New Year’s not-really resolutions

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? I’m not really a big resolution sort of person – the one’s like ‘I’m going to get fit’ or ‘I’ll stop eating sugar’ – I tend to believe they don’t last much longer than a week into January, despite my good intentions. But I do have a few life goals I want to challenge myself to achieve this year.

  1. Draw more. I was getting really good at drawing something every day about a year ago, and then…I stopped. How come good habits are so easy to break and bad ones a basically impossible to get rid of?!
  2. Get out more. This one covers two things. First, the more people I talk to the more I realise how little I’ve seen of the area in which I live now: I really need to explore all that Brighton and Sussex has to offer! Secondly, meet new people. Although my list of acquaintances has definitely grown in the last few months, I still feel so new in Brighton, so it would be great to get to know more people.
  3. Do more fairs. Late last year I had a stall at the Etsy Christmas market and it was a fantastic experience. I had been put off fairs a bit previously because the ones I chose were so quiet and poorly advertised, but now my mind has definitely been changed! It also will motivate me to keep the momentum up with pushing my buiness and creating new things, which can only be good!
  4. Be good to myself. May sound obvious but it’s something I have never been very good at – I’m the type of person who historically has just kept my head down and put my needs last. It’s been a slow build but I am definitely much more positive and happier within myself than I was a few years ago, but I still have space to improve.
  5. Eat less sugar – whom am I kidding, I’ve already failed this one!

 

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Christmas Paper cuts

Life has been pretty full leading up to Christmas. I took part in the Brighton Etsy Made Local Christmas Market, which was a fantastic experience! As a last minute ploy to decorate my stand I started making little paper cut decorations. I hadn’t really done any papercutting since I made an anniversary present for my aunt and uncle, mainly because it takes soooooo loooooooooong. But I’ve been thinking for a while that it would be a create Christmas project.

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They turned out so beautiful, I HAD TO CONTINUE!! They were actually one of the most commented things on my stand. Suddenly all my various Secret Santas were getting paper cut decorations for their gifts.

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I see lots of paper cutting in my future. And possibly a die-cut machine, so that my hand doesn’t hurt so much.

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Artist Crush: Andrea Lauren

I first came across this amazing lady on Spoonflower, falling in love with her geometric, animal inspired patterns.

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Andrea Lauren’s Llama print

But what I love most are her intricate linocut prints! They’re simply gorgeous, I love the way she layers colours, and she gives a great insight into her process through her Instagram pictures.

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Andrea Lauren print

Isn’t that gorgeous?! It certainly makes me want to try my own hand at linocut, though I think it will take me quite some time before I can create something this detailed!

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Andrea Lauren print

Check out more of her work at http://www.inkprintrepeat.com/

Fun with Brush Pens

I have wireless again!!! The last few internet-less weeks have felt looooong – but I guess it did give me time to focus on other things (well other than stealing internet from the pub over the road…) – like drawing! I’ve had this Japanese brushpen for a little while now and haven’t really used it much, so I thought I’d try it out with a bit of doodle – I like the illustrated list thing.

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FUN!! So fun. This may be my new favourite way to draw things now. The lines just have so much character, everything kinda looks like it’s dancing!

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Yum breakfast! I coloured my vegetable design and made it into a pattern…

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…but to be honest I think it looks just as fun in black and white.

What do you think? Any suggestions as to what I should draw next? Any thoughts appreciated!

My Creative Block is a Dog

I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks since I moved into my new home –  already I’m starting to feel settled. The box mountains surrounding my mattress are slowly getting smaller as I find small but ingenius ways to store all my stuff (shoe-rack under-desk art-supply shelving: hella yeah!) – and for the first time in about three years I have been able to set up my piano again, which I am so excited about!

I’ve been blessed with three charming housemates. I’ve managed to work out how the heating works. I’m even getting used to the sound of passing trains over the viaduct outside my bedroom window.

But still there’s a problem.

And that is I am feeling completely creatively dead.

