You know there is still just time for you to buy a print from my Folksy shop if you live in the UK don't you? - or a tea towel, or a canvas bag - it really would save a trek around the shops in the rain listening to Slade and fighting your way through a jungle of tinsel and mince pies...just saying...although you may well have got all that sort of thing organised already... I haven't - eeeeek!
This is where I'll be today and next Saturday - fancy coming along - I'm extra really excited today because this market is in the Speigeltent and it is an amazing space - come and have a look for the tent alone if you are passing Bristol at all (and if you want a lino print while you are there I really won't complain!).
Just take a look at all these lovely goodies that you could win!! all you have to do is pop over to Little Green Shed and follow the instructions...well worth the effort if it means you might win ALL of these great things in one huge pre-Christmas bundle...worth the effort especially because you can choose any one of my tea towels to add to the prize - hurrah.
I've had a lovely time designing a tea towel for Maldon in Essex and today the whole boxful are setting off for the tourist information centre in the town. Maldon has everything - churches, boats, anglo saxons, swans and seagulls - what a great town!!
But wow, what a gloomy week - I really can't get a photo of the whole tea towel - one end is always lost in the mist when I try so I think it will be much quicker if you pop over to Maldon yourself and take a look at them in real life, is that alright?
I'm teaching another lino printing course in Bristol soon, if you fancy coming a long - just in time for printing your christmas cards/bunting/stockings (although Christmas printing is not required, if you want to print summer scenes or 50's patterns that can all be accommodated too!). We can print on anything you'd like, just bring it along...and if you are an improver we can have a go at many coloured prints too if you like, just let Vic at Papervillage (0117 9639452) know if you've got something you really want to try!
It was so sunny and warm today that I ran off to the allotment instead of doing the things I was supposed to be doing (packaging things up - I'm not a machine...).
It occured to me whilst there that I am now harvesting loads more than I did all summer.
Today I picked:
Peas (late sowing and they tasted bitter, but harvested they were)
Parsnips (big ones - hurrah - I couldn't wait any longer to look)
Cape Gooseberries (not ripe and probably never will be as it was such a cool year, but maybe in the bay window...)
Grass and clover (for the guinea pigs, I'm not a forager)
and all the winter onions and garlic have started growing properly now, keep coming sunshine...
I've just listed some insect prints in my Etsy shop so if you haven't had a look there for a little while why not pop over and take a look....beetles, ants and moths have arrived today and they will soon be joined by some other many legged friends.
I find all these little mini beasts pretty fascinating and have filled a fair number of sketch books with insect and spider doodlings over the years. I'm hoping that perhaps now they are about to become the next big thing...watch out insectphobes...but then again I got it so wrong with the goats...
Birthdays this year were deemed to be 'bedspread birthdays', but not everyone appreciates the delicate birds nest/oak leaf designs from Holly on Spoonflower so thank goodness for the single bed sized Periodic Table.
I like them both because the designs are so great that sewing in a straight line for a couple of hours results in a fantastic bedspread, with minimal effort from me, perfect! (Please don't comment re: the fact that the sewing lines illustrated aren't actually straight, thanks)
I showed you one of the prints from a series that I did called 'Girls with Unusual Pets' a little while ago, in this post here and while the series grows ever longer and the pets ever more unusual two of the pictures have found a home until the end of December at the RWA's 160th Open Exhibition in Bristol, so if you are in the area and fancy seeing them in real life that's the place to go.
I've been working on a lovely commission recently, an image of a town in England. Here's a tiny corner of it - I wonder if it's possible to tell where it is from this? Probably not! I wouldn't have been able to before I started on this little project...
Fingers crossed that those that commissioned can tell!!
I am a little bit nocturnal - although confusingly I also like to have a lot of sleep - and printing until late in the evening is often what I do.
In the daytime I am very easily distracted, by anything or nothing much, but in the evening there is less of that somehow...and then I can print until I am nearly asleep.
This week I have made a lot of cards (maybe 'lot' should be in capitals, because I mean a LOT) and I'll be dropping some off to Bristol Museum and Art Gallery to top up their shop and then posting the rest out to other galleries - happily not a single Christmas card is included...
By the way - have you spotted that I'm not using a press? This lovely boxwood tool makes all my prints. I think by now it could probably do them on it's own as we have made hundreds together, but I do still like to be a little bit involved.
I have really enjoyed reading everyones entries too, toys weird and wonderful and wild places that people love to visit or dream about, a couple of which have now been added to my very long list of places I really must get round to visiting...although Keith's gas pipeline will probably remain an undiscovered wonder - for my family at least.
