Monday, December 18, 2006

Feeling a l'il Christmasey...


This year we improvised and made a tree from my tailor's dummy...

Complete with twinkling fairy lights...

Baubles...and a heart....sweeet!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


If you ask me...I'll say "Yes", Parts 1 & 2, 2005.

Household paint, c'aran d'ache pastel, coloured pancil, oil bar and collage on sugar paper.

Here's a detail. Thoughts about windows of opportunity and fleeting moments. Of willing things to happen that don't happen and then wondering why...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Retrospective...

The weather here has been so grey! But I told myself next time there was a sunny patch I would get my portfolio out and catalogue all of my work...



Untitled, 2005. Acrylic, household paint, oil bar, caran d'ache pastel and ink on canvas. 27" x 27". One of the few pieces I have hanging in my home...about being in a perfect moment.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


My new obsession over the past few weeks has been making envelopes from old maps...I just haven't been able to stop myself - they are everywhere! It's one of those completely soothing, repetitive and almost mindless things...but the end product is soooo beautiful! If anyone would like to recieve a bundle of these for free and with love I will gladly send you some, just drop me a line.

Here we are...



Finally finished...my barkcloth skirt! We had a few l'il hiccups along the way...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Also today...thrifting!


Despite being in a really cranky mood this morning I ventured out into the rain to go and visit my fave charity shops. I managed to find these 4 lovely fabrics which really perked me up! The purple/orange rose fabric is the best, it has a 50's vibe to it and is just asking to be made into a summer dress! The cherry blossom one with the blue-tit was a reaally good find as it was folded so that the birds were hidden. It really made me smile when I opened it out and there were birds too! I loves birds.

Other things that made me smile today were...

+ a free bar of Green & Blacks chocolate from Borders that I forgot about and then found in a bag and then devoured with tea
+ walking in the rain listening to Grizzly Bear and Inlets really loudly to try and blow the cobwebs out my brain!
+ being able to snooze during the day if I like cos I'm off work for a few days...yay!

If you're reading this I hope you enjoy listening to this track by Inlets as much as I did and that something nicemade you smile today too!

Inlets - Pictures of Trees

me + knitting = tears

So, it has been my lifelong ambition to be able to knit. I don’t know what it is that I like about it. I always used to sit and watch my nan and she could go so fast...clickety-click...clickety-clack...it was really something amazing to watch. She could turn out a jumper in no time! As a child both my mum and my nan had made attempts to help me get to grips with the process - mainly resulting in the same ball of cheap pink wool being used over and over to make the same scarf full of dropped stitches and wonky edges and floods of frustrated tears.

Last year saw knitting become really fashionable again so my interest in knocking out a couple of jumpers and hats a week was reawakened. Having bought myself a ‘beginners guide’ knitting book to help me get through the basics I spent hours trying to master the art of just making something...just a square...anything! Only to end up with a big pile of knots, enraged by not being able to get through the first few pages of the book. At 28 you’d think I’d have found a little more patience by now, but no, am more likely to throw it across the room!

Again this year whilst looking through some truly amazing blogs I really wanted to have another go at it. I have these ambitions of being able to create these stunning, quirky items that look like they were bought in a shop for lots of £££! I leafed through some books in Borders and my heart was jumping for joy at a pattern for a capelet with sleeves and crochet corsage...but I put that book back down not wanting a nervous breakdown. The book did have a very simple suggestion for beginners wanting to create something simple, delicate...and fast! Make a scarf using a very fine wool on large needles. What a fabulous idea! I had already resigned this months knitting attempts to the bin despite my mum popping round and advising me on how to purl - which was a revelation - it still ended in a big pile of knots. Then I came across this lovely pale pink mohair in a local charity shop and, well, I just had to buy it and attempt to complete just something.



Currently it’s far too wide and I have managed to create another 6 stitches out of thin air but I am quite enjoying its delicate, rustic charm. Let's see how it goes.





I also started to make a felt anemone corsage to pin it together, with sweet little pieces of coral as the stamens!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Other things to have manifested themselves from the 'dark ages'...

My first good a-line skirt! I have had this urge to experiment with making my own clothes recently...having been a thrift fan for my whole life (mum had a good eye for tat) I enjoy finding things and altering them to make a fab new outfit, but what is it with these charity shop prices these days!!??! Why would I pay £5 for a dress that is falling apart at the seams?! I really seem to have lost the plot completely with general high street shopping too. Most of it is just rubbish. Over priced, dull fabric - what is this obsession with grey for goodness sake?? Maybe I am just getting old? So a while back I bought ‘Yeah! I made it myself!’ by Eithne Farry I really liked its ‘just get some fabric and chop it up’ aesthetic and it really encouraged me to hack something up and the results weren’t that bad! After having my sewing machine gathering dust these past few years I suddenly have the sewing bug again. So I bought Wendy Mullen’s ‘Sew U’ and had a go at making something from a pattern and made this a-line skirt from an old sheet...not bad! Didn’t bother to do the hem as wasn’t going to wear it. Just a practice with facings really!



