Friday, 26 August 2011

I love.

I found this while sorting through Blogger (something I should probably do a little more often). I wrote it many months ago now - in fact on Dec. 31st - and forgot to put it up on here. So here it is now. Unchanged, partly because I like seeing what I thought a long time ago and partly because I still agree with it all. Apologies for the more personal post than usual. Business as usual soon!

I love wearing skirts.

I love reading.

I love baking.

I love having a giant mug of coffee and reading food blogs.

I love living on my own.

I love libraries.

I love quizzes. Especially the TLS Christmas quiz.

I love art.

I love crafts.

I love sparkly things.

I love making art, crafts, and sparkly things.

I love Shakespeare.

I love eBay.

I love birds. All of them but especially birds of prey and ravens.
I love men. Seriously. I have so many more male friends than female.

I love family heirlooms.

I love coffee. Been hooked since I was 16, it's my vice.

I love Wrightsville Beach.

I love learning new things.

I love history.

I love the theatre.

I love creative people.

I love black and white war movies.

I love Chik-Fil-A's Polynesian sauce.

I love Boogie Shoes. Because of Sports Night.
I love Italian cakes.

I love it when people exceed all expectations.

I love inside jokes. But only when no one is left out.

I love all my books.

I love my friends who read books.

I love my friends who write books.

I love the British Museum.

I love opera.

I love cold mornings.

I love Bojangles.

I love travelling.

I love mis-matching crockery and cutlery.

I love the rain.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Stars and Stamps

Maths, geometry, science, stars - all on varying levels of geekdom have been flowing through my brain as I have been working on my new collection.
Following the lovely response to my last set of new cards, made from my 5x7" collage art pieces, I have been working on a series of 6x4" collages which can then in turn be made into blank greeting cards as well.
I've been wanting to use constellations in a series for a little while now but have not been having any luck at figuring out what I wanted to do. I wasn't sure whether I wanted to use the myths behind some of the constellations as the base and build on that, or use the physical shape that they make. I toyed around with trying to use the mythology but it became so convoluted that very few people would have seen the significance. I am still working on sourcing recycled materials that will work to do some large scale constellation pieces which have the mythology and character of the story behind them involved, but that's not for now.
The main thing that I personally enjoy about the constellations are the shapes. I have started with one of my favourite constellations. Cassiopeia. She would have been my favourite to try and use the mythology as well (much easier than Ursa Minor!) but she has a lovely shape and I like the significance of how she appears differently depending on the time of year.
I've been playing with different ways of showing the constellations and with different materials, so we'll see how it goes from here.
And now you're all up to date on what my week is going to be about! Hope everyone is healthy and happy.


Monday, 22 August 2011

Constantinople, Pluto, Enigma, Lemon

I think this selection might have my favourite title so far. Such an odd collection. I know it sounds like this is the wrong way around but I find it much easier to write poems when one of the given words is a proper noun. It gives my imagination a handle to grab onto. I tend to build up from that, whereas with three 'ordinary' words I have to find a way of tying down everything that the words evoke when I think about them.

Poem one this time is based upon the words, "Oranges, Erratic, Constantinople" which were given to me on the Etsy forums by Naomi/Shalotte, whose Etsy shop is here. Naomi has been great on the forum so a big thank you for being so supportive as well as for some excellent words!

“Golden Horn”
Right in the heart a clock ticks on,
chiming a history of people and their 
daily habits an erratic movement of time 
that maintains changes in the city.
An ancient construct.
Oranges roll from where they are dropped
down towards the river, or another
choosing a path backwards and away from 
the tall buildings built on the foundations 
of Constantinople that remain unchanged.
Two girls skip down the streets hopping over stones
and as they travel along their faces twist,
new hair colours and an older shape to their bones
but they still smile knowing that some things will always be the same
whoever they are and whenever they breathe.

Poem #2 comes from AndiaCreations also from the Etsy forums. Andrea gave me "Patience, Pebble, Pluto" to play with and this is where it all ended up:

“Daughter of Parents”
A memory of pomegranates in a lake
shakes her as she wakes up in the darkness
without a bruise and the memories creep back to her.
She has unlimited patience and too much time,
her mother taught her too little and cannot
see her again while she mourns, weeping snow.
The field was ploughed to remove anything unworthy
down to the very last pebble.
New growth ever expanding from fallow soil
while the horses chained to Pluto’s chariot rage on
and upwards towards the coming summer.
The land and everything inside it waits.

The next poem is based around the words "enigma, clear, wisp" which were again donated from the Etsy forums this time by Rachel/flyingcheesetoastie whose shop is here.

"As Time Goes By"
Liquid reflections in a glass ripple distorting
the mirrored image within,
a couple sat on a wooden piano stool.
A clear picture of a well loved melody
hummed and then whistled or sung.
The evening ritual never a routine
for either of them as the conversation
start a new life every day together.
One wisp of hair falls down -
daydreaming its way past her chin
and tangled through two visions.
Friends pictured within an enigma,
a mystery of hand held symbols
that mean something to each one.

