Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Every Picture Tells a Tale

As Christmas approaches I have been kicking back a little - the presents are pretty much sorted. I can get the last couple at the weekend thanks to what is now a family tradition....my husband and I sneak out on our own for a quick Christmas shop and long lunch while the children have a break with the grandparents. In the meantime, I have been having fun cyber browsing book blogs. I could lose hours this way!!

I have always loved illustration as an art form. There are books from my childhood which haunt me still for their beautiful, bold and characterful illustrations. Some of these I have been able to track down and others yet elude me. Gus the friendly ghost is how I remember this one - I was heartbroken to discover that we no longer had it but was delighted to be introduced to the online world of secondhand books in my search for a replacement. It's not quite the same as the real thing and certainly lacks the charm and adventure of a rummage through dusty bookshelves, but I have been reunited with some old friends this way so I'm prepared to go with the flow on this one.

by Jane Thayer, illustrated by Seymour Fleishman

I think I re-found it through AbeBooks but most importantly I have now been lucky enough to share it with my children, along with some others from the same series.

Today's little treasure is this one, 'True Tall Tales of Stormalong: Sailor of the Seven Seas' (by Harold Fenton). Best of all, I was able to order it straight-away and now I can hardly wait to snuggle down under blankets with the children for an adventure on the high seas with these beautiful illustrations, all by Joan Sandin:

Now if anyone can remember/locate a book of children's poems which I think was called 'Happenings' that would be fantastic. There was a poem in it about someone becoming/being a crow, I can't remember it clearly. I do know this, it was an oddly chilling poem which left me anxious every time I read it but I would love to re-read it now to see how I respond as an adult.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. See you on the other side. XXX

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Feature in the Folksy Blog!

I was delighted to be amongst those acting as Folksy Ambassadors at their Christmas Fairs this year and here is the feature giving the highlights of my day in Gloucester with theMADEproject http://frankly.folksy.com/2012/12/05/the-big-christmas-made-market

Feel very shy about it now - life doesn't stop throwing up new challenges does it!? Thank you for reading. :)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Product Photography - Back to School

I know I am not alone with this and am calling out in frustration for help. Anyone setting up online has to meet and tame the dreaded photography monster - at the moment the little beast is getting the better of me.

I have read and re-read pages and pages of tips. I have spoken with photographers who clearly do know what they're doing and I am still struggling.

I diffuse bright natural light. I watch out for hard shadows. I use a camera which allows me to make adjustments (frankly need a course on these) and have had some help getting a basic set-up. I have a tripod - and use it. I have a light-tent for white background shots - and use it (still not brilliant). I AM DOING SOMETHING WRONG.

I need help. Maybe that's all I needed to write in the first place. I'll be back when the fairs are over to tell you how they went and maybe I'll have formed a photo training plan by then. Hope so.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Off with the old and on with the new

One of the things that I have learned over the last year (well almost) since I set up Inkyprints-Originals is that it is important both to build an identifiable brand and keep it fresh. Once the basic portfolio was set then adding to the range of designs and products has been the way forward...and this never stops. Partly driven by creative impulse, partly motivated by commercial imperatives and partly prompted by a product process review, I have been busy carving new designs for a new range. Exciting and fun for me to do.

But what does this mean for the old designs? Well bar a couple, they are all going going gone. That's right - the current pocket notebook is being discontinued. Already? I know. It makes sense though, trust me. I'll be listing the full remaining stock of pocket notebooks on Folksy and Etsy over the next week and hope they fly off to new homes to wait it out for the Christmas cheer.

I have given a few hints on Facebook so it's only fair that I do so here as well, but the full reveal will have to wait a couple more weeks.  I'm looking forward to it.

Feathered friends joining the flock
Flip Flap Floppy with Fish
Can't wait to show you them all soon. Have a lovely weekend. X

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Lino-Love Folksy Friday

I just couldn't help myself, and I'm not about to apologise. I have been indulging in a little bit of Lino-Love over a cuppa. Could do this all day but that would be naughty, and I don't like everyone to know just how naughty I am. Go on, a little of what you fancy does you good and who am I to argue with such an old adage.

