See you on the other side...

Isn't it the greatest feeling, the switch over into holiday mode!

I've done it today (although I have a little more work to do, but I'm good at pretending) and suddenly I can ignore the blustery weather and list of things I could do to 'get ready' for Christmas and instead look forward to the company and outings and feasting and playing that's about to happen.

I'm most looking forward to dragging a pack of reluctant children out for a walk when they would rather be in with their new 'stuff', one of the little pleasures of being a grown-up, and knowing that they will enjoy it really, even though they pretend not too...and walking time is such valuable chatting time, so they must come along in order to let me know what is going on with youths these days.

Last year I got new lino tools for Christmas, will I be so lucky again?

I've had a perfectly busy lino print time this autumn, so thanks to everyone who has bought a print or attended a workshop and although I have developed a slight parcel tape allergy, I hope to do it all again next year.

Due to the amount of packaging and paperwork I've done recently I am also secretly hoping to get a bit of quality lino cutting time in over Christmas, but I'm not sure whether that is socially acceptable - I'll let you know how it goes in the New Year...and it's so nearly the year of the Horse, yipee...


Print Christmas in Bristol this weekend

The last of the workshops I'm teaching this year has a couple of spaces still available if you fancy a creative break at the weekend - leave the errands and crowds behind and come along to Makers in Bristol on Saturday morning, where we will be printing Christmas...

Last week we made hundreds of cards, bunting, gift tags and printed wrapping paper and it all looked so colourful and festive and a good, messy and productive time was had by all (and we had chocolate brownies NOT mince pies).

If you fancy it book HERE.



Yippee!!  I knew Armadillos were the next big thing...the first flock are off to sunny Australia with a couple of other friends.

Just wait, 2014 will be the year of the Armadillo - cushions, tea towels, wall decals, bunting and matching slippers and you were lucky enough to see it here first....


New prints

I've had a bit of a flurry!

Lots of ideas that have been sitting in sketch books have managed to get out recently....

I'm not sure why I wait until a really busy time of year to suddenly HAVE to do new lino cuts, but maybe it is to sub consciously remind myself that it is not all about packaging and wrapping and standing in a long queue at the post office, that the plan all along was to make lino prints.

I've listed several new prints on Folksy and Etsy, so take a look...

Now I can concentrate on the important things, like where to get some gold tissue paper from and whether the queue in the Post Office will take longer than the time left before school pick up (answer is always yes, however early I set off, is there a PO queue app that anyone knows of???)


Animal prints and tea towels

I've been doing lots of printing recently, ready for that busy time of year...

I think in the summer I assumed I was on top of it all and that I would be avoiding the quiet panic of low stock and ideas that really must be done before the end of November.  But a few parcels to galleries and some online sales and suddenly the pile of lino prints doesn't look quite as big as i would like...

That was last week though!
Now I am happily back in charge, prints editioned (some wont be dry until tomorrow, but that's ok), cards in cellophane and little bows happily tied around a pile of tea towels, gift tags printed up ready for packaging up orders and the whole house back to it's happy chaotic state, a sure sign that printing has been happening...

have a look in my shops here and here if you fancy some lino printed goodies...

Today I've used up the last of my big paper stash, so a restock is needed because I've only proofed a couple of new lino prints and now I want to print the rest...I'm sure there is time to fit it in and it wont turn into another last minute rush.


don't look if I normally give you a Christmas present...

I've been printing on fabric a lot this week --- I've printed a very large number of birds on my bedroom curtains, which has been good fun and as usual taken over a large part of the house as they've needed a big space to dry/cure for several days.    This project has taken precedence over all other activities as it is very important to have birds on curtains, more so than having meals at sensible times or somewhere to eat them.

Now the birds are done I've moved on to spider lavender bags and padded christmas decorations, which with rain tipping down and a fire in the stove are proving a very addictive way of spending an evening...

I know I've got a lot of paperwork that I should do some time very soon, but I've just got a few more spiders to sew first.


lots of printing, it's Autumn and two new stockists - phew

It's time for the Autumn flurry!

I've been printing and printing and printing.  Lots of packages are going out to galleries and online customers and it's all getting very exciting, because that means it really is the end of summer and it really is time to get on with it and stop thinking 'La la la ages and ages to do everything, la la la too sunny to work...'

I will update my list of stockists properly really really soon, but two new ones this week are:

 Dotty Dog Gallery in Shrewsbury, who are having their big official Launch Day on Sun 27th Oct (but they are open already so don't wait if you can't) and they have got some great printmakers showing as well as 3D work, so very excited to have work there...

