Saturday, 18 December 2010

the gardener's studio

For the man who has everything (or rather, insists he wants nothing for Christmas)...something to hang on his wall. Or my old bedroom, incidentally, which has become a drawing studio for my dad's landscape gardening business.  But it still looks a lot like it did when I left it (bless them) so I thought it could do with a touch of personalisation.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

inspiration etcetera...

There's nothing like being ill and guiltlessly drawing a whole bunch of animals for fun to coax yourself out of a major design slump.  The little bunny is for a lovely girl named Issie who turns fourteen today.  Happy birthday, you!

In other news, I saw Karolin Schnoor's work featured on Print & Pattern today and can honestly say I am gutted I've never come across her work before!  It's amazing (I think you would like it in particular, Amber).

Also, I'm thinking about setting up an Etsy shop to sell some of my remaining Christmas Fayre goodies like these notebooks, so watch this space! (Please forgive the awful quality of the photo, my cameraman has left the house leaving me with only an analogue SLR at my disposal...good old Photo Booth.)

That's all for now folks.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

feeling festive


Enjoying Lizzie Stewart's stocking filler suggestions
Listening to far too much of this (thanks Claire)
Struggling with The Outsider competition
Lusting after a worthy addition to my board game collection (it's like Jenga...but better)
Feeling design envy from ogling this blog (in particular this striking calendar)
Indulging in Bridget Jones and lots and lots of Christmas shopping
Thinking that Paperchase have got it right this year with this paper (my presents looks scrummy)
Making lots and lots of gift tags with exciting ribbon
Looking forward to an upcoming city break in Edinburgh
Feeling disheartened by the result of Stokes Croft's relentless No Tesco campaign

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

hello, twenty four

Well then, it looks like I'm no longer twenty three.  It's been a good year, which I decided to see out by rolling around in some Bristol snow, being swarmed by police as a by-stander in the midst of a student protest, purchasing a couple of snuggly jumper skirts, perusing the nicest of little galleries, being denied chips at a cafe (but making up for it with a warm veggie sausage roll) and eating my very first tarte tatan at the devine Demuths. But how did I get on with my 'twenty three things to do before I turn twenty four' list?  Ahem...

1. Build a website
2. Eat a Knickerbockerglory
3. Post regular blog entries
4. Fill two polaroid films
5. Go to Ryantown
Well, okay, not quite (I blame the weekend job), but I did see some Rob Ryan originals in London!
6. Launch a greeting card range
7. Re-pot my sad little apple tree
8. Decoupage my sewing box
9. Learn to crochet, make something
10. Get a First for something at uni
11. Watch a meteor shower (it's been so long)
12. Make one of these
13. Go to the Little at least once a month
I certainly had a good go anyway!!
14. Add a patch to Issy's quilt
15. Make fifteen recipes from my recipe stash
16. Order some fabric from Spoonflower
17. Say 'yes' more
Subjective, but I think so.
18. Learn to do silkscreen printing
19. Organise a photo scavenger hunt
20. Get work experience in a studio
21. Be an explorer of the world
22. Feel hot sand between my toes (please?)
Ha!  No chance.
23.  Discover five new authors
Six, actually!!

Eleven out of twenty three.  Pathetic.  I apologise, I shall set my self fewer goals this year and try much, much harder!!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

invaluable information

Image: Keri Smith
The great prophet, Keri Smith (my absolute idol) has published a lovely list on her blog called Secrets Shared to inspire aspiring illustrators.  And I think you should take a look.

# 14 Ignore cool. Successful people do not try to be hip, they just do work that excites them.

I am struggling to tear myself away from the radiator this evening after spending a lovely day, mostly outside, at the Bath Christmas Market.

the stars shine all day too

(Image pinched from this website)

Just to get across just how astonishing Rob Ryan's 'The Stars Shine All Day Too' exhibition was last week, I thought I'd sneak in this beautiful image.  The little gallery space on Dover Street in London's Piccadilly played host to several of Rob's large scale paper-cuts.  Each one contained a crazy amount of detail and an enchanting night-time wintery feel.  This one was by far my favourite (although I changed my mind several times before reaching this conclusion).

Thank goodness for the internet.  I spend so much of my time in galleries trying to commit every detail to memory for fear that I will forget something.

It looks like there are a couple of nice exhibits in Bristol next week, so I'll let you know how I get on with those!  If that wasn't already enough to entice me, I'm going to see a giant pin-hole camera in a tower!

Friday, 26 November 2010

it's a cold one.

I'm not sure why I haven't blogged this yet, but it seems appropriate today!  Brrr.

I'm excitedly making plans for what I'm hoping will be a white snowy birthday next week...but I'm anticipating a sludgy, blustery one.

