Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Today was my last full day in Junior School helping out, as they break up for summer holidays next Tues. I haven't been in on Wednesday due to other commitments and working on my own pieces of work, but I wanted one last day to see them encase I cannot go back next term. I keep meaning to put up some of the work I have helped with, but always forget to take pictures of the final work! I've managed to do milk bottles animals as well as printmaking and book-binding with Red Hot Press.
So today, I did Batik with Year 5's, Mrs C's and Miss P's class, but mainly Mrs C, she always loves me helping her out!
I helped the class with the waxing, 4/5 at a time whilst Mrs C got others started on painting [some had waxed the day previously]. Once everyone was painting[after their morning break essentially], I was helping to mix colours, keep paintbrushes clean and general up keep of the art process. 
The theme was fitting with their topic of Greeks, so there were many Medusa's as well as other scary creatures. Here is a selection of the very vibrant outcome, which I apologize for the poor picture quality as they were taken on my phone!
My Favourite of the class I think.

Sophie took a long time planning the colours on her border and was the last to finish at 2.15.


The girls who I helped and looked after in the afternoon were very sweet and gave me a little 'We will miss you' colouring which they all signed- very sweet. Thanks to Mrs Smith and all teachers for having me. One last session of cooking with the Year 3's and it will be summer!

Friday, 15 July 2011


Whilst updating photos for my website portfolio, I took this shot as my work was blowing in the wind. There was something quite adoring about it and just had to blog it. It's calming and has a sense of freedom about it.

Anyway, my website portfolio is 80% together now, two sections need photos which I will do on the next sunny day, which I fear will be into next week. We'll see. But please take a look around. It has taken all week to compile images and a bit of html/css editing *groan*. I would appreciate any feedback, but I always like to hear things about what I am doing from others, it really helps me focus on the good and bad.

A good weekend to you all.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


This is just a little something I have been working on which I have been very excited about and people will either love it or well hate it [hopefully the former]. It is not finished quite yet, but hopefully over the weekend it should be a little more together and presentable to blog properly with lots of other bits too for next week.
 Shirt template.

Web site is slowly coming together, so do take a peek, but I will blog/tweet when I have done all I can to redeem it as my portfolio site again. Thanks for anyone who helped me in the set up when I had a massive panic over twitter, you are most kind and forever grateful.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Due to some unknown fault, my portfolio site [] completely disappeared/evaporated without my knowledge in the last few weeks. I am currently attempting to re-build it with all my work back on there with a fresh, hopefully better, look.

Hoping it will be up and together by the weekend, as I am trailing my way through various HTML bits n pieces and sorting out imagery too. Also trying to research what portfolio sites look good and seeing if I can do something similar.
My favourite, which has stuck in my mind for some time is the flowing page of imagery on Holly Wells' portfolio site here

 Keep a look out- might add some new miscellaneous bits too..

Sunday, 10 July 2011


So a few months ago, I was asked for some scented pouches by Andrea Bonnell, to be used with her corset commissions. 
The pouches

As I dear friend of mine, I was aware she was busy making a corset for this month, and would be proudly using the first pouch from the batch of five I sent her.  This evening I received a lovely email with a picture of her commission about to be packed up and sent over to her client!

Check out her blog, its full of lovely things [including some pants she made for me]!

Friday, 8 July 2011


This is a mighty quick post with little hints of things I have managed to get round to doing recently. I have tried to focus on a collection of ideas in the last week, with ideas brewing and editing over a few weeks. All I will say is that if you don't see it here, you will see it on Etsy [I hope!]

Some experimentation with mono-printing with fabric paint. I was inspired by my books [see Pages of Donation] to try mono printing using fabric paints I had collected and if it would actually work. It does, provided the ink is thinned out enough. I used a polyester fabric for the black and it soaked up in the thicker areas as you can see. The black pattern is just random drawings and scribbles, but the red paint experiment below was more focused on mono-printing type.
 Black Dylon Fabric Paint.

More to come soon, very soon. 

Where I have been...