...and West Yorkshire Print Workshop in Mirfield have got a set of my prints too - hurrah - how I wish I could pop in, but alas too far to manage it this month, I will have to send other people on my behalf, so go now please!!

I've also topped up several of my regular galleries and have a couple more to go in the next couple of weeks, phew.  Then I can play in the leaves and drink hot chocolates all day.


our house on a wet Sunday...


-Fighting the quails for elderberries - they love them & it's very funny watching them eat them & it must be good for them as they start to moult, but we want them to make Elderberry Rob...
-Cutting out the last two crows on a block of lino that now has forty eight crows, finished, yipee.
-Teaching a beginners lino course, indoors, out of the rain with hot tea and coconut slices.
-Drilling holes in walls to put up all the things that needed holes drilling.
-Playing card games about geography, yawn.
-Not seeing the ISS because it is cloudy AGAIN, will we see it at all this month? We really want to.

Must be Autumn.


Printing with leaves - it's autumn you know..

I've been printing fabric with blocks made from oak leaves from our local park and it is just such fun!

First, leaf collecting is compulsive - finding the perfect specimens (not too crispy, not too mushy, similar size to all its friends...) and it is really hard to decide that you have enough and should stop collecting now.  Picking them straight from the tree is not permitted, some would say that it is cheating, this is an Autumn leaf project NOT an any old time of year thing...

Second, gluing them all to make printing blocks - that is fun too, do I need to explain?  Gluing leaves to card, theraputic, satisfying and you get to peel all the glue of your skin at the end, keeping you occupied while the leaf blocks dry out.  Maybe have a cup of tea while pulling the glue/skin layer off?

Third, rolling ink all over leaves - this is art all by itself isn't it?  The leaves were a really good colour already but I do like green and making my very own leaf green was a good thing (my picture makes these look greeny black, but they aren't in real life, they are zing green, my very own shade)

Fourth, printing on fabric - good fun, great results and very hard to stop.  How many metres of leaf fabric do I NEED?  But look, every print has subtle differences, little nuances so I must continue all day until the leaves have had enough and I have enough fabric to upholster a tree or maybe a whole woodland.

Fifth, return to woods/park/wilderness to collect more leaves....


Romans tea towel for Bristol Museum

I've just delivered a big pile of new tea towels to Bristol Museum and Art Gallery - yipee! (and then they tricked me into having my photo taken in the shop - I don't normally allow that to happen)

They are based on the 'Orpheus' Roman mosaic that was found near Bath when Brunel was busy putting the railway lines in.  The mosaic is on display at the Museum until the new year alongside a touring exhibition from the British Museum  - Roman Empire: Power and People and I've had a great time turning a three colour mosaic into a one colour lino print.

If you want to get your hands on one for a Roman loving friends birthday you will have to go to the Museum shop, but then maybe you should be taking that friend along for a look at the exhibition too!

We can't get enough of the Romans in our house this week as it is Romans dressing up day at school too so I really couldn't have been working on a better project...next up a flock of crows..better get cutting...


Great work workshoppers, here's more printing fun...

Big Print Day
Free printing activities for anyone, young or old, beginner or already printing...
at 1 Dean Street, BS3 on Sunday 29th Sept at 1pm
register here or phone Papervillage on 0117 9639452 if you want to come along - it's all free - mono printing, giant printing, leaf printing, printing with toys, messy printing, clean tidy printing, we'll print it all!

Photo taken by Makers

I also had a lovely time at Makers running a beginners lino printing course at the end of August -such a great group of workshoppers, who all got along really well and all produced great work, as prints and greetings cards.

I'll be back there on 1st of December to Print Christmas - printing cards, gift tags, wrapping paper, bunting, place cards etc using lino and rubber stamps and I'm sure we will have mince pies and mugs of tea (no alcohol whilst lino cutting, safety first, then festivities...) so sign up if you are free, it will be great fun.


little sets of handprinted bits...

I've been selling hand printed cards and labels and stationery for ages in the real world and in galleries and shops on actual streets, but not really online, so I thought I'd list a few things in sets as it really isn't worth anyone paying postage for one luggage label is it!  (Although they are pretty amazing luggage labels and I am very addicted to printing them...)

This little set has two hand printed cards that are 14 cm square, one tiny printed card (with little birds on it), two luggage labels/gift tags, one printed envelope and also a colour and size matched envelope for each card.  Wow.  That really is a set, I know.