I've been a major victim of procrastination today.  The dissertation draft is in!  Now I need to try and disengage my writing brain and get on with some well-deserved doodling!  A cup of tea might help me along, we shall see!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

christmas on the cobbles

Bring along your shiny pennies and stock up on stocking fillers at the Frome Artisan Market!

There will be illustrative prints, gift wrap, cards and lot of other treats for sale in the fabulous Poot, which is chock full of beautiful dresses (including Orion London), vintage knits, shoes, accessories and waistcoats.  If that's not enough to entice you, the Catherine Hill Christmas lights will be brought to life at 5PM!  All proceeds from the Bath Spa Christmas Fayre will go towards financing our final year show, which we want to be a big hit.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

a small comfort

I have had to remind myself of this constantly today.

What's more, there's rather a large type-free gap in my portfolio, so as well as trying to cheer up soggy pedestrians with my cheery window "ads", I've been delving into a little bit of hand drawn text.  What do you think?

I have also been excitedly penning vintage shoes in my sketchbook ready for our collaboration with Poot.  I don't know if it's the cold weather, or the emergence of Christmas lights, or the fact that the shop on the way into Bradford on Avon has been counting down to Christmas for well over a couple of months now, but all I want to draw is Christmassy things!  I will share them with you very soon.

But for now I am off to Bath for a Thai feast!

Note: I would like to take this opportunity to express my upmost affection to the kind of people who take time out of their day to offer Photoshop advice to frustrated souls like myself.  I no longer have ugly white lines around my images.  Thanks Yahoo.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

winter beckons...

A glimpse of the Southbank from behind row after row of books.  I'm struggling to come to terms with the fact that there's no longer golden sunlight pouring through my films.  Luckily this one has aged yellow pages to warm it up.

I am madly excited about going back to London this week to see Rob Ryan's exhibition at the Air Gallery.  Have you been??  Is it wonderful?

Also, to put the word out, the illustrators among the Bath Spa graphics bunch will be selling lots of pretty Christmassy things at the lovely Poot in Frome on Sunday 5 December.  Do come along, there will be lots of other treats!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Sunday, 31 October 2010

october thirty first

I apologise profusely for the lack of action on my blog at the moment; I am still here!  Year three is hitting me hard, but I shall conjure up some lovely updates very soon.

In the meantime...HAPPY HALLOWE'EN!  I hope you all have lots of dressing up and (friendly) scaring to do!  I will leave you with this lovely fellow (aren't ravens beautiful?).

How did you spend your extra hour this morning?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

winter warmer

Today I bought myself a nice cosy fair isle knitted cardie with little reindeer faces stitched on the front in preparation for the colder weather and my (imminent) second yurting experience.  It made me contemplate how content a reindeer would feel in a people print jumper...

It could work.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

away it goes

This little chap will be journeying to Germany on Monday.  Inspired by the ever lovely Claire, I have signed up for a fun project which guarantees exciting post (as an alternative to Dominoes pizza promotions and pointless communications from BT) for me and someone else around the globe.  All you have to do is request an address of another postcrosser from and send them a nice postcard.  They will register your postcard as being received and then it's your turn to receive one from somewhere else in the world!

I have bought myself a pack of brightly coloured blank postcards from Paperchase's Spectrascope range and affixed a drawing to the front (by way of inkjet label).  It's entirely up to you what you send, whether its a charming vintage postcard, a pretty design or one of those amusingly drab looking townscapes, which are probably considered to be quite kitsch these days!

 The cold is on the mend and I have ducked out this afternoon to enjoy a rare spot of October sunshine and a stem ginger cookie at the local veggie cafe.  Mmm mm.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

flickering through films

Because I fancy myself as a bit of an amateur photographer, on the side, I have decided to devote my poor disused flickr account to housing some of my favourite analogue snaps.  So if you would like to show the page some love, you can find it here.

In the meantime, I have picked up a delightful Autumn cold, so it's Peppermint tea, big socks and tissues for me today.  Just in time for the start of term!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

inspired by nature

If you are local to Bath, I recommend you make your way straight over to the Rostra Gallery on George Street to gape at some beautiful screen prints by Graham Carter (illustration above).  Lots of striking colours and endearing characters to muse over (my personal favourite being the enormous owl).

work (experience) and play

I have been doing a lot of learning this week.
And what a lovely week it has been.

I have been encouraged to add a little bit of 'play' into my work, whether it's in ripping things up, drawing with my left hand, creating layers and textures or embracing wonky lines and pritt stick.  Why?

'What happens in life is that we become attached to doing "what works" or what is comfortable.  We get stuck in a comfort "habit".  This is fine if we want to have the same outcome over and over, but if we want to create something new we must always venture into the unknown.'  Keri Smith

Thursday, 16 September 2010

my last war

The first of, probably two responses to my summer project, inspired by the wonderful Mr Black, a beautiful old man and former war correspondent from the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  When Mr Black eventually realises, a little too late, the importance of being a family man, he abandons his lust for battle and wages one last war.  He remembers a tree his wife once had a run in with, and with a swing of his axe, chops it down and lovingly crafts a big wooden bed to mark their new lives together.  Long after his wife's passing, he hammers a nail into the bed every morning as soon as he wakes up to commemorate his loss, until the bed becomes so heavy that the floor caves in.

