Saturday 10 December 2011

Wigton Craft Sale

My stall at Wigton

My friend Helen and I did a craft sale at Carlisle Youth Zone on Wednesday evening, it wasn't very busy but you've got to try these things. In a similar vein we went to Wigton Market Hall today, again it was very quiet but I sold quite a bit and got chatting to some very nice people which for me is part of the fun! Anyway, here are a few pictures, if you like my work please have a look at my Folksy shop

Keyrings and earrings

Swallow Cushion #2 I liked the one I did as a commission so much I've made another!

Owl hot-water bottle covers

My stall at Carlisle Youth Zone on Wednesday

Friday 2 December 2011

Warwick on Eden Craft Fair and Two Commissions

My Stall

Close up

The craft fair I did on Sunday at Warwick on Eden went very well; it was quite quiet but I still managed to do fairly well and it was a nice, relaxed affair. I met some very nice people and one of my friends from work came down to support me and my friend Helen (I offered Helen half my table as she wanted to do a fair but hadn't done one before.) I also was asked to make two pieces for presents, I like special requests as it means people like my stuff (always a good ego boost) and it's fun to make things for specific people rather than just making a product.

Cat head brooch

Cards and frog 'phone case

Hedgehog 'phone case

Polymer clay 'lace' brooch

The first commission was for a cream cushion with a swallow on, I'd taken an aqua coloured cushion with a swallow on but the lady wanted a cream cushion with a 'proper' coloured swallow. I'm really pleased with the way it came out and may well make something similar for my next craft fair. The second commission was for a doggy doorstop. This was more of a challenge because I really don't like dogs. However, I decided to rise to the challenge and after a bit of planning and experimenting I came up with a design, made a pattern and used this to make a little hound doorstop. I hate to admit it but I think it's quite cute! I hope the recipients are pleased with their presents, I did have fun making them!

The original cushion

The commissioned cushion

Detail of the swallow

Hound doorstop


Tuesday 29 November 2011

Bird Decorations

Hand-made felt birds

I run an art group called Create It! for Eden Mencap Society every other Monday evening and recently we've been making bird decorations. Last session we did some design work and then some felt making and yesterday we began using that felt to make the decorations. The blue bird was done by a guy who'd never done any stitching before, he quickly picked it up and did a great job. I love the colour choices and his blue-lidded eye. Next session we'll be carrying on and making some more birds, I can't wait to see what they come up with!

Work in progress

Design work

Friday 25 November 2011

Warwick on Eden Craft Fair

Owl brooches

I love the night before (or in this case two nights before) a craft fair. This is the time when I lay it all out, label it all, make price tags and (generally) feel quite good about all the work I've done. It's quite satisfying after weeks of slaving away to see it all laid out, I start to imagine how I will set my table out, what might sell and the people I might meet. I generally don't do anymore making as by now I'm usually very tired and happy to get everything ready then curl up with a glass of wine and a sense of anticipation.

Assembled bits and pieces

I'm going to have a stall at the Warwick on Eden (it's just outside Carlisle) Christmas Fair on Sunday but tomorrow I'm doing a craft fair up at The Heathlands Project (a social enterprise supporting adults with disabilities) and then I'm off to see a reading of Under Milkwood in Hayton so I won't have time to prepare tomorrow. It should be fun on Sunday as I've offered to share my table with my friend Helen, she hasn't done a craft fair before but is keen to give it a go.

Saturday 19 November 2011

Life Drawing

New year, new drawing sessions!

On Thursday I ran the last of my three trial life drawing sessions. It went very well, as have the previous two, so I have booked another set for next year. If you're interested, please get in touch! It was interesting that everyone said they found some of the poses really difficult to capture but I see that as a good thing as it challenges us!

5 minute pose

5 minute pose. I'm very proud of this one as I got the whole body on the page!

15 minutes. Foreshortening, grr!

I really struggled with this last 40 minute pose

So, I did several versions. This is a continuous line drawing

I tried doing sections at a time
More continuous line

Saturday 12 November 2011

Appleby Craft Fair

My Stall

Wow, I can't believe how quickly the past few weeks have gone. Since my last post I've run the second of my life drawing sessions, which went very well, made Halloween decorations and costumes and put up an exhibition of work from the Big Draw, including work done by our members at the Heathlands Project and our local primary school. I did mean to post about all these things but never quite round to it, the main reason being that I have been fully immersed in stitch madness. The reason for this being...

...I was in Appleby in Westmorland today, selling some of my crafts which I have been working away at making for the past few weeks. I was asked if I wanted a stall and I said yes but then had a major stress that I wouldn't have enough to fill a whole table so consequently I've been working like some form of stitching demon for the past few weeks. It has, however, been great fun and I sold quite a lot today so it was all worth it. It was great hearing people's comments and seeing what people liked and what they weren't so impressed with. I very much enjoyed today and I'm hoping to do another fair before Christmas. Having something like the craft fair to work towards has also been good because it's given me an incentive to make things and I've tried out lots of new ideas along the way.