I wanted to have a small ceremony marking the choosing of the winner and had noted Tracey's very successful use of a small, fluffy puppy for that task recently, however in the end I once again opted for the use of the Mystery Hand...
The winner is Elli Moody, who has choosen the picture of a Goat Reaching For a Tasty Leaf - hurrah!!!
The Mystery Hand also picked out a second place, which wasn't technically in the rules, but the Mystery Hand was very insistent, especially when it discovered that the second number chosen really likes Puzzlewood in the amazing Forest of Dean, a firm favourite wild place for the Mystery Hand, so The Pea Pod will be receiving a little packet of hand printed cards as a Mystery Hand Sponsored second placed giveaway winner.
Get in touch and let me know where to send your goodies winners!
Just a reminder that my giveaway ends on Sunday, so if you've nearly got round to entering you had better hurry up. You could win a print from my new range of lino prints, but first you have to tell me about a childhood toy and your favourite wild place (oh and follow me too, but you guessed that already didn't you...).
This tree is one of my favourite trees, up in the Welsh hills - it can get pretty wild up there - we're lucky that we can visit it often...wild bees live in the top of the trunk and it has grown up in the ruins of an old farm cottage. Maybe it was once a young tree in someone's garden - wouldn't been amazing to know what it has seen!
We had such a bad start to growing this year.
In the spring I had decided to grow lots of different types of squash, because I love eating them and I also love hoarding them at the end of the summer.
After tending the baby plants in the house until the end of May I finally released them into the wild, only for the slugs (often the size of small snakes) to devour half the plants as well as all the cucumbers and green courgettes - they left the yellow ones!
Most of the squashes that survived have turned out to be 'Festival', obviously a slug proof variety, so although I have a teeny tiny squash harvest this year, it's very colourful and my hoarding instincts are fulfilled.
Now we just need more logs and a big bag of wool and we are sorted for winter. Simple pleasures.
I've just had a happy time printing a lot of new lino prints and so I thought I'd have a giveaway for followers of this exciting print blog to celebrate!
How can you resist? Tell all your friends...
But you will have to earn a print if you want one followers - sorry.
I want to know three things first...
1. Which of the four prints above would you like to have if you are the lucky winner?
2. What was/is your favourite childhood toy and why? (Question stolen from small childs homework)
3. What/where is your favourite wild place?
Have you noticed that 50% of the prints you can choose from feature goats? I am still pushing them as the next big thing...
Have a look in my Etsy and Folksy shops too as there are lots of other new prints there that have NO goats in them at all.
(Can I let you in on a secret too? I can't do everything!
Lou from Little Green Shed has sorted out lots of my photos and images for me and they look SOOOO much better, thanks Lou - the bad ones are still all my own work...)
I haven't done any printing all summer (apart for one commission that had to be done for a birthday, but that doesn't count!) although I have been drawing a lot and also cutting out lino blocks every now and then.
Now I am printing and printing and printing and having a great time.
It's really funny how a lot of drawing turns into ideas and images and they are often unrelated to where I've been and what I've been doing there, but do remind me of the summer. Now I'm looking at pictures of birds roosting and thinking, 'Oh yes, that was from an idea on the beach in Cornwall, where it was lovely and sunny', but no birds roosting anywhere near and it was the wrong time of day anyway...
I've also been giving a bit of thought to which of my new prints I should giveaway in the next couple of weeks, but actually, I don't see why I should do all the work and I'm going to let the winner decide - after all, I still have to come up with a really tricky question or a terrifying dare that needs to be undertaken to win and luckily doing a lot of printing gives me a lot of time to think one up...
Over the last few weeks I have been cutting out several new lino blocks and now printing day is getting closer....yippee.
The prints will appear in my Folksy and Etsy shops this time (if they all look like the pictures in my head when they are printed) along with a few new photos of my existing tea towels and canvas bags which Lou has been taking for me.
And then I thought it might be time for a little giveaway because they are such fun, the only problem being that I haven't done the printing yet and I haven't thought of a tricky question that needs answering before you can enter....but I've got a few days to come up with one.
Busy squeezing the last few bits of summer out of the year at the moment and now that there has been some real sun (did you notice it yesterday?) the flowers have really got going - nothing fancy this year as there hasn't been much chance to potter and plant but a couple of sunflowers made it and all the self-seeders are going for it now...
Finally a few bunches of sweet peas have been picked and the Borage has seeded everywhere (really everywhere - it is officially a weed) and is now covered with bees.
