic that the forecast is still broadcast in this way, but I'm glad that it is."

Russell Squires " I just simply love the shipping forecast and it s popularity within British popular culture. Hearing the soothing voice of Peter Jefferson over the years has been wonderful.

I typically create traditional hand coated blueprints 'cyanotypes' of planes and thought a map of the UK shipping areas would look great."

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