Owl Doorstops

Cards, Key-rings and 'phone cases

Tree Cards

Bird and Heart Cushions

Saturday 22 October 2011

Life Drawing

5 minute pose, charcoal

Thursday was the first of the life drawing sessions I've organised. I really enjoyed it and although it was a small group everyone who turned up was very friendly so it was a great atmosphere. The community centre we used was a great venue for us as well, nice and warm and clean and the centre manager was lovely and very helpful. I was also lucky to have an excellent model, so many thanks to her. The session made me realise how out of practise I was but I still really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to seeing my drawing improve over the next couple of sessions. Hopefully, the next two will be busier and then I will be able to set up some more and maybe make it a more regular thing. I've posted the poster again so if you're in the Carlisle area and fancy a bit of drawing, get in touch!

20 minute pose, charcoal

20 minute pose, graphite pencil


Tuesday 18 October 2011

Playing with Printing

Lino Print Bird

I've been having a bit of a play around with making some prints this week. I was given a small bit of lino to test so, obviously, I did a small bird. The lino was the easy cut stuff which is meant to be easier to cut (clue is in the name) although I'm not convinced it is. The downside to it is that you can't draw on it in pencil, so you need to be fairly confident about what you're doing and unlike 'normal' lino it doesn't have a hessian backing so is quite flexible, which is OK until you start working into it a lot. Because of this I kept it quite simple, not gouging too much out as I didn't want to go right through it.

Having made my lino cut I made a few prints on different types of paper, just using black acrylic paint as I didn't have any printing ink. I was quite pleased with how the prints turned out, I think they're quite charming in a naive sort of way. I wanted to keep the prints together but I didn't really want to do a big design sheet so after experimenting with a few ideas I mounted them all on sheets of dark blue textured paper and sewed them together to make a little book, I think this finishes them off nicely and makes them feel a bit more special than just a group of individual prints.

Book of prints and lino cut

One of the prints on an old envelope

Second print, using up ink from the previous print

I also had a go at making a really simple printing plate by using a ball point pen to draw on a piece of cardboard. This plate obviously breaks down quite quickly but I got a few prints from it and today I stitched into one of them. The stitching just finishes it off and takes it from being a simple print to a piece of work. I've been working as a support worker for Prism Arts recently, supporting a series of printing workshops which is what inspired me to start playing around and I can see it's something I could really improve and develop as part of my work. Also, it's really fun!

Cardboard plate and prints

Print embellished with stitch

Detail of stitching

In preparation for the first of my life drawing sessions on Thursday I've been trying to do a bit of drawing every day. Yesterday I had my Eden Mencap Society art group in Penrith and I wanted to do wax resist with them so I did this blackbird drawing as an example, killing two birds with one stone as it were. We were given a load of black paint over summer so for the past few sessions we've been doing a lot of monochromatic work, they've produced some lovely work which you will soon be able to see over on my website (

Wax and paint drawing

Sunday 16 October 2011

Ninja Slippers

Nifty ninja napping

I've been promising my partner a hand knitted pair of slippers for some time. After rejecting approximately  3,622 patterns we eventually found a pattern he was happy with. Then, due to my dislike of knitting rib (the whole pattern is 1x1 rib, grrr) and my hatred of doing things in pairs (gloves, socks, sleeves; I finish one speedily then it takes me months to do it's partner) he had to wait another 6 months for me to finish them. However, a couple of weeks ago I did finish the second slipper and he now has cosy toes. I adapted the pattern from nifty knitting's kimono slippers ( and used a pure wool (for extra cosiness) in dk on 4mm needles, he chose dark blue with an off white trim which I think works well. I think I will use puff paint to paint some grip spots on the sole as they are a bit slip slidy on the kitchen floor at the moment. It's a good pattern, nice and easy to follow and even though I don't really like rib the slippers grow quickly. The pattern calls them kimono slippers but my partner calls them ninja slippers, which sounds pretty cool!


Cosy toes

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Beautiful Birdie Cushion

Perching prettily

I've just finished my first Christmas present, woohoo! The only problem being that I really like it and want to keep it for myself. However, I think I will resist (or just make another one.) I made this birdie from a fleece blanket, I've found the blankets are often cheaper than buying fleece from a roll and they generally have nicer, more on trend prints and colours as well. I love the warm pinky purple of this one. I added some felt, embroidery and buttons for his eyes and quilted him some wings and he's ready to fly away. Or at least perch prettily on my nana's sofa! The only part I'm not sure about is the tail. I think it is maybe a bit wide or possibly needs quilted feathers similar to the wings. Overall though, I'm quite pleased with him.

The other side

Wing detail

Eye detail