Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Artisans Studio Christmas Fayre

I met Julie Smith not long ago, when I was given her contact details for her Framing Business by a friend of mine. She is the artist behind the Artisans Studio in Arnold, near where I live. As well as a fantastic framing business, she also has her own studio on the premises, and a fantastic shop, packed full of art, jewellery, textiles, mirrors, toiletries, bags, scarves. It's definitely worth a visit!!

Monday, 26 October 2009


This is one of my collages produced recently as part of a series of three for sale in the Pop-Up shop in West Bridgford. I used some gorgeous leaves I had collected last year and used a gel medium to adhere them to the page and used some acrylics, mixed shades of umber, to colour the background. None of the photos really do it justice, but here's the best of the bunch.

And thanks to all the helpful folk on the folksy forum who have helped me to decide on my Christmas Card designs, the pudding and the angel are the casualties!!

Ooh, and one more thing, my workspace has been featured on the Nottingham Craft Mafia Blog, thanks to Helen from Petal Textiles for the post!!

Oh, and another thing, but not as nice, infact quite horrible, our new dog, Pip, bit my godson yesterday, so we have decided we cannot keep her. She is going to a new home, by the sea, with no children and another dog as company (thanks to my Auntie). We are both very sad to see her go, as we were really starting to get used to her, and starting to really fall for her! But we have to do the right thing for us, hard as it is.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sue's Sketchbook Peeks - Karen Jinks

As part of my blog-posting for Nottingham Craft Mafia's superb blog I have been running a series of Sketchbooks Peeks with some of the artists and designers in my 'faves' list. This month it's Karen Jinks, artist, illustrator and editor of Uk Handmade. You can find her work here and her blog here... but first of all have a look in her amazing sketchbooks right here...
Before we start, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into your art/craft/design career, how it all started and where you are now…
I’ve always created, ever since I was a small child. My mum would encourage us to draw and make our own cards for family and my gran taught me how to sew and knit so really it’s in my blood! At school I won most of the art competitions and when it came to choosing what to do at university I couldn’t imagine doing anything that wasn’t art related. I actually chose a graphic design course at Norwich School of Art in the end where I got to try a whole variety of art disciplines including animation and photography, finally settling on illustration. Since leaving college I have been working freelance as a commercial artist and selling online for a mind blowing 10 years – just don’t ask me where the time has gone!

How long have you been using sketchbooks?

I’ve only really appreciated the benefit of keeping a sketchbook in the last year or so. Even at college I used to keep notebooks and scrapbooks of sorts but never sketchbooks. I prefer to work straight onto what becomes the finished piece, especially as a lot of my work is collage based and quite organic in nature. I’ve never really felt the need to prepare a piece of work; with collage you can play around with the different elements until you are happy and just stick them down. Lately though I have felt the need to start drawing more and incorporate these drawings into my collages which of course requires a sketchbook. But in doing so I found I am seeing my surroundings in a new way. It’s a slower, more honest process and you need to look closer at your subject and it keeps me away from the computer and camera which I tend to become far too reliant on.

How often do you use your sketchbook?

I have a few sketchbooks on the go, but the 2 main ones are one for my drawings that end up in my digital work and a texture one that is created from the residual transfers I use in my collages. This texture journal is then drawn back over the top of and is a lot more experimental. Both are used fairly regularly as both help to create new work and new work produces new material for my sketchbooks.

Do you have a favourite and why?
Not really, they are all different and are precious in their own way, it would be like asking to choose between my children.

How do you feel with the prospect of starting a new sketchbook with lots of lovely blank pages?
Back in the old days it would have filled me with fear but now I rush to finish a book just so I can start a new fresh one. I make my own sketchbooks now so I have already made it with a purpose in mind and can’t wait to get started!
When and where do you get your sketchbook inspiration?
We moved house a couple of years ago which has a well established garden full of flowers so I draw a lot from there now, before I used to have to buy flowers. We also live near beautiful woods and chalk downs where I take lots of photos that inspire drawings. I also read a lot of poetry and literature which inspires my collage work – creating a mood or evoking a memory can be quite a challenge. I like my work to imply a story that isn’t always immediately obvious and my sketchbooks have become a good place to test out techniques and colours.

How would you describe your sketchbook process?

I’m not sure I have a process, I tend to work quite quickly and don’t give myself too much time to think or I will end up ripping out pages because it’s all gone wrong. I have learned to live with mistakes or work over them. Sketchbooks that are pristine can be boring. Well mine are anyway. So I have learned not to be precious about what goes in them anymore and weirdly the results are a lot more satisfactory.

What is your favourite medium to work with?

Matte gel medium. My life change when I discovered the stuff. Seriously. And paper. And glue. And acrylic paint. And black ink. It’s all about texture and layers and not being able to close my sketchbook because the pages are too thick.

Where is your ideal sketching location?

At my desk. With my music on. I can’t work outside for some reason, I prefer to shut myself away in my little studio and use photos I’ve taken.

How have your sketchbooks evolved over the years?

I can actually finish one! I still have all my books from college and apart from the scrapbooks I mentioned they are all empty. There might be a few doodles and ideas just to appease tutors in the first few pages and that will be it. They were something I dreaded having to open. Now mine are permanently open and a joy to use.

