apple stars

Any excuse (but the weather's a great one) to dry things in front of the stove.  We have been drying all kinds of things recently, ranging from wet dogs to pants (fresh from the wash of course)...

Here are the off cuts from the apple rings, which dry very well but are eaten straight away so no real element of 'preserving' involved, more just scoffing.  As if there isn't enough of that going on already.

Anyway, I like my little apple stars.

Happy end of 2011.


nothing about Christmas here

I love a bit of Christmas fun and seasonal joy as much as anyone else, but I made a start on my Christmas cards and stock for galleries in August and this was the result of last weeks dressing up day at school.  I can't decide whether we are now getting ready for next Halloween or whether we are one season behind everybody else and will therefore be eating mince pies in April.

I was, however, very pleased with the puzzled looks from passing motorists as we strolled down to school in full 'mummy' costume on a day that the rest of the infant school were busy practicing to be sheep/angels/little donkeys.

I have a feeling that the class teacher may be having a quiet chuckle to himself as he sends the letters home, but will be looking forward to the next dressing up challenge...


lovely lino

 A happy weekend spent lino printing at Paper Village in Bristol with such fantastic results and lots of enthusiasam from all the participants!  Some people were very creative already, others claimed to be unable to even draw, but everybody got stuck in and we were all pretty impressed and even amazed with the prints by the end...

...a huge range of different inspirations and isn't lino just the best technique ever?  I love it, had you noticed...



I'm having such a great but busy time at the moment, printing, packaging and delivering.  I'm having another of my phases of feeling VERY strongly about the benefits of art and craft galleries existing in real life (not just online) and the amazing work they do promoting and selling so many artists and makers work.   Some of my galleries have stocked my work for over ten years now and have introduced sooooo many customers to my work in that time, which means I don't have to do too many art markets and fairs out in the cold at this time of year and can quietly get on with printing instead!  And I think another big thing is that I love visiting and discovering all the independent galleries in towns around the country, I find it so exciting...let me know which great galleries are near you too, so that we can all pay a visit.

Enough ranting, but raaaaaaa!  If you can visit an art or craft gallery in a real life shop this week, then do it and even if you only buy a small pottery mouse for £3.50 after spending an hour browsing through all the print racks it can only be a good thing...

(and by the I'm not denying the importance of online selling either because it is the whole set of outlets that let so many artists make a living all around the world)


angel factory

Yes, really.  I'm mass producing angels.

The angels and their friend the deer are now in my Folksy shop.  If they don't sell fast enough I expect that I will get more and more 'seasonal' and decide to add glitter to boost their tinsel appeal, but at the moment they are striking, bold and untouched by the sparkly stuff...


exhibition season

Exhibition: Artfull Storytellers

With Christmas fast approaching lots of galleries are busy hanging their seasonal exhibitions RIGHT NOW.  They are all up ladders, polyfillering and painting ready for the off, probably working late into the night trying to hang pictures in straight lines to get it all ready for the private view on Friday!

I've got two sets of work in exhibitions opening this weekend, both in beautiful rural galleries, which is fantastic as it means I get to spend the day pottering round in the countryside.

First is the exhibition "Artful Storytellers" at Otterton Mill, which is a great mix of 3D and 2D work including ceramics and automatons as well as illustrations and runs through until January.  I've got a selection of framed and unframed work showing as part of this exhibition.

Then across at Redearth Gallery is the "Printjoy" exhibition, running until 11th December.  There I have linoprints as well as cards, tea towels and canvas bags.  The whole exhibition is an exciting mix of printmaking too, including textiles, ceramics and jewelry and I think I will find this one pretty tempting as I can't resist an exhibition of printmaking!


multiples of everything

I'm really enjoying having multiples of everything at the moment - squashes, apples, onions, potatoes and as it's still so warm we have several quails eggs each day.  It means I don't have to think about meals until ten minutes before cooking time and I can also be very negligent about ever visiting shops as there is always something hearty to eat on a damp autumn evening.

