Monday, 24 November 2008

Ship Ahoy!!! (or rather canal boat Ahoy)

What a surprise to have some friends come by the house by boat, not bad for a land locked house... needless to say it was a canal boat they were in. The they were some old friends and after all of the hellos and how are yous and a rather nice chunk of chocolate cake, we started to talk about boats and blogs etc. It turned out that our friend John had a blog, where he jotted down his adventures aboard his boat.... got me thinking, hmm! He could mention the 'Studio at lock 4', so hopefully I will get a few visits from some keen , hopefully arty, boaters.
The studio is full to bursting with all of my products for an up coming show and I was shocked to see that my lovely husband had sneaked a few things in for the winter!!!!! I complained bitterly but as the gallery part is closed for the winter, I didn't feel I could complain, just have to make sure that they are removed before the warmth comes again.
Anyway short and sweet, good health, good sales and loads of chocolate cake!!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

The whiff of cinnamon

I am exhausted after two days spent having some lovely girlie time. I went to the Country Living Christmas Fair, it was a birthday treat for my Mum, a day out in London. I hadn't been to the fair for about two years and so was full of excited anticipation of all those lovely new ideas.....sadly and I do mean sadly!!! (as I love the show) I was disappointed......sigh. It was truly lovely with all of the shaker decorations and the lovely garlands smelling of cinnamon and orange, it really got me into the Christmas spirit, (even if I am in danger of getting too excited too soon, seeing that Christmas is a little way off). I have been trying to work out what it was that disappointed me and I think that I have figured it out....there were very few new and different ideas, the stalls were lovely but the show looked the same as it did two years ago. I walked around looking out for some really special ,new and different crafts an ideas and I can honestly say that out of all the exhibitors only one stood out....her stall was small and was tucked away to the side but even so, the colour, humour, very well chosen materials brought her little creatures to life and gave them all an illustrative quality. I believe these (cuddly toys/friends) were called Quirkles and really deserve some attention, so take a look at this website they are truly delightful! Good presents.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Little furry visitors

I have been in my studio, furiously painting away, trying to ignore the fact that it is bloody freezing in there brrrrr! I am working on some driftwood artworks and am really pleased with the results. I thought that I had collected a sizable pile of driftwood this summer but...(there is always a but) when you are looking for specific shaped pieces to use, the pile you had gets discarded very quickly and I found myself thinking....damn what could I make instead?? using the shapes I did have. I created some boats which I am pleased with. I then got started on a pile of butterflies that have been on my bench, sitting ready for decoration, in the end I painted these sitting in my mum's front room, (in a centrally heated house yeehaa!) whilst looking after their ancient dog. I managed to get a lot of them decorated only being interrupted every half hour by said pooch wanting to pee!!!!
My Mothers dog is not one of the 'little furry visitors'. I have found evidence of little mice in the studio and was wondering how to deal with them....didn't really want to hurt them but can't risk them chewing one of my artworks!!! So I reckon that I will have to purchase some humane traps....they have only come in for the heat!!! If they stay a while they will soon realise that it is freezing and hopefully will leave of their own accord,( she says hopefully!)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Crunchy Golden leaves and wood smoke

The studio is filling up with lots of artworks and crafty bits in readiness for some Christmas sales. I have been painting away with the sound of my children digging my lawn up outside!!!! a little voice came in and said, " mum its alright if we dig a veggie patch in the garden, isn't it?" You know what it is like when you are really engrossed in something and you just answer automatically without really listening and then your brain finally catches up.....Aah! NO! what was that you said about digging up the garden....( runs out of studio into garden to find the little darlings about to dig a huge hole in my lovely lawn!!!)
I then had to drop everything that was going on in the studio, to show my children, where I would like the veggie patch. I shouldn't complain as they are really enthusiastic and are doing all of the hard work.
Next week is half term and will be the perfect opportunity to get the help I need around the place so as I can keep on creating.... and finally I may be able to put some products into my etsy shop!!..... til next time.....can't stop have to go and get my hands all painty!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