Today's final poem comes from the words "love, beach, lemon" by Lisa/StitchedWithLove once more from the Etsy forums. I love doing the Etsy poems but it takes ages longer because each time I get a new suggestion I spend about half an hour on each person's site looking at all their lovely items!

"June 6th"
There were fourteen grains of sand left
in her shoe, weeks afterwards.
The beach had long washed away leaving
behind grains of memories.
It had rained all weekend so that they
had huddled in the corner of a
bus shelter exchanging love tokens
while old women in pink scarves
looked on sourly at their twisted joints.
The cruel memory of a long lost life
sharp as the cut of a lemon
through bitter black tea.
Then refreshed they clamber onto
the number nineteen bus to sit tall
and enjoy the superiority of age.

That's all for now, I'm hoping to find some time during this week to sit down and write the next ones. I've got a great batch to be working on.


Friday, 19 August 2011

Round Up

I'm having a good couple of weeks. There's a lot going on, which I always love and I'm being busy and useful. This is unusual but lots of fun!
Firstly I sold my flat. I think most people know this already but it is now gone, I am no longer attached to London - which means I am really looking forward to visiting it again and trying to re-learn how to love a city that became a nightmarish reminder of estate agents and household problems!
This weekend Exlineal have organised a signing in Leicester this Saturday. Author Mark Chadbourn will be signing in the Highgate Waterstones from 12.30 until 2.30. This is a rather rare signing/sighting so definitely worth heading along to. There is even going to be cake, seriously - cake! And if Exlineal's charming company, cake and being in a bookstore isn't enough incentive, I've read the books and I can certainly recommend them. If you can't make it then I am honestly sorry you'll be missing out, but you can of course still get the books from the magical internet at least!

In other book-ish news the ever so lovely Zoë Marriott's books were storming up the Amazon charts last week. Much excitement meant that I decided to dig them out of the shelves and have a re-read. If you've not checked them out have a look. Also, she has a fab blog.  And a shout-out to Kaz Mahoney who's just had her first foreign cover through - completely fab news. I was introduced (over the internet, but it still counts) to Kaz and Zoë at the same time so it makes sense to me to talk about them together!
In Etsy news I have finally completed my mini-challenge to myself and my shop now has 100 items in it. The next step is to get as many items as possible up to 100 views. Then of course the next step will be getting 100 sales. I might be a litle way away from that still! My new range of cards seems to be popular and I've had some lovely comments about it so far.
Sticking with Etsy for a minute there have also been so many changes happening recently that I have been spending a lot of time catching up and making sure that I know what is going on and understand it fully. For those of you using Etsy occasionally there is a new way of organising searches on the site so that you will hopefully get more useful results. This is great news, in my opinion, for both sellers and buyers as well. I've certainly been seeing the benefits already. Well done, Etsy!
I have also opened my shop on Folksy. I'm not sure how to define it yet but I wanted to get a couple of my favourite pieces there to make sure my presence in the UK wasn't fading as I am doing fewer craft fairs now and focusing online which is largely US based still.
The other day I was very kindly featured in a blogpost over on Katy's site Far Flung Cards. She did a piece on me and my artwork and I am very flattered and deeply honoured, she's a wonderful person and I really appreciate having her in my crafting life.

I have a couple of exciting things possibly happening as well which I shall update about as and when they happen. I hope that everyone else is having a wonderful time,


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Folksy Life

So, I'm trying out Folksy. I've been a member for a little while now but had struggled to find the time or space to sort out what I wanted to post over there.
Once again the wonderful British crafting community came to my rescue and proved  to be the tipping point. I have only listed a few things.
Last week I decide that I would focus my efforts more online than spending so much time looking for suitable craft fairs to attend. With the weather and the economy in the bizarre states that they seem to have both settled into I think this is the way for me to go at the moment. The money that I would normally spend on a stall will go a lot further online so now all I need to do is see how well it goes.
If anyone is interested, I am over on Folksy here:


Friday, 12 August 2011

Today #6

So today went rather well. I managed to get a couple of new pieces done and I have many plans. I am going to spend the weekend working on putting the plans into action and doing the website work I should have been doing today!
I think the project I want to try next is patchwork collages. I'm going to make some tessellating stencils and play around with them. Arrows, stars etc.
Will keep you posted. Now it's tea's been a long day!


Today #5

And the reason for doing all of this - I've been trying desperately to distract myself from sitting and staring at the phone all day waiting for a very important phone call. After eighteen months my flat has been sold. And I am entirely and completely freaked out about it. I normally leave personal things off the blog but this is going to have a pretty big impact on my work and so there we go.
Now. Back to work.