Tonight we are off to the local fireworks display and I'm sure multiple sausages in rolls will be consumed...


perfect day for sorting out...

Every time I've gone outside today I've got wet, despite the spells of sunshine in between. 
The only way today is to stay in and sort things out!  

Lots of prints are now wrapped in cellophane, boxes of prints are now in rough 'themes' so I might find what I'm looking for for a brief week or too before the muddles reassert themselves and I'm even looking at proper paperwork with the thought it could all be done by the end of the day...

...or I could veer off into the kitchen and finish off all the preserving and odds and ends that I mean to do before winter ...


printing cards today

I'm torn this week between the call of the soil and the call of the printing ink.  Today the ink has won and I've done a huge batch of cards ready to take to Bristol Museum and Art Gallery later in the week - but it's SOOOO sunny,  I think it's going to have to be a digging day tomorrow...

A lovely new shop has opened in Wincanton if you are in that area, called "Jessica's House" they have some great local artists work (I've managed to sneak a bit of mine in too!) so really well worth a visit if you can...


printing with children

I've been monoprinting this week and it's been great fun.  I love this technique because a scribble looks great and so really young children and adults who say they can't draw can all go home with some great art!

The younger participants did some fantastic snow scenes/under water pictures and drawing around hand designs and the more experienced artists (but still under the age of 8) really had a great time and got very experimental by the end.  Who wouldn't want to take that elephant home?

Lets hope no-one wants to sit down this evening...



Here are some lovely spotty ladybirds that I printed a while ago, for no reason except to remind you about my insect giveaway, which ends at 12 noon on Friday, so just time for you to leave me an insecty comment!  Good luck.


weekend work

It was such a lovely weekend and we spent a lot of it at the allotment pottering around in the sunshine.  Several squashes that had been passed over as far too late to come to anything have managed to ripen themselves up nicely as well in this mild spell which is a great bonus - squashes are my main allotment obsession and nothing is more satisfying than not being able to carry them all home.

There is still time to enter my insect giveaway  which is running until midday on 21st October (I promise no live insects will be sent to you if you are the winner) so why not leave a comment there too?



Look it's my first giveaway!!  I'm excited and I can't even enter...

The giveaway is for this 'Dungbeetle' canvas bag - and who wouldn't want to put their shopping into a bag decorated with a ball of poo?

There might even be a couple of other insect related goodies tucked inside for the lucky winner.  All you have to do is leave me a comment (preferably with an insect related anecdote/fact/joke) and a winner will be chosen by the random method of a small child pulling numbers out of a hat (or more likely a bowl, but I'll leave the exact container a mystery for now...) on Friday 21st October.  How simple.

This is an insect giveaway though, so if you hate insects or have a phobia it may not be the giveaway for you...



lino blocks

I thought you might like to see the lino block for 'Cat on Stilts' (well the cat part of it anyhow).  It was one of the images on my previous post, so I wont put that up again, you'll have to scroll down...

Lino blocks often look pretty interesting to me, especially once they have been inked up and a couple of galleries have even asked me to frame up the block alongside prints for shows.  I never have though.  It is a great way of showing people how you make the print!  I was just sharpening up the cat fur in this picture which is why he's covered with 'bits'.

Next post is giveaway post, my first, how exciting.  A clue - it is going to be a useful insect...


ready to go...

A happy day spent up to my elbows in bubblewrap and packing tape.  I'm sending out lots of work to galleries in the next couple of weeks, topping up my fantastic regular stockists and also (fingers crossed) trying three new galleries this Autumn which is very exciting.  I'll let you know who they are once the work is on the way...

Todays parcel is for the gallery at Snape Maltings, who have shown my work for quite a few years now.  If you are in the right part of the country Snape Maltings is well worth a visit, there is always something going on - farmers markets, boat trips, brilliant childrens activities - as well as the concert hall (and gallery!)

I'm sending a few framed and also a big batch of unframed prints - here a couple of my current favourites (are you allowed to have favourites of your own work?) "Malodorous animals" and...

..."Cat on Stilts"...

I can feel an early autumn giveaway coming soon too...


aren't people clever?