You can find it here.  Take a look!


printing multiples

In the last week I have been cutting out a complicated lino block for a commission and in my sad world my way to relax and get away from it all is to do some printing.  I think I may need to broaden my horizons a little!

Maybe next time I could try a spa or even a walk along some stunning coastline or perhaps a little boat trip around the docks...

...but there is real satisfaction to a hoarding squirrel like me in printing a great big stack of labels, envelopes and cards with lots and lots of different images from my stack of lino blocks and seeing some old favourites again, the ones that just 'work' on the scale of luggage labels or little cards.  And even better, because these are not 'art' limited edition prints and the handprinted, rough and ready feel is just right I can print and print and print without worrying about the odd finger print or missed corner.


Lino Printing workshop in Bristol

Do you like to be spur of the moment and be creative at a seconds notice?  Great, then this is for you!

I'm teaching a beginners Lino Printing course tomorrow at Makers in Bristol - yes tomorrow!  Is that short enough notice for you?   There is a space left, so if you are in the area and ready and waiting for a creative challenge follow the link for booking details here.

It's going to be intensive. In just three hours we will have designed, carved and printed pictures and greetings cards but then you will have the rest of your weekend free to recover, whilst gazing with a satisfied air at your editioned prints.  What a great way to end the summer and kick start your creative Autumn...


Romans and holidays

Here's a little test print of a Roman image I'm doing as a commission (which handily is the same size as a greetings card, lets not waste any time here...).  Have you tried cutting fake mosaic in lino recently?  If so let me have your hints and tips please.

This is based on an Orpheus mosaic found near Bath many years ago and the rest of it is filled with great shaped animals, dancing to the wonderful music Orpheus plays, which I'm really looking forward to doing (in a pixelated way).

We've just got back from a great week away too, and I thought that this photo summed up the holiday pretty well - look at the weird mix of footwear that our little group decided on for a summer walk in the UK - we were definitely expecting and getting every type or weather that day!  Can't beat a week living in a field, washing in a bucket though...


allotment day

We're spending a couple of days at the allotment this week, catching up with the hundreds of little jobs that were ignored through the sunshine, because really, no one is supposed to work when it is sunny, are they?

This year has been amazing for flowers, berries and veg on our plot, and we are seeing so many bees at the moment (50% of growing space is covered with self seeded borage which may have something to do with the sheer numbers of bees - that borage gets everywhere) especially early in the morning on a sunny day.

It all looks pretty lovely - which is why I never take my camera...

Today I had a brain wave though, look, I've scanned in some beans to show you instead.  And I've scanned in a courgette too, which slightly messed up the focus.  So now you know what beans look llike, but are still non the wiser as to the look of our vast borage plantation.  Oh, well...


The Naked Hedgehog Project

Photos by Lou

This is your chance to join in with a fun summer project - The Naked Hedgehog Project.

We've printed lots and lots of hedgehogs, but they need your help, they don't have prickles...

...you can make prickles any way you like - sewing/painting/printing/sticking/college - the choice is yours and then you can make your little hedgehog into a toy/cushion/clothing/bunting/a bag/anything else you can think of...we've made ours into little hedgehog shaped cushions...

In the Autumn we are having a window display of hedgehogs at Papervillage in Bristol as lots of regulars to the shop are joining in (as well as a local Brownie pack) but there is also a Naked Hedgehog Project Facebook page and it would be amazing to have a collection of hedgehogs living there together.

If you fancy having a go and joining in you can get hold of your naked hedgehog here (they are £3 each) or if you are in Bristol pop in to Papervillage.  

I'm so excited to see what everyone does and can't wait to have a Naked Hedgehog Project Facebook page populated with lots and lots of happy, prickily hedgehogs!!

Would you like to join the Naked Hedgehog Project??



The hardest part of my week this week has been thinking of things to do with black currants.  We only have two bushes.  That should be just right for a family of black currant lovers.  This year they have been in bumper, berry overdrive.  Which is good.  But now the freezer is filled with frozen berries, there's a line of jars of jam in the cupboard and a bottle filled with yummy black currant cordial in the fridge.  And there are still berries on the bushes... oh, and the red and white currants too...Can I open an urban pick-your-own farm?

In other summer holiday news I have already spent a day sitting in a 'playbarn' for about 2000 tedious hours with my arms sticking to the top of a plastic table.  My plan - get it over with on day one and then force the children to potter about in nature for the entire rest of the time, or if there really has to be an alternative to nature we could make something out of paper and glue and glitter.  We have done the 'playbarn' already this summer and so do not need to return.


the squirrels are coming...