James Green Printworks
Helen Maxfield Printmaking

Amanda Colville Linocut Prints

Stuart Brocklehurst - Printmaker

Lovely. All lovely. Thank you xxx

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Goblingate and the swallows

Ok, so time is limited and when I head up to the studio for a printing session I have a target in mind and it makes me all grobbly and cross when I don't make it. My last session was like that and I blamed it on the goblins (in clogs no less) stomping about in the attic. In truth it's probably got a lot more to do with the cooler temperatures affecting the inks than with studio goblins. I suppose. Hrmpf.

Anyway here is a snapshot of what I was up to - there will be lots more of these and they are destined for journals. The swallows themselves are also taking their place in a multi-block limited edition print, but more of that later.

Don't dismiss the notion of studio goblins though - they are real. Oh yes, and mine wear clogs just to make sure I can hear them dancing in their own delight. X

Monday, 17 September 2012

When all the world is still and quiet...

..the pigs come out to fly at night.  Oh yes, I'm having none of this and pigs might fly nonsense. You just need to be a nightowl to know it's true. I have just done this little swine for some fun - I always feel with characters like these that they could be part of some wild and daring adventures. One of these days (or nights in this case) I shall sit down and get the whole story from them, chapter by chapter, to pass on to you...magic carpets, lost arks, cave dwellers and all.

He's not in Folksy yet (or Etsy - oh yes, I've been busy, but more of that in more posts soon - promise) but will be soon. Remember to look up next time you're out late. X

Thursday, 23 August 2012

How to get to Kettering...

Whoops, almost a full month since I last had a chance to catch my breath over a cuppa - it's not right is it, a woman needs tea, and breath for that matter.

So here I am and the holidays have been great - I should have posted about the Peak District  - completely fabulous and kind enough to let me pretend to myself that I'm a walker, not a born walker, but I too can stride and climb...as long as I take it easy on the left knee. My son even let me borrow his much prized thumbstick - think I may have led those around me to believe that I was carrying it for him, but in truth, I liked having summat to lean on!

The days pootle on and we have had fun making circus puppets, creating chalk towns in the garden and generally chilling out together. I have a sense of looming change as the summer mooches towards autumn and have been trying to line up some work plans - it's not as much fun as chalking sandcastles onto an urban patio-beach, but exciting nonetheless.

I am streamlining processes over the next few months, developing the larger journal ranges and introducing a new chunkier notebook as I get the bookbinders more involved. I have also been on the look-out for venues and am happy to say that I should have the Christmas dates soon (don't, I know, it's the 25th, thanks).

In the meantime, I have been back in touch with the Anns of Pennine Fairs and will be exhibiting in the Boughton House Craft and Design Fair this bank holiday weekend - I'll be there on Sunday. It runs from 10 til 5 and promises to be the sunniest of the weekend opportunities so if you're in the Kettering, Geddington area then it would be lovely to meet you....



So then, how best to get to Kettering, right I'm off to google that one.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Fair and back again!

It was the Folksy Fair this weekend and a great success all round. The children came too and loved all of the activities that were available both in Endcliffe Park generally (a really lovely park, open bits, woodsy bits, watery rivery bits, playgrounds and wild bits - perfect) and as part of the Folk Forest event - my son loved the Forest School and is a natural fire-maker, oops. I was too busy to take lots of photos but I did manage a couple of snapshots - here are some views of and from some of the stalls.

General view through the Folksy Forest
My stall on windy Sunday (so no bunting up)
 Butterscotch and Beesting's magical wonderland.

Gorgeous goodies at Nuada Accessories
Fun and Fine China at Mellor Ware

Friday, 20 July 2012

A Fiddle of Folksy Fair-ites

This will be a quickie - still madly getting ready for the FOLKSY FAIR this weekend (Saturday and Sunday 12-8pm both days) at Endcliffe Park in Sheffield as part of the Folk Forest and Tramlines Folk Festival. We are all nestling in a tree lined lane (ok so I am getting romantically ahead of myself as I haven't been yet!) full of Folksy love - the stall tents all huddle up together next to a tarmac path so with trees, shelters, and no muddy paths, it bodes well whatever the weather - but hey, it's going to be SUNNY - so pleased.