I taught a beginners lino printing course last weekend and thought I should show you some of the results.  Everyone was a true beginner and they really went for it, with only a few moments of 'blank page' nerves!

Above is a sheet printed with the test pieces of lino, for trying out tools and getting a feel for cutting before tackling the 'real' thing, but don't they all look great printed together.

Then everyone got stuck in and we all managed to have something printed by the end.  Hurrah.  No blood and no tears.

(In case you think I was being incredibly mean and giving the poor students super bumpy paper to print on, these photos are of the prints they made on the walls of the shop.  Yep, they'd printed all the paper, card and tissue and moved onto the walls....it was that kind of workshop)

I'll be running another of these courses at Paper Village in Bristol on 27th November if you are around. Might be useful for those moved to make their own cards etc for that looming day of the year!


free food

This year a lot of plants have appeared in our garden and allotment that have self seeded.  Once I recognize what the seedling is trying to be I tend to just leave them to get on with it unless they are really in the way.  It's also really interesting to see when they naturally germinate, especially when compared with the ones I am trying to force to grow in little pots way out of season.

This year there was so much self seeding going on that I can only put it down to a complete lack of weeding meaning that everything was pretty well established before I got there.  We had five or six sunflowers in the garden, which had much bigger flowers than the ones we lovingly grew on a windowsill.  We now have five well established alpine strawberry plants which have fruited solidly for the whole summer and are still going now (the one in the swede patch is a little hard to get to, what with all the netting, but worth it for that taste).

And we have tomatoes.  Literally hundreds of cherry tomatoes, mainly yellow and mostly growing in what was the pea patch.  They are sweet and delicious and out performing everything in pots in the garden.  Now we are on a full tomato diet as they will end as soon as the weather turns and people are starting to complain about tomatoes with tomato sauce for dinner again...I love it because they taste great and are all free...

...so I have 'sun-dried' several trays full in the oven, put pints of yellow pasta sauce in the freezer and tonight we have made yellow tomato ketchup.


lino printing workshop

This weekend I will be running a lino printing workshop at Paper Village in Bristol as part of their HUGE printing project.

It is running this Autumn with workshops in nearly everything printwise.  I'll be there this Saturday though, helping people get to grips with the tools and hopefully not wiping up too much blood...


printing and vegetables

We've picked a lot of things from the allotment and garden because, quite frankly, the weather is rubbish.  A busy week or so ahead and pretty uninspiring weather forecasts have led us to believe that the veg would be better off at home, in the warm and dry, despite needing a little burst of sunshine to finish off ripening...

That means I have to share my printing space with hundreds of green tomatoes.

I feel a print coming on...


as happy as a quail...

Quails like the small things in life (woodlice, worms, seeds etc) and are often to be heard chiruping away to themselves with delight when presented with a new bowl of sand to bathe in or a bowl of leftover rice from last nights tea.

Nothing gets them more worked up than a bunch of burstingly ripe elderberries though.

I'm sure they can feel the Autumn goodness giving them a little boost to keep their lovely eggs coming for a bit longer before they start to moult and settle down for a winter snuggled on top of their hot water bottles.

Watch out to the right though Speckeldy because Eagle has just spotted what you have got...


fabulous fibre

My family have had a thing about fibre for a while now, first my grandad and then my mother and I think it may have worked its way through to me too.  Many a happy weekend in my childhood was spent looking around carpet factories and spinning mills (not so many of those around these days) and the sound of the knitting machine lulled me to sleep through my childhood.

So this tea towel, while slightly obscure to some, seems almost inevitable to me and surely we all need to celebrate the strange places we can get fibre from?

If you sit still with a spinning wheel in a public place then it will not be long before someone comes over to ask whether you can spin the dog hair they have been carefully saving every time Shep/Fluffles/Fang has a big moult (the polite answer being that you have an awful lot on for the next ten years...) but there are some equally strange animals that do supply fibre in real life, and probably some as equally smelly.