I am playing with blue at the moment. To organise my collage materials I generally divide them my main colour unless they are very multicoloured. I keep them in colour coded folders so that I can usually find what I am looking for pretty quickly. Now my desk is very messy - creatively messy.
And yes, more coffee cups!I'm just finishing off some brain storms...I'm thinking about patchwork quilt patterns, constellations, math/geometric shapes and ancient greek myths.


Today #4

A slight delay as the real world fought its way back into my little studio sanctuary. And then lunch.
But back to work now with some backgrounds set up. I think it might be time to brainstorm.

In the long gap I made an A4 collage based on a photograph that I took outside the Free Library of Philadelphia a couple of years back. Starting with some text. If you can't see clearly enough these are sections of text taken from gravestones - one of my favourite materials.
And then added some vintage postage stamps onto the top.
So that eventually it looked a little bit like that.
It fits into the series that I have already started on Etsy. I'll take a picture of it in a frame when the light is better. Still no sunshine over here! Back to brainstorming.


Today #3

So I've been playing around with backgrounds. I generally use one of four types of background.

1. A photograph

Photographs can be either old ones that I look with my lovely Nikon FE (yes I still use it, and love it) but haven't made it into albums. Or they can be printed ones. The cards are usually real photos and the collages (because they are larger) and mostly printed.

2. Text from a book

Choosing the book is a long, complicated business. Probably need a whole post on that alone, so I won't go into it. Copyright, font, page size, content, cost. Many factors. I cut or tear the sections that I want and then stick them onto a plain background, which I guess is really a blank paper background. Speaking of which...

3. Blank paper
Either entirely blank or with a basic design sketched out so that I can work around it and see where I want things to end up. I also think I managed the most boring photo ever taken there but really how exciting can a blank piece of paper get? (Honestly - any ideas?)

4. Maps

This is even more complicated than the books as copyright is much harder with maps. But I do just adore atlases and so occasionally I use them, but carefully. Plus you can have great fun with them - moving things around and sticking things in certain places. The geo-politics geek in me comes out whenever I get to do that. 

Now. I have to go and stick some things down for backgrounds. Spray glue not allowed in the studio - need a door to open!


Today #2

So. I seem to have chosen a dark and overcast day to do this which means my pictures are not as good as I would like them to be. Even if I don't get a finished piece, or a set of ideas out of today I have already done something useful. When I sell pieces, either cards or art, on Etsy I like to include a picture of the materials that have gone into the piece. It shows a little of the process and helps to let people know that I work with printed materials rather than digital collage.
This is something that I have been working on for a couple of weeks now but haven't posted because I wanted some feedback first. I have mentioned several times before that I started making collages when I wanted a way of combining my poetry with my scrap-books and I thought I would have another go at it now I have been working more on collage and know a bit more what I am doing.
This is the 'finished' product. I am working in very small sizes at the moment so that I can see if I like what it looks like. I've also got some new backgrounds for the words so that I'm not printing straight onto plain white paper. I would really like this to tie into my 3RW poems so I can start using the poems I have written with my random-word contributions in my artwork.

But one step at a time! And now that step is coffee...


Today #1

Today I had a plan. I was going to research four websites that I am interested in using to display artworks and cards. I woke up pretty early after a reasonably late night and started looking at said websites. I was pretty much in awe of the other artists I found there and realised that after looking at them I wanted to spend the day doing something creative instead.
One of the Etsy labs recordings was with a non-hippie version (her words!) of a life coach called Michelle Ward who said that it was important to do the business things when you wanted and the creative side when you felt that was important as well.
So today I decided to clear all the bills, receipts, taxes, research books and other rubbish from my desk and fill it with creative things to try and play again and maybe find a direction for my new collection.

I have a series of larger art pieces that have no coherence and I want to know if any of these can be starting points for larger collections or whether I should maybe do a things-I-made-without-thinking collection and see what I end up with in a year. A whole bunch of pieces of art that I make in between the organised collections.
I announced on Twitter that I was going to be playing with art today and said I might include pictures. At that point I thought it might be fun to blog as I went along.

One of the great things about selling online is that people can either see your work and like it and decide to buy it (or not!) or they can dig around deeper and find out more about you as an artist. It just doesn't work like that at craft fairs or art shops. It's a very different way of buying and selling.
So this is a nice thing to have if anyone wants to see how I start ideas for collections. I have a whole bunch of thoughts and scrabble around. Honestly I have no idea what I will end up with at the end of the day. This could very easily be a waste of time with nothing to show for it at the end of the day.

More soon!


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Cards from Collages

I have started selling a new range of cards over on Etsy based on my own small art collages. This is part of me trying to make sure I am keeping my Etsy shop full and updated. It's part of a much larger (and also quite long-winded and very businessy) business plan. So here are the new chaps. Say hello!