I am excited to see who else is going to be there but can give a little sneaky peek at a handful of the lovely designer-makers who will be attending.

Emily Pickle



Jenny Wren

Butterscotch and Beesting
Inkyprints-Originals (sneak preview, not yet in Folksy shop!) 
I have a range of new designs, new journals, and now some magpie prints to add to the Inkyprints-Originals house of hand-printed goodies. The above print, limited edition, is one of the two magpie prints which will be with me at the fair.

Right, time to finish packing the boxes and display stuff - come along if you can, there will be lots of different activities to suit everyone. I think my two children will probably first head for the forestry skills, face-painting and snacks (oh so important!). Whatever happens, am sure it'll be fun. Have a great weekend everyone. x

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

All the fun of the fair.

No, happily for me it is not the whirlygig waltzers kind of fair with wickedly grinning spin-makers ready to make your stomach lurch in fear. Don't get me wrong, I fall for all that lovely slightly spooky but charming nonetheless carnival music, it's just am not a fan of any rides except the dodgems and the carousel (ok, and the big tea-cups are ok too)! Not your bravest individual, clearly. No, I'm thinking more of a different kind of charm altogether - this will be a festival full of finely-tuned folk music, festivities and an art-craft market, all courtesy of The Folk Forest, Tramlines and Folksy.  It is all happening in Sheffield's Endcliffe Park in just over a week on Saturday and Sunday 21/22 July...and I'm going to be there together with the friendly Folksy family and 34 other lovely stalls of  things brightly and beautifully made.


I have obviously been very calmly doing my thing and not at all been a picture of crazed mum all splattered in ink sporting a dangerous smile, not a bit of it. ;P Of course the rest of our little world has decided that now is the perfect time to slip in one or two extra commitments, meetings and appointments and I naturally welcome them all (dangerous smile is back, watch out).

Still, I can see light somewhere and I think the end of the tunnel is lurking close by just waiting for the smile to relax a little. I have been adding a few things to my Inkyprints range to launch at the fair (always wise, I won't hear a word against this plan) so there will be some new larger journals, some limited edition hard-back journals and some art prints to go along with the more familiar stock. Phew. I'm saving the reveal for the Fair itself, so pics will be after that...I might manage a sneaky peek soon, but just a little one mind!

I have also been working on the presentation side of the business and am delighted with some bits and bobs coming together - these include my new event banner:

...do you know, I think I really am looking forward to it now. I'm breathing again and hey, that smile has softened at last too. 

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Birmingham Printmakers Open Studios

I tweeted, I FB'd it, I even old-fashioned talked about it without a gadget involved at all..and now I will blog it to complete the circle. On Saturday we had a wonderful time at the Birmingham Printmakers Open Studios.

We set up the studio with beautiful mini-stalls for the artists to display their hand-printed artwork, notebooks, artists' books, cards, gift-wrap, textiles and more! All this alongside the framed artwork on the walls and unframed original work in all the print browsers. There were nibbles and drinks and a lot of cheery chatter while people came to mingle, to enquire about membership, to watch printmaking demos, to rummage and happily to buy both artwork and gifts. Here are a couple of snaps I took when we set up and a couple during, and in the background you can see some of the gorgeous equipment...I love presses, brayers, silkscreens and ink slabs!

Some of the member printmakers present and artwork represented:
Jacqui Dodds; Christine Bradshaw; Mike Allison; Jackie Rankin; Ann Irby Crews; Phil Wilkinson; Victoria Linehan ; Fiona Humphrey; Catherine Bowdler; Sarah Ray; Jo Ruth; Chris Doran...but these are just some of the members with work on display, there is always much more available through the print browsers or hanging framed ready for purchase on the walls throughout the studio.

Christine Bradshaw
Mike Allison demonstrating lino printing. 
If you are interested in doing a workshop or becoming a member, please take a look at: http://birminghamprintmakers.org/

I am delighted that we all had such a good turnout and thrilled that I sold a couple of framed intaglio collagraph original prints as well as work from my Inkyprints-Originals range. A good day all round.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Caught on the hop...

