Monday, 23 October 2017

Monkey Creatures

While working on the latest MATS assignment for Lilla Rogers Studio (which I will blog about very soon) I was drawing some creatures that I (at least) don't usually know. 
From Okapis to Tapirs to these guys:

Who are Lion Tamarins - a type of monkey that look as though they have lion manes. It was just after I'd got back from Japan, so I was spending some jet lagged woozy days sitting around, playing with the kuretakes, brush pens and silky ink I had brought back with me. The cheeky monkey faces made me smile when they came alive and I knew I wanted to use them in some way. I still am going to develop them by adding colours and more hand-sewn techniques in the very near future... but I refined and made a bunch of them, then I spent some time trying to make them into a repeat pattern. My first idea was to create a shirt just for me to wear... but it wasn't really working out, I felt like they needed more play. So one evening, after work, I sat down and started to embroider one of the monkeys on to calico and appliqué his body. 

I really loved how he came out, so then I did eight more!

Then made them into these monkey shaped pillows/toys/decorations 

I still want to make a monkey themed item of clothing and play with different versions in some bright colours. But I love these so much! I love their cheeky faces and how funny these objects are. What do you think? 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Pumpkin Farm & Temp Tattoos

Yesterday we went to the local pumpkin farm to truly embrace autumn and the spooky season. We also popped on my Halloween temporary tattoos for a little photoshoot. They are available in my shop, suitable for children (and big emo kids like us!) and Halloween parties! There are bats, cats, ghosts, pumpkins, moons, spooky hands and skulls. Check them out here:

Wednesday, 11 October 2017


It's OCTOBER! My favourite month. I love it and every year I know I bang on about the leaves, the big scarfs, the dark nights, that it's acceptable to mull all drinks, hot chocolate evrrrryday, baking, knitting, crisp air and of course, HALLOWEEN. I get more excited about Halloween than Christmas. I just love the visuals. This year, Cat Ball's are back and in my shop right now! 

There's a big one and a small one. My real cat uses a small one as a toy and the big ones a decoration for Halloween/all year, a toy, a pillow... whatever. They are all unique, no two are exactly the same. Go and trick or treat yo' self! Or if you fancy getting crafty, last year I made a downloadable pattern so you can make your own! You can find that here!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Just the two of us: bear and cat.

Here is a recent one off commission I made. A lovely man got in touch after seeing my ‘Just the two of us’ greetings cards I made around Valentines Day last year, based on my Staffordshire Pottery paintings. He wanted a little one off for his fiancée, so I obliged: 

No Outcome / New Term

--> Whoa. I can’t believe I have neglected this for so long! Working at two institutions really took it’s toll and I needed a big break this summer. I was super lucky to go to Japan! Which was amazing.! I also bought a house (eeek!) so you can imagine those two activities have taken over my time over the last few months, as well as having a well deserved rest. It’s the start of a new term now though, I’m three weeks back in, which leaves you feeling whether the summer break actually did happen or not? Last week I kick started the new term at the annual Graphic Design Educators Network at the fabulous Institute for Arts in Sheffield. I spoke about No Outcome – a paper I’ve delivered at three separate conferences now. No Outcome is a fortnightly workshop I run at Nottingham Trent University, where students have the opportunity to make and play free from the pressure of assessment. I believe that assessment can kill innovation and students, who saddled with a huge fee and looming debt, are acting like consumers. I passionately do not want them to see education as a product to be purchased, with a degree classification – or any grade, at any stage, becoming a currency that they exchange for a job. I want them to learn and play and make and take risks and grow and intrinsically make and play for the sake of making and playing not for any external gain – or worry.  The paper was well received and I met some amazing other lecturers and academics who I hope to collaborate with this up and coming year. I love this back-to-school, new start vibe around this time of year. Perhaps that’s the outlook I can have with this blog… new start, back on it. 

Monday, 19 June 2017

Two for joy.

As mentioned a few posts ago, I have been working at LCA on the MAGPi pathway of FAD. Whoa, acronym central there or what?! LCA  = Leeds College of Art. MAGPi = Moving Image, Advertising, Graphic Design, Photography, Illustration. It’s been so much fun, I’ve loved being back at Leeds. Last week I blogged about our amazing FAD show, check it out. I also work at NTU (Nottingham Trent University) and trying to fit in my own work alongside being split in half at two institutions, teaching across level 3 up to level 5 (occasionally level 7!) has been (great fun, don’t get me wrong) but has left me time poor to carry on creating my own work, which I feel that I need to do to feed into my teaching practice, and for a general happy creative life. If I don’t draw or make something frequently, I just feel so … sad, so....pent up. It’s like my own Maslow hierarchy of needs - on the bottom rung; food, create, run, go to a gym class. Anyway – digressing…. today was my last day! I have also decided to halt working at the college during the summer holidays – I have been teaching classes with the Young Creatives – a portfolio development class and general art classes for students aged 7 up to 18, which has been so much fun and really inspiring.

The time has come, however, to move on, to concentrate on making more work, to stop giving so much of myself away and be a little bit selfish and make more for me. So as I depart, I wanted to leave a little memento. I’ve been enjoying working with wood recently - one of the many things I want to spend my time exploring more of - playing around making some wall hanging experiments and I thought that two (for joy) MAGPi(es) would be quite fitting. Adios LCA!