Monthly Archives: October 2012

Almost November? No way!!

Anyone else totally shocked that it seems to be almost November already? How did that happen?! I suppose I have been super busy, but then I feel like I am always super busy. So what have I been up to?

Well…… I have been undertaking investigations into getting some fabric printed with my designs – firstly so that I can make lampshades with them, but then also to make a whole range of soft furnishing type stuff – and thinking table runners, napkins, cushions, doorstops – what do you think – you like, or no? It has been much harder than I anticipated to be honest – story of the year in many ways! I have narrowed it down to two options – firstly to get someone local to have a stab at it for me – problem is, I am not sure if the fabric is quite right, or alternatively use Spoonflower – an American custom fabric printing company, or a new UK based company – Be Fab Be Creative. The problem with these second options is that I will need to get my head round some kind of digital image programe thing on the computer – photoshop, gimp, that type of thing – I really haven’t a scooby how these things work and it is making my brain hurt just thinking about it! Hmmm…..either that or perhaps pay someone else to sort the images out – ah, now there’s a thought!

I have also recently been approached about a collaborative project with another company – I really need to get back to them today to say YES I would be interested – hard to find the time and head space sometimes though, but as the children are away for a few days with their Dad I should make the most of the peace and quiet.

But back to real life and stuff that is actually happening rather than things whirling round inside my head – I was at The Fold Monthly Market again yesterday. I can;t tell you how happy I am I have found this place! I have never been to a market that is so friendly and helpful – the other stall holders are a fantastically cheery lot, an amazing range of good quality craft work and locally produced foods and drinks (including yummy beer and cider!). So I filled my tum with the most exquisite pastry products, drank soothing sweet tea, and I got these super snuggly gloves – am very pleased with them! (I was a good girl, I managed to stay away from the beer and cider sampling this week!)

And the organisers are a lovely lot – couldn’t be more helpful. I have signed up to do the next ones in November and December – so come and say hello if you get the chance – 10am until 2pm on the 4th Sunday of every month – follow this link for more info …. The Fold Monthly Market And if you are a local designer maker of food producer, it might be worth getting in touch to see if you can grab yourself a pitch – I don’t think there are many spare, but it’s worth a shot!

OK, I think that’s about it for today – sorry, it has been a bit of a rambling one! Am off to find someone interesting for you for my post on Thursday.

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Thursday Showcase No.15 Sue Bulmer