All things wooden

Ideas have been flooding from my brain into my sketchbook in the Studio this week (via a pencil in my hand you understand!) I am thinking of gifts that I can make for my family and friends, very appropriate considering the 'Credit Crunch' and all of that. I think that we should all remember the true meaning of Christmas and make gifts for each other rather than spending money we don't have on presents no one wants. I myself always would far rather have a handmade art and craft creation that someone has taken time over, and put a little bit of themselves into, than a box of chocolates or bubble bath (hmm chocs are yummy and I don't mean to offend anyone because any gift is gratefully received but you know what I mean!)
Anyway, so the ideas are flooding in alot were inspired by some days I have been spending at my 10 year old daughters school. I have been helping them to design and make totem poles for the playground. Each year group has a pole to burn there design into and then paint. The children have really been excited and PROUD of their efforts and so they should be. The theme was nature and pond life, alot of dragonflies, butterflies, fish and frogs. I had so much fun and really got inspired to produce some new wood based artworks. I liked the idea of burning designs into the wood........ watch this space!! Now back to my work, maybe one day I will get around to putting some new pictures up.

Friday, 19 September 2008

The Nutcracker...lightbulbs and fear

I found myself in a cave with 18 enthusiastic youngsters, trying not to show my fear!! not easy when you have most of them blinding you with the beams of light shining from their miners lamps, each asking if you were going to go through the 'Nutcracker' and are you scared? You are sitting crunched up in a dark, dingy cave trying very hard not to look scared when infact you are terrified BUT trying your upmost not to let the children know, so as not to scare them. The Nutcraker is the smallest opening in the cave which you have to slide/crawl through to get to the next opening further down in the cave. Okay if you are the size of a ten year old but when you are a medium sized adult it makes a bubble of air get stuck in your chest...Eeeek! As I got down flat on my stomach and started to crawl through commando style I suddenly remember promising my chum Anna that I would come up with a few ideas for a project she is working on.....this was my thought pattern," you can do this just breathe, you can do this, Oh yes bingo that could be quite nice and effective a christmas nightlight lantern I can make it with a combo of papier mache and coloured paper , a good project for christmas time, oh no! my battery pack has got stuck and I'm not sure that I am ever going to get through this gap and pooh! I won't be able to actually make the project for Anna and Oh, I was really looking forward to making one to show her. Maybe it was the only light I saw down there or the inspiration came from the miners lamps but there you go, its just plain weird how you get some of your most creative ideas.

I did make it through the cave only to have to face the next two activities...abseiling and rock climbing!!!!! Oh yes forgot to add that I had about 60 bruises but they did form a really pretty pattern.

Friday, 5 September 2008

To Noah

Well, now that the long wet summer is over, we, at the studio are preparing ourselves for a productive winter. At the moment the studio feels like Noah's Ark, a haven from the rain. My dog Keltie looks positively miserable and has refused to get out of her basket, I have to temp her with bits of chicken to get her to move and even though I have bought her a lovely doggie raincoat, she isn't interested. The canal boaters are putting a brave face on things, they chug past, smiling and waving, while the rain drips off of their noses. Keltie could learn a lesson from them about being British and stoical. You can't let it get to you....have to have fun no matter what the weather is doing.

Enough of all things wet!! and now for some more interesting ideas. Hearts, yes that universal much loved symbol. I have always collected heart shaped objects, stones, bits of wood, even painted wooden hearts made heart shaped cakes you name it, I love the shape. On Monday I was preparing dinner, cottage pie in fact, and I was peeling the potatoes for the topping , when I pulled a heart shaped potato out of the bag. A little bit of joy, made my day, I took it that nature was sending a sign!!

Now its off to Kelties basket to wake her and tell her that no matter the weather we are going for that walk......anyone got any chicken??

Heart stones

Heart stones

Heart shaped potato

Heart shaped potato


The inside of our studio