Crumpled enough?


preparations for winter

We have rearranged our house in readiness for winter - sofas are now both in the room with the stove, dining table and pretending to sit round it and have meaningful discussions banished to front of house.  We are ready.  We are eating tea sitting on the floor waiting for the temperature to drop...

Hopefully we will have a couple of weeks to wait, as we are still picking and digging at the allotment and the elderberries and tomatoes are nearly ripe and we've got a whole list of things we haven't yet done this summer but will be cramming into the next two weeks, but then...


ello design


Folksy Wednesday Wishlist #8

After a week off, the Wednesday Wishlist returns with a veggie theme! My grandparents used to have a lot of vegetables in their garden; tomatoes, potatoes, runner beans etc. so this blog is inspired by them and their love of gardening/vegetables :) enjoy

Great to have my Allotment teatowel featured by Leanne on her blog feature "Folksy Wednesday Wishlist", this week all with a veggie theme.  Yummy items, especially love the peas in a pod, have a look at the whole selection here.


victorian gardening

I've been looking through a fantastic book filled with gardening tools from days gone by, strange pointy things which look beautiful but which we somehow manage without these days.  Lots are still very much needed however, but are now often not quite so stylish as their handmade older relatives.  Some just sound painful and are not for the squeamish...


summer snacks

No one asks me for snacks at home anymore because they know what they will be offered...

I have a strong squirreling instinct and it extends to many things (okay, mostly food).  Why plant ten pea plants when I can plant fifty and fill the freezer with peas and dry some for the winter?  Why plant enough onions for a few weeks of feasting when I could plant a couple of hundred and have onions for every meal well into the next year?

I think some would say the fact that I live in a small house and have zero storage space for two hundred onions and tens of kilos of potatoes should be a consideration and the fact that drying the onions means that we all have to leap the length of the kitchen because the floor is completely covered and we now can barely cook anything unless you have arms like Mr Tickle (only in the evening - I take my onions out for an airing everyday before breakfast and bring them in later, unless it looks like rain...).

I do like the philosophy of those who buy the cheaper, space taking vegetables from shops and concentrate on the more expensive, unusual or must be eaten the second they are picked ones on their allotments, but I just can't do it - I have to plant the lot, in triplicate.  It's the squirreling thing...


folksy cards

I've added a few hand printed cards to my Folksy shop today if you fancy having a look...

There's been a flurry of printing going on here as this weekend is Bristol Harbour Festival and Nails Gallery have kindly said that they will take along some of my goodies as there will be an Art Market there on Saturday and Sunday at Welsh Back.  Lets hope it will be glorious sunshine, I think we'll be lucky...

dalek bunting

Middle sized boys with birthdays don't really like frilly, flowery bunting so this years solution to 'how to turn the lounge into a birthday grotto' was DALEK BUNTING.  Seemed to go down well and we did manage to sneek the odd pink Dalek in too....


picture swaps...

One of the great things about doing art fairs and craft fairs and open house trails and all the other lovely events where artists and makers get together is that sometimes you manage to pull off a fantastic swap.

Over the years I have swopped all kinds of things and I find that the items somehow take on a greater worth than if I had just bought them - two people who both enjoy/value/admire each others work manage to get together and have a sideways conversation (or sometimes a direct ask, but then how awkward is it to say 'No'?  That looks like I don't like your work or think mine is worth lots more or some other difficult scenario) and that leads to decisions about which pieces of work could be equivalent in terms of a swap and just sometimes it all works out really well.

This is my latest swap, with Caroline Watson, who is a painter.  How many tea towels could I give her for a painting?

Luckily for me she has also done a small series of lino prints, so when chatting away at a local arts trail we somehow ended up in full swop mode.

...and how happy we both are with the result.  I hardly ever buy other lino printers work, although there are so many I really, really admire and I would love an example of their work of my own and it is a medium I am so drawn to at every art show...and now I have these fabulous creatures living with me here!

Caroline chose an unframed print of my "Crowds get bigger towards the back" and  seemed equally pleased.

Hurray for picture swaps.  Do have a look at Caroline's paintings too...