I've had a great run of commissions recently, this one was fun and I really want to visit now.  It's on the Isle of Wight so in this glorious sunshine it would be a fantastic little outing for me.  I had to include squirrels as the lucky owners of this house have red squirrels as frequent visitors to their garden - I hope you can spot them lurking in the trees...

If anyone else living in a beautiful/exotic/beach facing location would like to commission a lino print just let me know before the weather turns and I will be straight over!


Fabric printing - happy fish

Printing on fabric and then filling it with stuffing is very satisfying and also very distracting.  Other work I should be doing is struggling to compete with the thrill of stuffed animals.

I'm sure this fish is very friendly and to me he looks like a happy fish, but several people have commented on his very sharp teeth - it's not his fault and he promises not to use them on your fingers, he really is happy, you see.

I made him in one of those blurry moments of activity when you suddenly think "I'm going to print a bright green fish NOW, even though I should be helping my children with their spellings, and nothing will stop me, even a house with not one inch of clear space to work or the fact that there is nowhere to dry them...it will be done".

Because these are prints I can never stop at one, or even two and now I'm going to spend the rest of the summer sewing up the other members of the shoal (and all his hedgehog friends, we have a LOT of hoglets in our house at the moment - more on that later, because you can have one too...)

But for now I'm going to have to stop printing animals and get on with some REAL work, because the summer holidays are coming, (hooray, hooray) and I have two commissions to finish first. Maybe I'll just sew another fish first, because I have got some really nice watery fabric that will make a great back...


Angry hedgehog!

At the moment we are busy working away on an exciting print project that we want lots of people to join in with and this funny fellow is one of the first hedgehogs to emerge ready....I think he looks a bit angry, but he's very friendly really!

I really love printing on fabric, it is such a satisfying surface and gives a really great quality to the image because of the texture of the image.  I also like the smell of the ink, so maybe that is part of the reason too!  In the next couple of weeks I am planning to print the first 100 hedgehogs ready for our project and I've already enlisted a Brownie pack to help me (they love hedgehogs so were really keen to join in - yipee).

If you like hedgehogs/sewing/painting/crafting/joint projects then you'll have to pop back here at the end of the month to find out what we are up to and how to join in and also see more great hedgehog images...


recent commission

Here's the just inked lino block from a commission I completed a couple of weeks ago - you'll have to look at it in a mirror if you want to see what it looks like printed (no, don't use your computer, use a mirror, it will be much more fun)...

A little slice of Bristol, showing especially requested landmarks and features and really good fun to carve out, with all the little houses up on the hill above the docks.

I love the moment (usually) when you first roll ink onto a lino block and the image really reveals itself in such a bold way - no hiding any little bits you weren't sure about now, especially if you are using the blackest of black ink, which I usually am.


last months art trail

That was a long time ago!!

Our local art trail has faded into a distant memory, but it was a lovely sunny weekend and so many friends and neighbours and people I'd never met before came and visited my little stall and chatted and nattered and told me what they thought of my work (with their body language if not their words!).

I loved it and spent a very happy two days sampling cakes and trying not to buy art (that 'trying not' failed, as I did buy art, but hey, it was an arts trail...)

Here's a photo of part of my display, and it's not a black and white photo, it really was very monochrome with a lovely shade of greeny-grey on the wall behind me setting everything off so well.


bird art on Etsy

Yipee - Etsy are using my Animated Birds as the example of lino prints on their 'Art' browse front page this week.

Each art form is represented with a bird picture this week, because really, you can't have too many feathered friends can you?


I promise in my next post to bring you lots of much, much older news (rather than this current up-to-the-minute stuff.  Lino cutting is meant to be about going slow and things taking as long as they take or even slightly longer than that, rather than keeping up with the internet and letting people know about things as they happen).


latest lino printing news

I've been really busy - sorry blog.  (I imagine a blog to be similar to a goblin or some other creature from fairy tales, maybe something from Labyrinth, that's why I am addressing it directly.)

Art trails, new prints, lovely commission, cushion printing, new stockists -  but the very, very small lead that feeds the computer from the camera has been missing for a while and so none of these things have been able to be transmitted to blog...

...and it has also been sunny for more than two days in a row, so I'm afraid I spent zero time looking for the very, very small lead and a lot of time 'checking' things in the garden and wandering up the road on errands.