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I keep thinking, it should be fine right? Sure there are still a few piles of teacups and odd things on my desk that haven’t found a proper home, and my room is still slightly chaotic, but that shouldn’t make a difference, should it? Yet somehow it does.

Creativity is a tempestuous beast. She’s a minx. One day she will fill you with inspired thought and you feel completely elated with how brilliant your imagination is… and the next day everything you’ve done before looks like poop, and you can stare at a page for hours with your mind a total, numbing blank. Creativity is so darned impetuous it needs to be petted and fussed over and coaxed into being, which I think means that any upheaval, even if it’s a positive change, is still such a shock to creative flow that it needs a lot of time to recalibrate and be comfortable again with its new surroundings. I’m making it sound like creativity is a very anxious and delicate old lapdog, with a weak stomach and neurotic tendencies, which is probably an apt description.

So what should I do? I have decided to beat it at it’s own game: by being mundane.

That doesn’t sound like much of a plan but apparently doing mundane tasks like cleaning, dusting, general tidying or walking to the shops allows your brain to switch its focus from the activity and rely on muscle memory to complete the task, letting your mind to wander off and be creative (Science!). So although my days don’t sound very interesting at the moment (ie. this morning I did the vaccuming and mopped the kitchen floor – woohoo!) I still feel like I have achieved something creatively, because I’m allowing my brain to resettle in it’s new environment and find its happy place. I am, essentially, petting the crazy lapdog and telling it that it’s okay, this place is safe for you to do your thing.

Go nuts.

 

An exciting new collaboration

I have a few exciting announcements to make since I last posted… Firstly I will be having a stall in at the Brighton Etsy Christmas Fair! The competition is really stiff so I’m pretty honoured to be selected! It’ll be happening at the Brighton Dome on the 3rd December, so I hope to see some of you there!

More excitingly I have started a new collaboration with the talented people at ArtsCase! They are an iPhone accessories company that work with a range of fantastic artists and designers to create really unique and good quality products. I am thrilled to say that I will be joining their team of creatives! They’ve even written up a nice little bio introducting me, here. Even better, as a special welcome present, they’re giving 30% off all cases featuring my artwork, take a look here! I can’t wait till I get one myself, it’s really satisfying seeing stuff I’ve drawn on a real thing and not just in my sketchbook! (That and also because I keep dropping my currently caseless iPhone 5 and it’s reaaaaally starting to show!)

And now for my third exciting piece of news: I’m moving house! I have been living with relatives for a while now, who have kindly been letting me inhabit their spare rooms, but finally can now say I am able to move into my own space. At the moment my room is becoming piled ever higher with boxes of books (not an understatement – the majority of my boxes are purely books…) and I am scouring the internet for cheap wardrobes and furniture.

So let the new adventures begin! Thank you to everyone for all your support so far, onward to the future! 😀

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It’s September

I can’t believe I’m seeing the last days of summer and autumn is almost here. It’s too sooooooon!!

On the upside, after a year of slowing building up my business with the help of the Prince’s Trust, my business is finally launched! It’s felt like a slow uphill climb: redrafting my business plan, doing test trades, and learning to take control of my cash flow and branding, etc. etc. I still have a lot to learn and so much more space to grow, but having cleared the Prince’s Trust launch panel feels like I’ve overcome a major hurdle.

For those who don’t know the Prince’s Trust is a charitable organisation that helps young entrepeneurs set up their own business, offering a support network and advice. Now that I’ve passed the launch panel, I can be paired with a business mentor who can offer me advice.

Now the real journey begins!

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Pattern Summer School continued

Hi all!

So the Make it in Design summer school has finished, wow that went quickly! I can’t believe it’s already the end of August and colder weather is just around the corner… Though it’s been so beautifully hot here in Brighton that I’m still able to kid myself that winter is far away!

I wanted to share what I had created for the final creative briefs, these were certainly more challenging than the first round!