If you had to pick one favourite sketchbook page which would it be and why?
This is a tricky one because my mood changes so often. But I suppose at the moment I like the butterfly page in my texture journal. No real reason, it just suits me now
Thankyou Karen!!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

My Christmas Card range

7 designs, 2 different layouts of each design. Now I was thinking of selling them in packs of 6 or twelve, which means I will lose a design. What I need to know from you dear blog-readers, is which design should I lose?? I have my own thoughts on this, which I'll keep to myself for now, but please be honest, your opinions matter, tell me which one is the weakest?

Friday, 23 October 2009

New Card Designs

A few new card designs for Christmas, robins, angels and presents. Watch this space for Santa Claus and the three kings!!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

and in colour

and as the boredom of being stuck at home, coughing and sneezing, continues, here are some colourful christmas presents...

the festive theme continues

I have been stuck at home with a horrible cold, no energy and generally feeling like poo, so I will show you some more work I have been playing around with at the weekend. It's for a new range of Christmas cards, and will soon (when I can face Photoshop) have some colour!!

Back to the sofa for me, hope I'm feeling better soon. I'm dying to get away in the caravan but doubt we will be going anywhere at the weekend if we both still feel like this!

Monday, 19 October 2009

getting festive

I have said goodbye to a whole load of my stock this weekend as its off to a fantastic 'pop-up' shop in West Bridgford (see here for details). This is an amazing opportunity for local designer-makers, who are getting together to rent some unused shop space. There will be a selection of amazing local talent on show and for sale, so I can't wait to see what it all looks like when it's put together. I will post some photos when I go down to check it out.
ANYWAY, I digress....
As a result of taking part in this project and it running up until Christmas, and me having no Christmas stock AT ALL, I decided I had better get my arse into gear and start designing some. This has enabled me to take a trip down 'sketchbook memory lane' (one of my favourite pastimes) and dig out a Christmas Card project I did at college. See above some reworked designs, which I am going to do in the same style as my bird illustrations to see how they turn out.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

guess what we just got?

About three weeks ago I was having a wee think to myself about the whole state of affairs re: our camping exploits over the past few years. We bought ourselves a lovely tent but, due to the good old disappointing English weather, we haven't used it half as much as we wanted to, it was either too wet or too cold. This got me thinking about a.... dare I say it.... caravan!

Having had loads of enjoyble family camping holidays as a child I did love it, but over the last few years I have been suffering from 'camping snobbery' and had let myself believe that tents were 'cool' and caravans were most definitely not! Having been 'put right' by one of my friends at work, I finally succumbed to the idea that maybe it would be a nice idea, we would have all the benefits of camping, but have the comfort of being warm, dry and knowing our bed wasn't likely to deflate half way through the night.

When I first mentioned my 'eureka' moment to my hubby, he thought I was joking, but I soon changed his mind, and he became even more 'into' the idea than me.... fast foward two weeks later and we are going to pick up our 'new' van on sunday and are really excited!!! This means we will get away loads more, aren't so dependent on the weather and we can be warm and toasty at night (and don't have to trudge across a field to go to the loo in the dark!!) I know this decision will gain a few raised eyebrows and sniggers amongst our die-hard tent friends, but I just can't wait!!!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Blinkin 'eck it's the 400th post!!

SO to celebrate I'm having a giveaway.... with the next three order from my Etsy or Folksy shops the lucky recipients will receive a goody bag of a selection of my cards, this will last until the end of October, so if there is anything you fancy buying get in there fast, and there will be some extra goodies included in the price

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Good weekend

After kissing my bird range goodbye yesterday I spent the afternoon getting some new work framed and ready. I have had a bit of a shuffle around, as some of the work I had in the Craft Mafia shop has been there a long time and hasn't sold. I have often wondered whether I should just get rid of the old work or whether to hang onto it, has it not sold because it won't ever sell, or is it just because the right person didn't some along?? Who knows.... what does everyone else do with older stock??

Instead of spending the afternoon wondering what to do, I decided to mount up some new work and have put the older stuff away for a while, until I make my mind up what to do with it.

Apart from that, its been a quiet weekend, just what we needed I think, as the last three weekends (even though they have been full of lovely things) have been manic, so it's been nice to be at home.

Oh, and another cute dog picture, Pip has been a little madam this weekend, she ran off yesterday, completely out of sight, threw us a complete deaf one, and took zero notice of our frantic calls!! I think she knew she was in the bad books, a feel a battle of wills developing here... watch this space....

Saturday, 10 October 2009

exciting news... and a dog picture

Ooh, very exciting today, I took my bird collection (my first proper collection, and I felt very grown up and proud!!) into my first retail outlet in Nottingham. It was a great feeling packing it all up and taking it. Will get you some pics soon of it all in situ.

Not much other news, I'm working on some new stuff in the studio this afternoon (in fact I am meant to be doing that right now!!), so until I have more to show you here is another picture of Pip (settling in well and generally being a very good girl).

Sunday, 4 October 2009

birthday and anniversary celebrations

And whoever said the age of romance was dead? I just got whisked away for a romantic couple of days to The Drunken Duck Hotel near Ambleside in Cumbria. It has been amazing, and I'm just very lucky to have such a lovely fella, how he put up with me for 16years (10 married) I do not know. I think he deserves a medal!!

This one I just had to share with you, a beautiful scuplture at Grizedale Forest, unfortunately though it was too wet to go in search of the rest of them, we ended up back at our hotel, reading the papers over a pint or two of cider, and then finished the day off with a meal for two washed down with a bottle of champers courtesy of the folks back home.