Saturday, 14 November 2009
SUNDAY 29th NOVEMBER, Anyone in who can make it into Bradford on the 29th should drop into Manningham Mills for this fabola event of Artists, makers and Wychbury! All the info is right here on the facebook page for the event, created by Andy Mitchell of Custard4gravy who will also be exhibiting at the event. The Art Market is organsised by David Worsley, Luke Owens and Tim Curtis
More links for the other artists taking part will hopefully be added to the FB page over the next few days.
TOMORROW (Sunday) we will be in Haworth, West Yorkshire for a Christmas craft fair to coincide with the annual Scroggling of the Holly which, whether we like it or not, heralds the start of the festive season. Today is Scroggleve in fact!
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Monday, 26 October 2009
I never knew this about him until I researched my family tree and my Dad produced the bronze plaque for me to see. Also called 'the Widow's Penny' it is so heavy and cold that I can't imagine the grief my Great Grandmother must have felt as she held it.
Recently, a few of my Poppy Corsages have been bought by people who wanted to wear them specifically for the run up to Poppy Day and Remembrance Sunday itself on the 8th November. Although I never thought my brooches would be worn for this reason, now I know they are I will always associate them with remembrance and promise to be an ostrich no more!
I figure that since my customers would normally have bought a British Legion poppy pin that their donation will go unmade unless I make it on their behalf when they buy mine instead. That being so I have decided to make two brand new versions of the Poppy corsage, one large and one small and make a donation for each one sold from our online shops. The larger corsages are £8.50 and £1 donation will be made and from the £5 smaller pins I will donate 50p each.
You can make an independant donation by buying a poppy from a British Legion Seller or visit their website for other ways to give. http://www.poppy.org.uk/
Friday, 23 October 2009
This is one of the Fall in to Autumn pieces from the ladies' Autumn 2009 collection and lots more pieces in this range can be found in their shop including some stunning oak leaf cuff bracelets adorned with bugle beads - gorgeous!
우리 (Uri) means 'Mine' in Korean but there is no possessiveness here, a proportion of the profits from all the ranges in this shop are give to animal charities. This is a subject particularly close to our hearts at the moment as Lesley has been actively and bravely involved in Lush's campaign to have the ban on illegal foxhunting enforced in the UK. (We may well blog about this another time when we've calmed down about it!).
The treasury 'Blue' by the very talented and acclaimed UK bead artist Lynn Davy of Nemeton on Etsy, included my turquoise pansy corsage that, until I saw it in the collection I was going to put into hibernation until next Spring - maybe I won't now! The featured items on the main page of the Nemeton shop right now, also reflect the same deep turquoise blues that the treasury does. In her profile Lynn says that her inspiration comes from the coast and countryside near her home of Bournemouth in the UK and the rockpools she says she likes to stare into are certainly evident here.
So the STUNNING autumnal piece I have chosen from Nemeton is this amazing Forest Collar. The composition of all the garden collars in this collection is just perfect and they are so sumptuous I think if I owned one I would languish around in a diaphanous gown all day gazing at my lovely necklace instead of a rockpool!
Monday, 5 October 2009
Our gothic acorn earrings are featured in this lovely treasury:
Big thanksyou's to AREjewellery who has some lovely gems in her shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5997857
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Monday, 14 September 2009
Friday, 4 September 2009
Monday, 31 August 2009
Although I am nowhere near as bad as that and understand that the Tudor Rose and indeed any Heraldic roses were presented in many different ways throughout history, there is one aspect I can't seem to shake myself free of.....they come in FIVES! Five petals on each layer, five leaves in between - FIVES!
The result of this is that not only will I spend hours on Etsy and Ebay looking for flowers and findings that have five petals and reject any that don't, I will also grab anything that does have five petals regardless of what it is! I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to my friend Rachael for seizing her children's stencil from her kitchen (and as yet not returning it) just because it had a five petalled flower on it! I will even snip out the superfluous petal on six fold findings and close up the gap with pliers - I admit it I need help!
'Irrespective of the subject I will make it apply'- 'Count in Fives' The Horrors.
