Poppy Tea towel Designs

Hi everyone! I’ve been desperate to try out some new product ideas, but money is always a problem – investing some of my income into new products is always a risk, particularly when minimum spend is 100+ pieces! So I have been experimenting with some bold designs I can put on tea towels and perhaps other homewares, restricting myself to a monochromatic colour scheme as many places that print fabrics will charge you per colour. This poppy design is my first, and I’m pretty pleased with it! At the moment I’ve settled on three colourways: Mustard Yellow, Aqua and Flame Orange. Let me know what you think or if you have any other colour suggestions! 🙂

(Pssst, you can find these tea towel designs on the print-on-demand site, Spoonflower, here – available to buy soon! I had to change the aqua to a bright blue due to their print requirements but it’s still pretty!) xxx

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AOH and Illustrator Fair with House of Illustration

Hi all! Yeah I have been reaaaaallly bad with updating my blog – I am so sorry! The last few months work at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft has been manic with our big summer exhibition, I’ve been completing a new Make it in Design course (Module 3, which has been fantastic but overwhelming!), and I have participated in the famous Brighton Artists Open House, which was an excellent experience. For those who aren’t familiar with it, basically every weekend in May artists open their houses to the public so people can visit artists’ houses, see how they work and, hopefully, buy stuff direct from the maker! It’s a really fantastic event that’s gathered so much momentum, it’s really popular now in Brighton and attracts a lot of locals and daytrippers. For the artists, it is also a valuable opportunity to gain exposure and instant feedback about your work from a huge range of people (although it feels a bit nerve-wracking to begin with!) I exhibited my work with the lovely Izzie Roffe-Silvester, a silversmith and jeweller, her artist mother Charlotte and talented Claire Cullen of Kitsch Religion. It was great to be involved with such a creative group of women.

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In more recent news, I found myself a fella who has been taking up a lot of my time and headspace (squeeeeeee!!) AND preparing for this Illustrator’s Fair with one of my favourite galleries in London, the House of Illustration.

I started volunteering with House of Illustration when I first arrived in London in 2014 and I’ve always loved it – they always have really interesting and diverse range of exhibitions, as well as a supportive network of creative volunteers, often jobbing illustrators or art studetns themselves, who love getting involved. I’ve gotten involved in their Christmas fair before and I thought this would be a brilliant way to keep up momentum from the Artist’s Open House in May.

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I loved being able to see other illustrators I knew through volunteering or through other fairs exhibiting their creations, finding creative ways to sell their art on a range of products, from cards to pins, tea towels to mini zines, candles to temporary tattoos. I also experimented with some new postcards featuring original watercolours and patterned pocket mirrors, which I think went well.

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Definitely planning to do some more craft fairs soon, I’ll keep you posted!! And hey if you think of any interesting new things I can make for the next one, please let me know!! I love suggestions xxx

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!

Paper-cutting

Hey gang! It’s been a little while I’m afraid, been busy getting burnt in Spain and then burying myself yet again in job applications and cover letters. However the last couple of days I’ve been taking a break to try something new…

My aunt and uncle have their 25th wedding anniversary this weekend and, considering how sparse my bank account is looking right now, I wanted to make them something to commemorate the event rather than buy something. I watched a show on craft recently on BBC, about how getting crafty and making things is becoming more popular again, and on this show they featured paper-cutting. I’ve always really liked papercut art, and the beautiful delicacy of papercut pieces, though I never really thought I would be patient (or dextrious!) enough to actually be able to do it myself. However, I was feeling inspired so I thought I would give it a go, and I am SO pleased with the results!

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First things first, I have learnt that it is a slow slow process, and that’s ok. This is just an artform that takes time, but you are rewarded for being so patient. Even just drawing the design: mine was about A3 size because I wanted to do quite a complex design, so to draw it all out took about four hours. This is also because I needed to make sure I knew absolutely which lines I was going to be cutting on, what’s going to be the cut-out area and what will be left behind and also ensuring that the entire design is linked together and won’t end up with a massive hole in it!

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The actual cutting out took about 10 hours altogether, but actually it was really theraputic. I just became so entraced by the whole process that I didn’t even feel the time go by (though I didn’t do it all in one sitting!) I started out with the smallest, most delicate holes while the structural integrity of the paper is still as it’s strongest, then moved on to the bigger sections.

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And here’s the finished product!! Yay! I wanted to corporate as much as I could about my aunt’s family: their hobbies and interests, etc. So there’s cake on the table in front of my cousin who loves to bake, the older sibling is holding a book with Harry Potter’s lightning scar on the cover, my younger cousin is near her cricket stuff and the cat and the chickens are featured too.

I’m so glad I tried this out and it’s definitely motivated me to try this out more in the future! Hope you like it too! 🙂

Surface Pattern design

Finally my gruelling contract has ended and I can actually focus on putting a portfolio together. Throughout the last few months I’ve spent my spare hours collecting old doodles and photographs of flowers (of which I have MANY) and using them as inspiration for my own range of pattern designs. I’m still finding my feet in this field so I’m not sure how perfect they are yet, but when I discovered surface pattern design it was what I could only describe as a lightbulb moment.