I'm teaching a couple of workshops in Lino Printing this Autumn and the first one is coming up soon - summer holidays are over everyone, start signing up for evening classes, art workshops and Christmas craft fairs right away...
This workshop is for beginners, so if you've ever fancied giving lino printing a go book a place and we'll have some fun (and tea and biscuits too, of course).
I spend some of each week communing with nature, at the allotment or out and about locally in parks and woods or chatting with our quail girls in the back garden, so for a bit of contrast I spent some of this years summer holiday in the middle of an international shipping lane.
Sunny everyday of the holiday and some really huge tankers. Bliss.
Back to real life again now though, with lots of yummy veg coming in from the allotment at last and a big pile of lino waiting to be carved.
I've been really enjoying the outside world again recently and so all the new lino blocks I've carved lately are heavily influenced by this...no change there you may say and that would probably be true, but I think this year all my prints are showing neatly ordered gardens and flowers, delightfully organised potting sheds and immaculate rows of veggies to balance with the wild, weedy abundance of our allotment..
Last year I posted lots of photos of my allotment on the blog (or at least bowls of things picked from it...) but this year only people interested in slug farming and mildew would find them noteworthy.
There are lots of things trying to grow and with a blast of sunshine they WILL all make it before the end of the summer, but for now I've only been taking photos of other peoples gardens, people with staff, hothouses, special micro-climates, bog-gardens and special ways of dealing with slugs.
I am always leaving little snippets of lino around, off cuts and little corners that I don't need as part of a block and these days there are willing helpers who are ever eager to turn the snippets into art themselves. Sitting quietly at the table, with a lot of concentration, I find it really suprising how much time and patience they will put into lino carving when it isn't an 'instant' picture, you can't really tell how it will look until later and we can't always print until another day
Far too young to use tools surely, they merrily gouge away with only an occasional yelp of pain and end up with editions of prints of their own, ready to pass on to friends and family. There is often a lot of black ink to remove from clothes/door handles/sinks/hands but the rolling and inking is definitely to be done by the children and I am quickly put in my place if I try to 'help'!
I can imagine that we will be doing a lot more of this this summer if the weather continues keeping us all indoors.
There is something very satisfying about making the same thing over and over again.
Lots of little butterfly labels have been fluttering around my work table (and they are little, as they are only 4cm long...) and although I'm sure I've got enough now and haven't thought up a use for this many little labels I can tell I'm going to keep printing until both packets of blank labels are empty.
I spent this morning printing cards and after reaching 100 I decided that really being outside would be better than being inside.
Sitting outside I am very busy, absorbing all the bright colours and the huge amount of green after all the rain, basking in the warmth from the sun, listening to the buzzing, beetleing and chirping that is going on, watching a tiny spider trying to build a web around my camera cable (is it cruel to let it carry on?) and chomping through a plateful of things from the fridge...this is going to take all afternoon!
Thanks to Folksy too, for putting my A-Z animals teatowel on todays newsletter! It has been lurking on their 'Gift Ideas under £25' for a week or too now as well, hurrah.
I've been printing a lot of circles onto very thin sheets of veneer this week which is very satisfying. The grain of the wood looks lovely through the printing in a way that my inadequate camera will never convey!
There is also a lot of chopping and sawing going on here - after all the recent wind a lot of branches were down locally and so our wood pile has been growing nicely. These logs look beautiful too, with the white wood, dark bark and patches of lichen covering them.
So it turned out to be a wood based week for us all.
I like the idea if having an unusual pet. Something to make the neighbours talk...
A small armadillo, a pelican, a tank full of leeches??
In my sketchbook I have been drawing girls with pets for quite a while and finally got round to carving three of them in lino last month. Here is number one. This lass has a very large cat...
There is a certain amount of silliness in setting myself the task of turning line drawings into lino prints and maybe a screen print would be the way to go, but as it is has mostly been raining this year I didn't have much else to do in May.
Next post I will probably show you some logs in the sunshine as I have now turned to sorting out the swamp/jungle/chaos of my outside habitat...
Last week our garden blew down and then all the bits were washed away by the rain.
It's been an extreme garden de-clutter...
As all the alliums were lying down, very much in the slug zone, I've been enjoying having them in the house instead and they are lasting brilliantly. Look at this beauty (in front of a newly painted wall, colour 'Mouldy Dolphin' for house decorating fans...)
We spent the rest of the week playing tug-of-war in full waterproofs with some neighbours and then retreated indoors to do marbling.
We did an awful lot of marbling because it is completely addictive and very magical. If we know you and you have a birthday coming up you may recognise the wrapping paper on our soon-to-be-delivered gift....