So, the blog has been fairly empty of my work for a while, and there is good reason: I haven't been making much. I have been working to earn money as well as volunteering in a local Junior School to gain some experience with children. The lovely head, Sue, showed me around, and the school is highly motivated on art and so I have been helping in class with academic subjects - spellings, playing with newton metres and making leaflets on computers. However, I have had the great chance to help with art projects, including during their 'R.E.F' week, where everything is focused on the environment and out of class activities. Some great tasks I have helped with over the last 5/6 weeks have included making animals out of milk cartons, helping a class use oil pastels and working with three 10 year olds using watercolour pencils and attempting to teach them how to knit. The knitting was harder than expected, but it wasn't a failure, just a learning curve. The girls enjoyed the hand sewing instead whilst I finished the knitting on my own.

As well as working in the Junior School, I also have become a recent volunteer for Red Hot Press, a printmaking studio in Southampton. Katherine and Sarah founded the workshop in 2004 and have a selection of members who attend regular workshops and even hire out the space. The ladies have a background in the arts, both printmakers themselves, but they also work within schools, youth groups and other organisations to bring print making workshops to them. I helped Red Hot Press at a local Primary School during their art week over two days to print them an hour session of printmaking with polystyrene tiles onto large banners. I didn't get any pictures unfortunately, and I am so gutted I didn't- it was such a great success. Over the two days I saw 8 classes with up to 28 children in a class, and it was fair to say it knackered and even stressed me, but it was mighty fun and messy. The printing was loved by all the pupils[ Reception to Year5] and the banners were vibrant and bursting with lots of creative images! Each class had a theme such as Creepy Crawlies, Princesses & Princes and Monsters. My favourite over the two days was a scorpion by Reception pupil Dominique and a pumpkin wearing a witched hat by a Yr1 pupil [I cant remember his name]. I will hopefully be helping them in the next school year as the summer holidays are nearly upon us.

So yes. I have been quiet due to helping the youth of today learn some arts and crafts. It is mighty rewarding, even if it is volunteer and takes up my days off. But this is something that I want to aim towards- bringing art and craft to children. Who didn't love missing normal lessons for paper mache sessions, play dough or a spot of finger painting?

Please check out Red Hot Press Site. They are great and I am honoured and grateful to be helping them out. They tell me there are not that many studios that do this within schools and from what I have heard some schools don't have the energy or funding for arts.

Pages of Donation

I recently purchased a couple of printmaking books as part of my ever growing artistic collection of creative books. I also was donated some books through a customer at my part-time job, which was MIGHTY kind and lovely and made my dreary weekend!

So I feel I should share my recent pile of paper, as some of them are quite a rarity and delight to have. The books donated by the lovely Katherine are a broader range of subject matter in the art world than what I already have so is quite enlightening in many ways. I have yet to sit and read through any of the books properly, except I have had a good scan of the two Print Making books as those I actually paid for!

The newest editions to my collection.

Labelled up as £75, Vok Collection,Suzani; A Textile Art from Central Asia.

Contains some really delicate and intricate patterns made up of very primary based colours on a white background. 
The detail of the book - really simple layout with lots of white space so the images of the fabrics and textiles really do stand out. Really lovely book which has inspired me in terms of ideas for print making patterns and images. 
Fashion Drawing: The Basic Principles by Anne Allen and Julian Seaman.
 A book first published in 1993, breaking down the structure of illustrating the human body for fashion purposes. Despite it's age, all of the illustrations are of great use to me, and will never date. Best find!

A couple of annuals: one from The British Museum, the other the Royal Academy of Arts. Both a couple of years old, but I think it might have some good reference points[yet to read].

EH Gombrich,The Story of Art
I picked it up as I figured it looked like a book that is definitely full of use, although I am not familiar with the work of Gombrich at all. I am told he was a master of his time. Not my usual choice of art, however I will not dismiss it.

The Illustrators: The British Art of Illustration 1800-1997
 I was beyond belief to find a book of illustrators, and with such a lovely cover by William Heath Robinson. Some of the illustrators include Mervyn Peake, Peter Cross,Edmund Dulac, Charles Schulz and Ralph Steadman. Some really inspiring pieces of various medias but majority are traditional pen ink and watercolours.

 Inside The Illustrators.
 More beautiful drawings inside of The Illustrators.