For the beginner brief, the theme was Honest Marks. After trialling a whole load of different styles, everything I did seemed too forced and over-complicated. I decided that really simple was best and just went for some hand-painted ink strokes, the results of which I think are really striking!

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For Intermediate, the brief was Souk, which I think is a really fascinating topic! There’s so much you can do with that, so I would really like to give it another go. I kind of ended up with a pattern medley design, but I think I will be experimenting with this theme on my own as well just to see what I come up with.

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And finally, Advanced’s brief was Summer Botanicals, which of course being a floral queen is right up my alley! Sadly with a sudden mass of work I didn’t have time to create something new for this brief, but found a pattern I created not long ago which fit in to the theme (thought I know I’ll be revisiting this brief in my own time too so I can create something new!)

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Beautiful bright bouquets that are reminiscent of spring in the countryside.

So that’s it! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and for all those who also participated in the Make it in Design summer school, a huge well done for completing this epic design challenge!

Pattern Summer School

All creative people find themselves sometimes just drawing a blank. I can spend hours staring at my computer trying to think of something to draw or make and nothing happens. So as a prompt for my pattern productivity I signed up to do the Make it in Design Summer School to make myself sit down and create something – even if it turns  out badly. They’ve been really useful so far: I find that, for me, creativity needs some sort of restrictions to really give some brilliant results – if the options are limitless I just find myself becoming paralysed because I don’t know where to start!

The Summer School works by setting creative briefs with a theme to design a pattern to. First briefs are in and here’s what I came up with:

  1. Beginner: French Riviera/Nautical theme

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Ok so I cheated a bit with this one: I took a pattern that I had already created and just played around with the elements and a new colour scheme to fit with the French Riviera theme. I added the diagonal stripes too which took a lot of tweaking to get right, but overall I’m pretty happy with the result.

2. Intermediate: Meadow theme

Wildflowers in Pale Blue

A field of wildflowers is encapsulated in this colourful pattern

I found this one way easier as florals seems to be my go-to for pattern creating, and I had a lot of photos and sketches of wildflowers to draw upon. I could see this pattern making a pretty gorgeous dress or looking nice on some home textiles.

3. Advanced: Pop Art

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Ok so this one was way harder! I do really like pop art and that bold cartoony style that’s becoming really popular in acrylic jewellery (think Tatty Devine or Designosaur). However, artistically, it is really not my thing at all. In the inspiration pictures pineapples popped up a lot, so I ended up doing a pineapple based thing. I’m not super jazzed with it – some of the simpler ones I created later I liked much more – but at least now I know that my pop art skills might be something for me to work on!

Hope you enjoyed my new patterns! Let me know what you think below! 🙂

 

Vintage crafting with Perler beads

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One day during my regular Amazon browsing for random art supplies and crafty things I came across something magical. Something from my childhood that I had completely forgotten about until that moment. I found a bucket of perler beads. You know perler beads, the colourful little plastic bits that you make into a design and iron over to magically make a melted plastic picture? I LOVED doing this when I was little, I could make little melty flowers and hearts and stars for hours and hours. The actual finished product was not the point – I mean how many coasters and fridge magnets do you really need? – but the act of painstakingly placing each colourful bead onto a spiky tray and watching with joy as Mum transformed it into something solid was just the best – and somehow amazingly satisfying!

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The urge to relive the glee of that childhood past time was so strong that I found myself adding it to my virtual basket and going to the checkout before I even knew what was happening, and oh what fun I have had! What colourful coasters I have been able to create (though seriously if anyone knows of anything else I can make with perler beads please tell me!)

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My set was party themed so I got a rainbow selection of colours and trays shaped like cupcakes, so naturally I had to make a few. Like a kid I happily spent a whole afternoon trawling through thousands of colourful beads to make citrus slices and cupcakes to my heart’s content. I think they’d make a fun little handmade gift for friends, or maybe to stick as a removable design on a thank-you card. All round an excellent (and actually rather cheap) way to fill a rainy day!

 

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I’d love to see some of your amazing perler bead creations! Post a pic below and share your creativity!