...just as I was giving myself a few too many excuses for not having blogged in over a week, I popped on to find that the very lovely Stef at http://jaysmonkey.blogspot.co.uk had nipped in to nominate me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you Stef.

There is something of the chain letter about these things but they also serve to widen our online appreciation and get to know others better when we follow the links. I am grateful for being thought of for this award but if anyone on my list isn't happy to go ahead with it, then I also understand that perfectly. x

The Rules

1. Add the award to your blog.

2. Thank the blogger(s) who gave it to you.

3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.
4. List the rules.
5. Award to 15 bloggers.
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.

Ok, so now for the hard bit - 7 random things off the top of my head - truly, otherwise I'll go mad over-thinking it:

1) I can produce an unnaturally high ear-splitting beep. Why? Don't ask me, it started when I was young and now my children love to make me do it.
2) I am double-jointed in both thumbs.
3) My favourite sweets are Lions midget gems - the real ones, not the pretend 'original' ones in the supermarkets. The original Lions gems are fruitier, harder and the black ones are liquorice flavoured.
4) I've never tried sushi and probably never will.
5) I find the Waltzers scary. Really.
6) I love walking in heavy rain. Well sometimes.
7) Ticking clocks drive me potty and I hide them under cushions to muffle the noise.

....phew, too late, they're done...and here are my chosen 15 bloggers:

1) http://jacquidodds.blogspot.co.uk/
2) http://littlebrickhouseclayworks.blogspot.co.uk/
3) http://noodlebubble.blogspot.co.uk/
4) http://mandyhills.blogspot.com/
5) http://amz-afewofmyfavouritethings.blogspot.co.uk/
6) http://ello-design.blogspot.co.uk/
7) http://redbrickglass.blogspot.co.uk/
8) http://marievickersart.blogspot.co.uk/
9) http://sayitsays.blogspot.co.uk/
10) http://foundinkeswick.blogspot.co.uk/
11) http://handmade-by-edwina.blogspot.co.uk/
12) http://www.helenlimbrick.com/
13) http://dabandadash.blogspot.co.uk/
14) http://audreyscat.blogspot.co.uk/ *
15) http://dottiedesigns.blogspot.co.uk/ *

*Already awarded (there may be others, if so, sorry) but I had to include in my list because I do visit these regularly. No-one can expect you to do the list thing again, but it is nice to be mentioned. X

Sunday, 17 June 2012

In between times

I am in the middle of completing commissions, printing fresh stock to send out to galleries (great news), and generally getting ready for things coming up soon (more in another post), and  I find myself distracted by images I want to pursue.

I promised myself I would concentrate on getting Inkyprints-Originals established with a portfolio and stock base before heading back into art for art's sake, but I need to do some and I think it will be good for me and for Inkyprints if I let myself. I have been wanting to do a series of bird prints for quite a while - I had collagraphs and drypoints in mind, but I think I'll do some in linocut as well. I am sure that there is room for some linocut prints in my Inkyprints range and hope that they will complement the notebooks and other stationery.

Here are a few of my sketches.  I love all of the bad-boy birds: crows, rooks, magpies etc (jackdaws are a real treat, but we don't have any near us) - I think it's the sense that they have attitude that I like.

I have a messy loose style when sketching - quite different from the graphic qualities of linocut, which is why I have previously caught them in drypoint. It'll be a challenge giving them new life, I'm looking forward to it - oh, and it'll take time (mum stuff has to come first) but I'll post the results eventually!

I'm hoping to see some more birds today - we're off to a Falconry display in a minute - a Father's Day treat (there will be coffee and cake in a cafe I'm sure)  - hard to get good pictures when they're in flight, but it'll be fun trying.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Time to start saving up.

I've been very busy this weekend juggling my way through a schedule of competing printmaking tasks but it's been great to tick them off and make room for more work - in my studio as well as my head.

Apart from finishing a wedding commission set, I also printed my dala rocking horse linocut onto notebook covers - these are delicious in cherry red - moving onto gift/wedding favour boxes in rose, white, plum and cherry (more colours to come) - labels and bunting were not forgotten either - so altogether, well over a hundred impressions which isn't bad given that we also managed an outing with the children to take advantage of the clear skies!