Brought Books.

So, after some inspiration from a few places and keen to do some printmaking, I invested in a couple of books. I only intended to invest in the latter book, but I couldnt help myself and brought two- the more the merrier!
Printmaking and Mixed Media by Dorit Elisha.

 I've managed to find time to rummage though the book a couple of times and mark some reference pages for myself. I was a little disappointed with the book as the layout is fine, but they seemed to have used lots of colour in the background, which I'm sure will be the same for others, but it too busy and distracting from the main body of text and imagery. It became quite an issue truth be told, perhaps because I have a design background and I am a petty Graphic Designer deep at heart.However, design aside, the content is great - lots of examples of work like printed portraits, methods of printing techniques including screenprinting [with a breakdown of what it is an various ways of doing it], monoprinting, collagraph as well relief and sun printing mentioned too.

Boxes of textures and colour layered behind all the really essential bits.

Monoprinting- the break down with example images

And Finally..
Print Workshop. Hand-Printing techniques +Truly Original Projects by Christine Schmidt.

It's fair to say now, this is what you would call an 'indie' book. I adore the cover for its layout, colours and pure reflection of the contents inside.It's simple, provides you with all the information you need at the very beginning and just looks [and feels] awesome.

The book has a simple layout, with a handwritten text for project titles which is reflective of the who handmade process the book talks about. This book, in comparison to the first printmaking, has more tutorials for practising the techniques covered in the book, and has illustrated demonstrations[which are very fitting to the book] with minimal use of photography.

 Tutorial for Photogram Sewing Box.

Simple lay out with lots of images to accompany the text.

If you hadn't guessed by my high praise so far, I think this book is great,with easy to understand steps, a template chapter at the back for your own use, tip page,glossary and even a stockists page [despite it being american-doh!]. A fabulous buy and highly recommended to all other budding printmakers!

Embroidered Door.

Today I was pointed in the direction of two artists, via Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 this morning: Sarah Greaves and Penny Anderson

Sarah is mixed media artist who used embroidery to graffiti everyday objects with emotive, political and thoughtful text. Using heavy duty tools[drills and clamps] to help her embroider onto solid objects such as doors, sinks, toasters and bananas. It becomes a mix of a traditional feminine craft with a process of great masculinity. 
She has taken objects and words and is putting it back into the home. She is right when she states there are interesting things written on public toilet walls and doors, and its such a great way to reproduce and give them more life. 

I agree when she prefers her own work to not be perfect, and have imperfections, that is the pure quality of true hardmanship and handmade craft. The beauty of her work is manipulating the objects to be able to embroider onto / into them. The toaster for example, she had to take apart in order to drill holes and then embroider. 

 My favourite piece is definitely the banana - quirky and yet elegantly and even naively great. There are not many people in the world that could think to embroider a banana. I myself stitched some typography into some lamp shades last year,which I still love and use, despite the message that glows from it.

My lamp based on domestic abuse. 
Detail- 'Shut Up'

 Embroidered Banana! Just great in so many ways.Pure imagination
On the inside. A process I imagine that was very delicate

I am quite inspired by the door which has got me thinking about how I might decorate my own home in the future. . .

Website Here
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Penny is a Glasgow based artist and writer for many magazines including Big Issue, The Guardian as well as contributing to Woman's Hour. The embroiders on a more traditional level and is type based visual work, although her inspirations and themes are from personal experiences, including going blind and left with damaged vision. I am currently working on type pieces myself, so it is good to get comparative artists [even though both these ladies are on a totally different level to me, I feel]. 

Very traditional look. The layout is quite boxed, and quite like it, even with the flowers and hearts.

A very colourful and innocent looking piece, which looks like a traditional piece for the home but actually is darker when reading the content.  

I am quite into the boxed- aligned type, and really love the colours in this piece. The delicacy of the feminine craft contradicts the content in a few pieces. This was something that I have tried to create in my piece about Domestic Violence last year.

 My experimentations last year with typography in a less feminine context.
Stitch on a pillowcase.

Pennys Portfolio Here

I have been very inspired this afternoon and am about to go embroider things around the house.