Saturday, 29 August 2009
It has got me thinking about the importance of creating a harmonious space in which to work. Before I started demolishing and rebuilding my house from the inside, the only important thing seemed to be space itself, I had been so long without it I just wanted to be able to move. Now I have my wonderful loft and I am settling into the space, adding my treasured possesions, things that look or feel nice, things that evoke my memories and might just come in useful.
It is now very obvious to me that I draw more inspiration from the things within my reach and the space they are in much more than I realised. Yes I look to nature and the wider world for inspiration but it does not belong to me and isn't constant. William Holman Hunt nearly froze himself to death trying to capture the full moon's glow in the desert for 'The Light of The World'. The Pre Raphaelites worship of nature's truth meant also being a slave to it, the light, the weather, the physical limitations of temperature. (Anyone who has ever tried to photograph stuff for sale online in a UK winter will be only too aware of that!).
Nature's free will is the obvious attraction for artists - to capture the moments, but for those of us who can't always pick our moments it is nice to have things stay where they were left until we need them! I have a bad memory and a cluttered life and an uncluttered space in at least one area of my home means that I can place a button on top of a piece of fabric that occurred to me would be a nice combination, and know it will still be there to remind me when I next get back to work.
The spaces presented in this flickr group and others like it take the idea to it's logical conclusion. Many makers show in their pictures that they are inspired, not just by their materials but by their storage ideas, their furniture, the colours they choose for their decor. Why use a cardboard box or plastic bag when a pretty glass bowl sets those buttons off so much better!? The philosophy seems sound, create a sense of self in all things that surround you and your work and it is impossible to create anything that isn't loved, personal, handmade. This is the business we are in after all- do you think a vintage letterpress tray is tax deductable? :)
You can see the rest of the pics I've uploaded on our flickr page.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Also the new series of The Tudors from showtime started in the UK yesterday to continue the theme yet futher!
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Sunday, 26 July 2009
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Acts of random kindness always set you up for the day but it just kept getting better. On the same stall I found a thing, a curious thing that I was fairly sure that I recognised as a homemade device for making Tenerife lace. It is basically a cardboard or wooden circle covered in cloth and with evenly spaced pins all around it's edge. I recognised it because in my long absence from doing anything really constructive I have been investigating using flowers made on vintage flower looms in my corsages. knittingand on flickr is an avid collector of these things and has a fantastic collection of photos of them and all her other sewing and knitting gadgets.
Tenerife lace, or calado canario in Spanish is needlewoven lace made by inserting the pins into wood in various patterns (sometimes using a paper template) - especially circular ones, winding threads around them to make the spokes of a wheel and then weaving various designs into the spokes with a needle. I have a bag of vintage silk threads that Lesley bought me from Birmingham's market a while ago that I can't wait to try out on it. For now though, this is the piece of work that is on the thing right now along with a finished one that came with it - all for 50p!
My brilliant day still not over, I spent a gorgeous hour picking bilberries in the sun on Ilkley Moor on the way home (which I fully intend to tranform into muffins for breakfast tomorrow!) and then got home and acquired a bag of free fabric pieces from a freecycler.
So I end my day not entirely suprised that it is Lou Reed and NOT Simon Le Bon singing 'Perfect Day' in my head tonight - may there be many more like it!
Sunday, 12 April 2009
I have no shelves as yet and everything is just bunged in the eaves, the place is also now half full of all the evacuated kitchen stuff. However, I have a desk, a chair, an Ikea futon (which I totally assembled myself!), some very obvious Ikea cushions with buttons printed all over them - I know, I know - buttons, in a sewing room!
I have also been able to dust off some of my old inherited furniture which has been living in the loft in the dark for years and am using my grandparents' old 1950s one bar fire to keep warm right now!
I have been working in there for three days and could not be happier! Hurray for the loft!
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Oh, and MASSIVE thanks to Karon for including us in another one of her beautiful treasuries!
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Sunday, 8 March 2009
Sunday, 1 March 2009
Then later on I took the kids to a farm park where a very magnificent peacock was strutting around the place. After that a craft fair in local Baildon where I found lots of peacock related goodies, then finally an Etsy conversation telling us that my new turquoise pansy bobby pin is included in this fab blue treasury by chantylace.