Hi there, how are you? Good week? Mine has been pretty shocking – shockingly bad. But what better way to cheer up than take a peek into the world of an interesting lady I found on Twitter – the lovely Sue Bulmer. If you haven;t come across her work before then you are in for a treat, especially if you need cheering up – her work is definitely cheery!
1. Whats yer name and where d’ya come from?!
My name is Sue Bulmer and I come from the North east of England. I ended up in Nottingham many moons ago to studying Pharmacy and ended up meeting my man and have been here ever since doing my happily ever after bit!
2. How long have you been doing what you do, and how did you get into it?
I always loved art and being creative and spent lots of time painting when I was young. However I couldn’t pursue Art further than GCSE due to having to study the sciences for my Pharmacy degree. I came back to my creative roots a few times through my 20s, dabbling in a bit of sketching and painting, but it wasn’t until my mid-30s that I decided I wanted to explore my creative side and make a go of it again, and I enrolled on a part time Foundation Course in Art and Design. This led me to where I am now, running a creative business, meeting loads of creative folk and generally having a great time doing it!
3. What is the hardest part of your work?
That’s a good question. I wouldn’t say any of it is hard-hard, like I mean ‘really hard’…  I really enjoy running my creative business. My other job as a Community Pharmacist, gives me the security of a regular income, so I’m not totally reliant on my creative business to feed and clothe us and pay the mortgage so that takes a major part of the stress out of having to make a livable income at the moment. I’m building things up slowly in the hope that one day I can work more on being creative and less on my other job. If I had to choose something I’d say the hardest part of my work is learning to work through creative ‘dry-spells’. I used to get so frustrated when my creativity deserted me, but now I know that I have to accept this as part of the whole process and I get a lot less stressed about it. As a result it happens less! I also think being ‘jack-of-all-trades’ when running your own business is quite hard. You have to be able to turn your hand to accounts, PR, marketing, networking, there’s loads to do, but if you’re organised it makes it a lot easier. I’m the Queen of Lists which does help!
4. And what is the most rewarding?
I think for me the most rewarding part of running my business is the feeling of accomplishment I get at the end of every year when I look back over my ‘wish list’ for that year and look at what I have achieved and how far I have come. I always make a point between Christmas and New Year to make a plan for the following year of things I would like to do and it’s a wonderful feeling to achieve the goals I have set for myself.
5. What do you class yourself as – artist, designer/maker, crafter, creative?
I used to really struggle with ‘labels’, even back at college when we had to choose a speciality, it frustrated me to have to label myself and my work, and to have to be defined by what kind of work I did, as I liked to do a bit of everything. Maybe what was because at the time I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and what was my ‘thing’ and now I’ve become more confident in my style and the way I work I’d maybe describe myself as creative, artist, designer-maker, crafter in that order.
6. Who from the creative world do you admire?
I admire people who inspire others. From top entrepreneurs, such as Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, to creative bloggers, such as Grace Bonney from Design Sponge, Holly Becker from Decor8, and other creatives, such as Debbie Bryan, my Design Factory Mentor, and Heather Moore of Skinny Laminx. I admire people who get off the backsides and do something amazing!
7. Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from my home and garden, my relationships, my family and also from the natural world. My work is very sentimental and I think this reflects the kind of person I am.
8. Do you listen to music/watch TV whilst you are working, and if so, what?
Never TV, I can’t seem to concentrate on two visual things at the same time! Music, always, anything from BBC6Music, Radio 2, Radio 4, to the shuffle on my ipod. I also like listening to inspiring podcasts too. It just depends what kind of mood I’m in. At the moment British Sea Power is playing.
9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
In five years time I would love to be working more than two days a week on my creative business. I would love to be stocked in other countries and I would love to have my own range of kitchen ware and textiles.
10. What sacrifices have you made for your art?!
hmm, can’t think of any major sacrifices I’ve had to make so far…. Obviously there is the time sacrifice factor to consider, there are only so many hours in the day and I know I have spent more time on my business over the past year, which has impacted a little bit on the amount of time I spend with family. I do like to try to keep weekends and holidays earmarked as FAMILY time, when I put the computer and sketchbook away and spend quality time with my fella and my dog, time with nearest and dearest is the most important thing to me. If it ever came to choosing between family and work, family wins every time!

And that’s about it. You can find out lots more about Sue in various locations across the net – check out these links…

twitter @sooziebee71

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And we have a winner!

Thank you all so much for your thoughts on the Christmas Cards – I am so pleased you all like different ones! Jury still out on whether to glittermarise or not though – I guess half and half is the way forward for now.

Anyway, you will be reading this and thinking – am I the lucky winner? Well, here goes – I have a pile of screwed up slips of paper in front of me on the sofa and am going to pick one right now…….ok, let me unfold it…….and the winner is…. Harmony & Rosie! Congratulations!!

Please send me a message with your address, and I will get your cards off to you this week.

And if you entered the comp and didn’t win, never mind – I am sure there will be other chances to win stuff in the future – if it is any consolation, I never win anything either!

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Thursday Showcase No.14 Moobaacluck

Morning everyone – hope your week is going well. Today we are meeting Gabriella – I met the lovely lady I am about to introduce you to over on Twitter, and am so glad I did – I find her work bright and cheery without being saccharine sweet – just the right balance for me. So, read on to find out more….

 Cream Rabbit Decorations -2 sizes

All pictures provided with permission from Gabriella Buckingham – please do not reproduce

1. Whats yer name and where d’ya come from?!
My name is Gabriella Buckingham which is much better than my maiden name let me tell you!

2. How long have you been doing what you do, and how did you get into it?

I’ve been self employed since 1998 when I left my job as a greeting card product manager  to go back to freelance illustration. It wasn’t until both my children were toddlers that I set up Moobaacluck – my personalised decorations and stationery business in 2008.