Next up came this beauty with my repro depot fabric which is fully lined. Despite the first zip I put in breaking when I went to try it on (had a tantrum) I managed to get another one in even though the fabric is really delicate. It looks great over jeans!




This was the previous skirt I made for work from a pattern I adjusted from ‘Yeah!’...



Just black for work. But I really liked the way the corners kicked out so much more than the Sew U one so I have now taken the kicking corners off of my ‘Yeah!’ pattern and taped them onto the Sew U pattern and am currently in the midst of making a new version, lined, from vintage barkcloth. Just the hem and zip to do and I will show the results!

Sketches...

We now have occasional hot water and some heat upstairs so I have been able to stand sitting here to put together what's been happening creatively over the past couple of horrid weeks...



...a little bit of sketching



...nothing finished as yet just some otherworldly sketches following on from 'Let go'...hopefully to be completed soon...watch this space!

Recently I have been living in the dark ages...

Basically, our boiler has broke! And is still, partly. It has been cold, cold, COLD in this house!! There has been no hot water to clean anything...no hot radiators to warm me and dry the clothes I cannot get dry outside!! ARGH! This makes me miserable as I hate to be cold. Have spent most of the time shut in the kitchen/dining room...heated only by the oven...bathing has involved standing in the bath with a bucket of hot water. All the walls have been running with condensation due to all of the giant saucepans full of water bubbling all day long...it’s like living in the bloody dark ages!! Also, trying to post has been a nightmare...what's been up with blogger?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Fabric heaven...mmm...



Well, my small order from repro depot finally arrived! Came across an add for this reproduction vintage fabric company in a magazine and was really overwhelmed by the selection of simply fabulous fabrics!! I decided to get two different fabrics sent over, the floral one is total vintage bedsheet chic! Just a couple of yards of each, enough to make a couple of skirts and have fun with the scraps.



My current obsession is making a-line skirts...but my sewing is a little haphazard and I haven’t yet managed to make anything I feel completely happy with...watch this space...have just started to pin the pattern to the floral...

Also found some really lovely cottons on wooden spools whilst out thrifting with my sweets today...sadly nothing else to report...a very poor show on the old tat front! Spent most of the day resisting things I have no room/use for...ugh!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Untitled...work in progress...



Well, it’s a beautifully sunny yet freezing cold day...and a day off for me! My sweet has gone off to work super early so it’s a good day for me to get up and about and get creative. I have been playing like anything all morning, especially now I have my new Kodak V705 to help me blog away. Thought I would start by disgracing myself and showing my work space. Well, it’s just a pile really! Most art work actually happens on the floor...all sewing happens downstairs on the dining table until I get me another work table. I will tidy it up today. Promise.



This is my collage in progress for the past couple of days. I had a bunch of old black frames that have been lying around for years that I unearthed the other week. This was the starting point for ‘Let go’...just making something small but more significantly permanent. It’s important for me to start fixing things down...my tendency is always to make things semi-permanent so I can dismantle things and reassemble into another piece - losing any sense of documentary. Pointless really as I have boxes and folders full of pieces to put together and I constantly accumulate more stuff. I will continue with this series of small collages until I run out of frames then maybe look for a small venue to show them.



Cutting paper is the best part of the process for me - I find it so relaxing sitting and cutting. I spent this morning dismembering a couple of supplements with amazing colours and images for future collage. They made quite a stunning display in themselves...

I’m off for spicy lentil soup and a big stack of toast coz it's too brrrrrr!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Let go!



They say the first post is always the hardest...trying to find your voice amongst the million trillion other blogs out there feels very daunting right now!

Will anyone read what I write? Does anyone care!?

Anyways, the starting point for me writing this blog has really come from being really interested in a number of other, creative minded peoples blogs. I have felt in the recent weeks a need to get my head together. I am a creative minded person who has floundered around for a number of years since finishing art school, not really making anything permanent and of substance and accepting that this is what I need to do with my life and I need to get on with it, like, NOW!

Finding that overall ‘work/life balance’ has been a really hard thing. My job often demands that I work long hours. It’s a physical, on my feet kinda job too which leaves me feeling quite exhausted and severely unmotivated when it comes to getting creative! Recently, instead of just coming home and curling up and snoozing I have really pushed myself to look at things I find inspirational, fire up my mind and start a sketch or just use my hands to start to create...it’s been hard but I am really starting to feel the benefits. Instead of having wakeful, restless nights sleep I nights of blissful nights sleep where I dream of travelling to beautiful places and making wondrous objects - in my waking life I am relaxed yet awake in a completely different way!

So I guess this blog is about finding the beginnings of how all of my creative interests work together to make something of substance and interest. To let go of all of the doubts I have about myself and my abilities. To draw together my art, my craft and my love of music and be able to watch things mutate - like a sketchbook. I want people to see the things I make and pass comment on them...so if you happen to stumble upon this blog and see me worrying about my latest painting or dithering about if the skirt I just made is the right length then please let me know what you think, it’s important to me!

This is mytune of the day...for all those people getting creative on a sunny, sunday afternoon...

Paul Duncan - Oil in the Fields