Friday, 17 July 2015

Open Studios & New Makings.

Over the last week or so, I have been getting back into making as much as I can, to get the momentum back up since I handed in all my PGDipE files. It's still a while away until I get the results, so I'm hesitant to de-clutter my desktop and office room in my house of all of the notes, assignments, observations etc ETC! Until it is completely finished. It is a bit weird, still being in limbo, but I have been back in my studio all the time, and printing almost everyday. The days where I am not printing, I have been designing and drawing new ideas and creations. It feels so good to be getting back into it all with full gusto! Here is what I've been up to recently: 


I whipped up some new appliqué cat cushions for my etsy shop. I had had a few emails about re-stocking them and so I put these cuties back in. Then, still on the cat-vibe, I spent a Saturday screen-printing a new hand-drawn cat pattern on to bright green, teal and cream cottons to make some new additions to my shops and in time for Open Studios at my studio space (but more about that in a bit). Here's some photographs of the process:

I wanted to keep a hand-drawn feel to the pattern, so when I exposed my screen I drew with black crayon and pencil on to paper then used the photocopier to copy the original drawing on to thinner paper, leaving the scribbly/texture in the cats coats. I really like adding as much texture as I can in my work and like experimenting with what I can expose on the exposure unit. Here is the fabric once cured (heat pressed to ensure that the print will last as long as possible!) 

I was really happy with the colour choice of the fabric - they look really fresh. I decided to make the cushions with a contrast opening on the back - I chose black medium weight cotton with white spots on - in two sizes, small and large and a black mid-weight cotton with white 'waves' on for a bit of differentiation. It reminded me of a photogram of bias binding:

Here they are! All sewn up and inside my etsy shop - which you can visit here. 

I must seem like I luuurrrve cats - 
I'm fond, but not in love! I just like to draw characters and cats do make cute characters! 


You may have heard of a great organisation that offers brill spaces for artists and makers - it's called East St. Arts. It's based in Leeds but has spaces all over the country. I've had a studio space with them since November last year. Although I've been really busy with completing the postgrad, I've found it so great to be working from a studio that isn't my spare room at home. I felt like I had outgrown my space, and was beginning to feel distracted working from home. ("ooh, I'll just re-arrange my succulents in the bathroom and deep clean the shower - THEN I'll start work" and other similar house thoughts were starting to un-focus my time at home - haha). The time had come to remove myself physically from my home and have a space where I could go to work, make a (creative) mess and keep my thoughts there. I love my little studio and am much more productive there. Maybe, I'll do a post about my studio space sometime? Anyway on the 11th - 12th July, East St. Arts (ESA) opened their doors to the public who came to look around, have a chat and buy some work. 

Here are some photographs of a little corner of my space which I hung some work up. I felt like I was showing the same work as I had done for a while now; knitted cacti, illustrated books and prints, since the commitment needed to the PGDipE has made it difficult to produce new work - and I felt a bit unconfident when the doors opened and people entered, but there were so many lovely people to meet and be inspired by, it soon passed and it was a great opportunity to show my work to new people and bond with the other studio holders. Everything pictured above is on sale in my etsy shop! So do have a peek if you fancy anything! 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Hello, again.

Hello there! It's good to be back. It's July 2015 and I have stripped my blog back and will be starting a-fresh showing my illustrations and creations from this point. I started my blog back in 2009 (!!) when I was studying for my BA (hons) in Graphic Arts and Design. Since then, I successfully completed that course, gaining a 2:1. I worked as a freelance Graphic Designer for a media company, producing artwork and animated adverts for Alton Towers, BMW and King Sturge for example (which feels like ages ago, as I type it!) In 2012, I gained an MA in Illustration from Nottingham Trent University. I now lecture on their BA (hons) Graphic Design course. I have recently just completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from the University of Huddersfield which was really challenging, mostly as it stopped me from producing as much illustration work as I had been since completing my MA. I had built up a lot of momentum, producing illustrations for Marks and Spencer, Tigerprint, Editorial Illustrations for various magazines and receiving regular commissions. However, I enjoyed the challenge of researching, writing and presenting papers at conferences, which have opened me up to new ways of seeing art education and questioning my own views of how I make work - which should only compliment and feed into my own practice. I now work at Leeds College of Art where I run a Young Creatives Portfolio Development course and teach as a visiting lecturer on the Foundation Diploma and the Extended Arts Diploma there - which are both fabulous courses. I work as a tutor at Nottingham Trent University on the brilliant BA (hons) Graphic Design course - I am constantly inspired by the work and minds of all the students who I interact with, I feel so lucky to share their creative journeys. Now I have finished my files and have settled into my life as an artist/educator, I felt that I can re-light this blog, which had sat in a dark corner of the internet, undusted for a while and get back into sharing my illustrations and creations with anyone out there that would like to see them. So 'Hello!' & here goes...