To tie it all in I have been wearing a peacock blue rosette hair clip and carrying my vintage bag to match all day - divine synchronicity or what? :)
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Thursday, 5 February 2009
Saturday, 17 January 2009
Thursday, 15 January 2009
The first batch of handmade backing cards I produced were made from an old poster book of Toulouse Lautrec, made of thick, rough paper aged with a lovely yellow tinge. I kept all the glossy prints from the the pages but scrunched up the paper itself, soaked it in tea, ironed it, burned it and then did it all again until I was left with a gorgeous absorbent surface just gagging to soak up some black ink! I used some long forgotten rubber stamps that had gone all dry at the corners and used the bottom bit of our logo stamp with the tree covered up for the lettering. A bog standard blacker-than-black ink stamp from the stationers and a beautiful little tin of sticky red ink I had been given with a soapstone stamp (of a pig - my year!) from Hong Kong. The whole effect was rough, random, even sloppy but somehow when our work was pinned to the cards the pieces had a warmth to them that hadn't been there before. Now Lesley and I both make our own versions with our own card and stamps and it all comes together.
Lettering is always an issue with rubber stamping. We both own several of the gorgeous little sets of peg stamps in various fonts and they are great fun to use - especially since words are never properly spaced or in-line - a look we have come to embrace! But the only real way of repeating words like 'Tudor Bobby Pins' with any speed is to get two sets of stamps and sellotape the things together in blocks! This process has always sparked a distant memory for me.
When I was a child in the 1970s, I remembered owning and loving a simple little printing set. It had tiny, blue, rubber characters that you placed into a red plastic frame with fiddly tweezers to spell out whatever you liked (the most I ever had the patience for was my name and that was about it!) and make your own rubber stamp. The ink was a gorgeous purpley blue colour that wouldn't wash off my hands for days! I mentioned it to my husband and he said he also owned one but neither of us could remember what it was called. We googled and googled but to no avail and we started to think we had dreamt it!
Until a stroke of Ebay-related luck many months later. I am after some vintage printers trays to store stuff in when I get my long awaited loft conversion (I'll be blogging like a maniac as that unfolds!) and the search term 'vintage print tray' brought up, joy of joys: 'VINTAGE JOHN BULL PRINTING OUTFIT No.18' to which my husband and I both exclaimed 'That was it!'.
This one was a beautiful version from the toy's heyday in the 1950s and internet research and a call to my mom revealed that it was THE toy to have if you were 7-11 years old in post-war Britain! It had wooden trays instead of plastic and the letters were black rubber and when I won it and it arrived I discovered with glee that most of the letters were still in one strip and it had hardly been used. The ink tins were dried up but the residual powder was unmistakably the purpley blue still around in the 1970s when I owned my set. The tweezers were made of pliable tin and the previous owners' name and address were carefully printed - in purpley blue ink - inside the lid of the immaculate box.
Since the rubber has hardened a little with age I have had to be very careful separating the letters and placing them in the block but that has proved to be half the delight of the thing. Taking and examining each tiny character and treating them with the reverence and care a 55 year old toy deserves. The same way that I tried to keep the dust jackets on my mom’s original hardback Famous Five books, or took care with her little tin toy sewing machine when I was a child.
If I owned a brand new John Bull Printing Outfit, if such a thing existed, I know I would be my usual slapdash self and all the letters would be lost in days because I didn’t take the time to put them away. Always one to leave a huge gap in a used car’s previously immaculate service history, I hope I am worthy of my new treasure and keep it as intact as the previous owner did for many years. I still had a go with it though – it is a toy after all!
Monday, 12 January 2009
So, forcing myself out of the January doldrums, I started work on some snowdrop hair clips. I found these beautiful pictures on flickr and loved how the petals curved. http://www.flickr.com/photos/57309108@N00/398003162/in/photostream/.
First I had to find some white flowers so I unceremoniously destroyed some velvet roses to see what they were made of. They had a nice threefold petal in already so I just had to construct the centre.
I started with machine stitch like my pansies but the effect was way too heavy for what I had in mind. I also tried several versions with multiple beads in the middle but that didn't do it for me either. So less seems to be more and I've gone for a single, seed bead on a hand embroidered centre.
I'm getting a bridal vibe for these!