It's easy to forget about your dissertation when you have images to make and a, quite frankly, delicious looking Graze box on your desk (there's even a mini freshly baked Focaccia bread in today's one).

Friday, 10 September 2010

Thursday, 9 September 2010

spots v stripes

For those of you who remember Top Deck*, just about my favourite chocolate bar as a child of the late 80s, Cadbury's have released a new and exciting milk and white chocolate combo that has filled me with joy and nostalgia.

Just thought I'd share that with you all.

* I'm aware that you can buy it in Australia, but it's just not the same.

how to be good

I like a good documentary.  I have been banging on about this one for a while and was finally given the opportunity to see it on a UK screen at the lovely Little.  No Impact Man follows Colin Beavan and his family on a quest to live for a year without negatively impacting the environment, a process that aims to whittle down the bare essentials that we need for living a happy existence without creating problems for the planet.  That means no buying anything new unless it's in a pre-owned condition, no transportation unless by foot or bicycle, no paper, no toilet paper, no coffee (a struggle for the No Impact Lady), cotton nappies for the little one, no electricity bar solar power, no take away food, no food that hasn't be locally sourced and organically get the idea.  But there are things that you can do without abandoning toilet paper and harvesting worms in your apartment to compost your waste.

Buy local
If you're lucky enough to live in and around Bath like I do, there is a fabulous weekly farmers market every Saturday at Green Park Station.  You can bring your own bags and support the locals without buying cheap veg that's been flown in from overseas.

Cut out unnecessary packaging
This is a tough one, because there is little that you can buy that hasn't been wrapped in plastic and then put in a box.  But as a starting point, you can buy cleaning products from health food shops which you can refill on your next visit when you've run out. 

Compost your waste
The council reckons you can build your own composting bin with relative ease...but I'm not so confident.  Apparently you can pick  one up from your local garden centre and reduce up to 50% of your household waste.

Shop second hand
If you're fortunate enough to live somewhere that has good charity shops (sigh), there are lots of nice things other people don't want.  Or, organise a swishing party (I so so want to do this.  Ladies?)

Switch to fairtrade
Switch one of your household staples to Fairtrade (the Co-op's Fairtrade English Breakfast tea is rather nice.  Not to mention the chocolate).

So far I can conclude that, for at least two days after watching this film, you will be trying to implement ecological living strategies in your own home.  Yesterday I bought a jug and a bag of milk which promises to produce 75% less waste than the traditional plastic bottle.  I am considering buying a composting bin and unearthing my bicycle from my dad's garage. (Really what I want is one of these cool people carrying bicycles, like the Beavans' have.)

Even if going green isn't for you, you should definitely give this film a watch, especially if, like me, you're a sucker for a feel-good reality-based indie film.  If anything, it will make you want to live life outside more.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

our cups emptied, the day emptied.

I'm not even really sure what this is, but I thought if I didn't let it surface from the confines of my sketchbook, it might never get out.  In a fortnight long struggle to muster up something for my 'respond-to-something-you've-read' summer project, this is the best I could come up with.  It in no way expresses just how beautiful this book is (seriously, read it).  So it's back to the drawing board for me!

I'm almost thinking it would be better to draw from something I'm less attached to...what do you think?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

a big beautiful update

So, you ask, what have you been up to this summer?  Well.

I have traipsed around Avebury, home to an ancient collection of stones, where ribbons and sepia artifacts dangle freely from trees

Got a little job in the beautiful village of Lacock and enjoyed sneaky slices of cake from behind the reception desk

Scrambled over rocks with a belly full of ice cream in the seaside town of Lynmouth

Waffled a beautiful big veggie feast and several pots of Chocca Chai in the comfort of a special friend's new home

Experienced my first chimnea barbeque

Baked my first batch of (semi-catastrophic) cupcakes with my partner in crime

I suppose the biggie would be that I've moved house...

...To the oh-so-beautiful town...

...of Bradford on Avon (there will always be a place in my heart for you, Bath)...

...Had the best time imaginable...

...At Green Man Festival, in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, in great crevasses of mud

And stayed in a woodland yurt with a beautiful family...

...scavenging the breadth of Dorset for unusual photographs in a battle to beat the boys

I think we know who won, right girls?

Thankfully Autumn is my favourite of the four seasons, so although I will be sad to wave goodbye to the summer once more, I can't wait to snap up a new woolly hat and stroll through crisp sunny breezes in my boots, crunching yellow leaves and saying hello to a new and exciting phase of my life.  My dissertation I'm looking forward to less.  Swings and roundabouts!