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I’d always loved patterns: I’d always been drawn to them and I liked copying them when I was younger, eventually making my own pieces on Illustrator. Yet it never actually dawned upon me there were people out there who made patterns for a living.

Nothing else, just patterns.

And they got paid for it.

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This made me very very excited and ever since then I have been trying to make as many patterns as I can to start finding ways to get my work out there in the world. There’s still so much to learn, and that really doesn’t scare me, because it just means there’s still so much more room for me to discover and develop and get better and better. 🙂

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No Time for Anything (Except a Cup of Tea)

Time has been escaping me these last weeks! What with the flu, and a trip to Brighton, and new contract at work, I’ve been pretty flat out! Not so good for drawing (or blogging either!), but I’ve somehow managed to fit in a few sketches here and there amongst stacking books and sneezing my way through a Parks and Rec marathon. (Man, I’ll miss that show!! I firmly believe Amy Poehler is my spirit animal. Her, and Minnie from The Help. I seem to have a thing for strong, goofy women!)

Anyway, rather than embarking on any giant new projects, I’ve kept myself going with teacups. It started out as a watercolour exercise – a way to practice with colours and brushstrokes whilst seeing how many designs I could imagine.

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I think I must be quite a satisfying British friend by fulfilling an awful lot of clichés: apart from being very pale and very polite, I absolutely love tea and everything to do with tea. I love the ceremony of making tea, the boiling of the  kettle and collecting all the cups and teabags and pots. I like drinking tea with people: there’s nothing better than catching up with friends over a hot cuppa. Tea is hospitality. I grew up in a large extended family which whenever you entered anyone’s house, tea is always offered, so every visit is always preceded by the ceremony of tea-making. Even better, tea and company is an excuse to get out the teapot and pretty cups, which somehow makes tea taste even better! I wish I had more of these in my cupboard!

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If You Never Did You Should…

I learnt to read with Dr Seuss. I loved the nonsense rhymes and tongue-twisters of books like Oh The Places You’ll Go and One Fish, Two Fish. The colourful pictures of strange furry creatures and worlds captured my imagination. But I really haven’t given them a second thought since I was five, until recently I was scouring the internet for something to practice hand-lettering with (it’s amazing how quickly you go through quotes!) and I stumbled across page upon page of wisdom from Dr Seuss. I don’t remember his books being so philosophical – but really at four is that such a surprise? Still, reading his poems as an adult is a completely different experience – I can see now what he was trying to teach through silliness. His poems are really about the realities of life: building confidence, trying new things, not being afraid to be alone and different, to have fun without hurting people and to read lots and lots of books! He doesn’t shy away from the bad stuff, but encourages kids to have confidence in themselves to face it, which is fantastic really. Very Bruno Bettleheim.

Anyway, so it was my Grandma’s birthday last weekend, and instead of a card I ended up illustrating this quote for from Dr Seuss. She adores nonsense poetry and is always writing limericks and silly verses for her friends and daughters. For a lady who, by her own description ‘is not blind, she just can’t see’, she’s done some pretty amazing things: cycled down the Danube, walked the Camino trail, travelled all over the place, baked the most amazing and crazy-elaborate birthday cakes for me and all my cousins growing up. I thought this would be perfect.

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Baby Steps

It’s been a long long time since I’ve written anything, and now I have so much to tell you. Mainly the reason why I haven’t written anything has been because my life has been in a crazy whirl of turmoil and changes, one of the biggest being packing up my life and finally moving to London. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but just hadn’t made the courage to take that leap – let’s just say that I knew now was the right time to say goodbye to my friends and my life in Melbourne and start on a new adventure back in the UK. I’ve been here about four months now, and I’m still not close to sorting myself out, but I have a job-for-now and some exciting stuff on the horizon, so the sun is shining behind the clouds!

IMG_4532Most importantly, this move has allowed me to recalibrate my focus on what I’ve always wanted to do, which is make a living out of being creative, rather than spending my days in the ever-rotating hamster wheel that is customer service. I’m drawing all the time now (which I found impossible in Melbourne) and I’m finally getting to explore some of those creative ideas that I’ve been squirrelling away in the back of my mind for ages. I’m volunteering at the House of Illustration, an awesome new museum founded by Quentin Blake dedicated solely to illustration in all it’s forms. It’s so exciting to be a part of something this new, a place that’s still finding it’s feet and still willing to experiment and take a chance on people.

So to reflect my new beginnings I’m revamping this blog as well. Sure I’m still going to be obsessed with cake and travelling (though the cake is now absolutely gluten-free like my body and my travels are smaller-scale like my bank account) but I want to use it as a place to put out my work out into the world and try and make something from all the piles of sketchbooks I have collated over the years. I like to think that it’s all been working towards this: my small little step towards my ultimate goal of being able to draw (and maybe even write) for a living. Wouldn’t that be something?!

When I first moved my Mum and Dad left a postcard on my bed. It said ‘She decided to start living the life she imagined’ – and every baby step gets me closer.