As the prints took their places on the drying lines, and then the shelves, and then every flat surface available...I came to the decision that it's definitely time to save up for a couple of free-standing drying racks to augment my trusty suspended lines. Printmaking studio racks can be very very costly once you've exhausted more purse-friendly options so I'd better start scouting ebay tonight.

Half-term is over, the downhill run of summer term is here - it's all school trips and fairs, picnics in the park and general winding down until the clock only whispers through the long holidays. Am looking forward to it.

Friday, 1 June 2012

List Bliss - Folksy Friday

I have been a mad monkey recently, spinning round trying to get ideas out of the sky and back on the ground before they disappear on a cloud.

To do this, I write lists and I jot them down wherever I'm standing, so I have notebooks in every room, smuggled into every bag, lurking in drawers and generally making a lovely nuisance of themselves....if only they could always keep a pencil by their sides, but am afraid the children see these as fair game and I have to hang onto pencils as if they were made of gold!

I'm lucky I guess - as a printmaker of notebooks I have an endless supply of my own  - all trials and proofs go into home circulation, waste not want not. All this list making helped this week's Folksy Friday find its own theme - I want to celebrate some of the other printmakers on Folksy - so this one's for my fellow listmakers and all those who love their paper to be pretty as well as practical.

Jacqui Dodds £8
Peony and Thistle £6
Lisa Durrant £15
Sarah Bays Original Prints £7
Bread and Jam £11.50
FinestImagery £4
Debbie Osborn Art Studio £18
Now then, where's that pencil I had earlier...?

Monday, 28 May 2012

Weekend Break

Just had a really lovely weekend break, - nowhere fancy - at home, out&about, picnics in the park, exploring round Sarehole Mill (again - it's a family favourite), mooching about the house hunting down the cool spots. But it was more than that - it was a break away from work, and I needed it and at a guess, I reckon we all did.
 I work at weekends because I don't have much time during the week - but this weekend showed me again how much fun we all have together when we're just chilling out and I have missed it - a lot. I need to make sure this happens more regularly, although not necessarily with wellies on in the hottest part of the day!

So it's time to streamline - the ranges and the processes. My work is becoming more popular, which is fantastic so I need to spend more time printmaking, developing the ranges and less time on some other aspects of the process - it's called out-sourcing or some other such horrible management speak term. I'll let you know, but am talking book-binders, nothing sinister (a nicer bunch would be hard to find lol). Talks are underway, but it's still at the cauldron stage. No magic answer yet, but at least I know it's in the air.

Also trying to get some more general album shots together for work marketing - 'feel' photos I suppose, and this one is just the start:

Now I must get back to making up Jubilee Bunting - not for sale, this is for us...the children have been potato-printing red white and blue and now it's time for the string and glue! Big family party this weekend and some time away together...we need the jubilee jazz to be in place before we go or they will never forgive me after all their effort!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Studio61 near Matlock

I recently sent some of my hand-printed notebooks and art-flag bunting over to Karina Goodman's gorgeous gallery boutique and if you take a peek over here on Facebook you will see some lovely goodies nestled in the gallery shop along with my art-flag bunting in one of the window shots. Thanks Karina!


I am looking forward to popping over some time over the next couple of months - hopefully it will still be as sunny as it clearly was when these pics were taken, lovely!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Honesty seeds

I have been experimenting with bookbinding papers. I recently printed up a new linocut design based on honesty seedheads - they're so beautiful. I am allowing myself to play with colours although am still drawn to plums, greys, greens and mustard. Moriki Kozo is another handmade Japanese paper - gorgeous to look at and touch, it is a dream to use for printmaking and with lovely strong fibres yet great pliability, it is also great for bookbinding.

I am very much at the practising-until-I-get-this-perfect stage right now, so anything I show on here is mine all mine lol. I will be selling these soon though, but I want to be sure that I've got the process just so before getting Folksy about it all.

It's not a bad start, and I love the way the mustard paper almost looks gold contrasted against the purple bookcloth. This will fill up soon enough with sketches, ideas and lists no doubt. A5 size, it'll be the smallest that I do with papers like this - albums and larger journals/sketchbooks are on my to-do list.