The very, very small lead has now been found, so I'm afraid that there may be some 'old' news coming up in the next few days as blog posts that I had in mind a couple of weeks ago may resurface.


sunny allotment days

Currently growing at our allotment (unless they've been eaten by slugs/deer/pigeons/rabbits since we left today):

Peas ( a lot - can you overdose on peas in a pod?  We'll hopefully find out soon)
Mange tout
Borlotti beans
French beans (my faves)
Broad beans (no black fly yet)
Runner beans (from John, every year, they are a hundred years old these beans)
Carrots (in three places, surely the rabbits aren't clever enough to find them all?)
Radishes (I always plant hundreds at once and most of them get too chewy - I've done it again this year)
Gooseberries (these are getting eaten by small humans already - yuck and leave them alone, I want big ones)

and then there are the cucurbit family, fighting their way out of our bay window and soon to be planted if the weather stays good...

...today we also saw several frogs, a steam train and five hot air balloons, so all hobbies were catered for in full.


Arts Trail weekend

This weekend is our local Arts Trail - sorry for going on about it as you probably live miles and miles away, but I'm really excited!  If you are local, I'm going to be at the Southville Centre this year and would love to see you.

I've been getting lots of new things ready for it, framing up pictures, packing up tea towels and making pocket mirrors too and I'm looking forward to finding out what people think of the prints I've made in the last couple of months - there's nothing like watching the looks on peoples faces as they look at your work to tell you if you've got it right!!


new prints and old prints...

Spotters Guide

I had donned my summer plumage and decided to spend the next three months playing outside on my allotment, but I've changed my mind now.  I think I'll stay indoors with the stove burning and draw pictures of animals instead.

I've made lots of new prints in the last few weeks, and they are all off to my real life galleries this time - not website ones - although I might keep a few here for our local Arts Trail in South Bristol, which happens this weekend.

I'm also thinking about using images from old print editions and having some cards printed from them - partly because I just can't say goodbye to them.  How do painters who only have one image part with them??  I think printmaking feeds my hoarding instincts...



blue sky

I've been printing a lot recently - ready for our local Art Trail in a couple of weeks and also for a couple of new little projects I've been working on - but now that it is blue sky time of year I've thrown it all to one side and starting pottering about outdoors instead...and it feels so good!

I'll show you what I've been printing soon, but I can't stay talking to the computer any longer...


flap, flap, flap

The birds know Spring is on it's way and the plum tree in our garden is out in blossom, so it must be true... I'm still obstinately lighting the fire each evening though and my hands froze nicely as I caught the ferry across bristol docks this morning...

I've been cutting out more flocks of birds - this time an old friend of mine, scruffy crow and his friends.    He will be flapping off to a few of my stockists in the next week along with with the usual menagerie of animals that appear in my lino prints.

I've also re-listed my British Wildlife tea towel on Folksy and Etsy after a long time without it, so if you have been pinning for a tea towel with both an otter and a fox on now is your chance!


Nature in the home

I couldn't resist joining in with Lou this week because I not only had a plant in the house that had green leaves instead of brown but also a box filled with chicks that has moved into our lounge as it is far too cold to keep them outside at the moment and what could be more naturey than a beautiful table top tableaux combining the two?  Double nature in my home.

(I have edited out all the pictures showing chick poo on my table and very lop sided plants when four chicks have attacked the leaves and would also like to state that my house is very hygienic should you wish to call in for tea and cakes and that the smell of the hyacinths almost cancels out the small of chicks)


3 new prints in Folksy shop and an offer...

 I've just listed 3 new prints in my Folksy Shop if you fancy popping across to have a look,  Spring is in the air (honestly) so I have been making prints of Hares...above is 'Dancing Hare'...
...this is called 'Line of Hares'...

...and on a completely different track, here is 'Mini Bath'.  One of my fave UK cities for spending a day wandering around, taking in the beautiful buildings, parks, the river, amazing street entertainment and general people watching, I just love it, so here it is captured in mini form.

My Folksy Shop is teetering on 100 sales at the moment, so I have decided that the next 5 customers I have on Folksy (numbers 99, 100, 101, 102, 103) will get a free gift with their purchase.  How exciting, don't you think.  I'd love it if all 5 bought a Hare print because they are my newest babies, but there are lots of others to choose from and the bigger the purchase the bigger the free gift.  What an offer - it might even cheer you up an a gloomy nearly Spring day!!  I've got lots of printed goodies that aren't in my online shops, so you'll get a lovely suprise package...