3. What is the hardest part of your work?

The physical amount of time fulfilling orders takes up at busy times, it can feel relentless in November and December – it usually is! Even when it is not like that I find it all too easy to work every day and into the evening with no weekends off simply because I work from home. I am a bit like a carp – I seem to expand my work to fill the time available! Everything I make is painted and packed by me so it is extremely time consuming.

4. And what is the most rewarding?

The most rewarding thing has to be when someone sees my work among others and chooses to order from me and then let’s me know how pleased they are with what I send them.

5. What do you class yourself as – artist, designer/maker, crafter, creative?

Anyone who’s ever read my blogs ( I’ve recently moved to inkpaintpaper.com) will know I struggle with this one. I’d say primarily a painter who became a designer maker in the last few years.  Although having said that I don’t cut the wood for my creations  myself. They are hand cut by someone to my specifications. Painter, illustrator, designer is about right.

6. Who from the creative world do you admire?

Where to start.. there are painters whose work I love : Mary Newcomb; Elaine Pamphilon; Jo Self; creative business owners I admire too : Emma Bridgewater- very much a business woman; Donna Wilson – extremely creative personally yet internationally successful; Jan Constantine – cleverly expanding her brand with licensing deals; Lucie Loveheart a fellow Norfolk based illusrator with a beautiful distinctive magical style; Twitter friends Jane Lindsey from Snapdragon and  Becky Peabody from Dots and Spots both of whom are incredibly consistent and strategic growing their businesses. I could go on…

7. Where does your inspiration come from?

Initially I suppose it came from my small children , I started Moobaacluck by making presents for their friends. Now it comes from thinking about childhood – the things children love; as well as thinking about what a customer wants to buy my work for. Not everything I make is for children for example my ‘Just Married’ hearts. There is a cute or whimsical slant to some of my work of course but much is also about the hand painted text which can say whatever a customer wants it to. ‘For Children and the young at heart’ is one of my bylines (recently a customer said just that on Feefo about my work) – along with handmade happiness which is what I am aiming to send to people. Like most creative types I love looking at blogs and pinterest but I can’t honestly say that I’ve seen something and thought – right I must create something like that! It’s much more subtle. I might be influenced by the feel of an illustrative composition – a touching tableau of children with their toys might spark off an idea for a new shape to cut for example. Or a gorgeous colourful photograph might inspire a colour way for something. I’m a member of ACID ( Anti- copying – in – Design) so I hope I am never ‘influenced’ by someone else’s work. I find just getting out for the day into Norwich or looking at art books in the great library there uplifts and inspires me.

8. Do you listen to music/watch TV whilst you are working, and if so, what?

I’m very unexciting. In my summerhouse studio I listen to radio 4 most of the time; very very occasionally Steve Wright on R2 and sometimes 6 Music in the house where we have a digital radio. Recently though I’ve been watching/listening to Monica Lee’s video interviews on SmartCreativeWomen.com which I really enjoy, and I can just about get the signal in my summerhouse!

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I would really like to crack this one. Ideally exhibiting paintings,selling my art for cards and licensing my painting and illustration both as Moobaacluck brand and a second brand – whether that be ‘Gabriella Buckingham’ or ‘Inkpaintpaper’. I’ve always been resistant to making Moobaacluck into a wholesale brand of purely wooden items and struggled as to why this was. At last it is much clearer to me. I enjoy making physical items to commission that people can decorate their home with and I imagine I will still be doing so – just less of it in 5 years.

10. What sacrifices have you made for your art?!

 If I had stayed in full time employment I could have been earning a good salary now. I gave that up with only £750 to my name , left work and set up as an illustrator. A month or so later I won my first Ladybird book to illustrate.
Spending time with family and friends is really the only sacrifice I’ve made. I’ve always been a work first kind of person, people don’t have to nag me to get on. The reverse is true. It’s hard on people that love me or would if only they actually got to know me!

Butterfly star on cream

All pictures provided with permission from Gabriella Buckingham – please do not reproduce

You need to find out more! Why not like her facebook page? Follow her on Twitter? Check out her awesome collection of pins on Pinterest?

And you will ned to visit the following websites to really appreciate the full variety of work this talented lady produces…..

Moobaacluck

Gabriella Buckingham

Ink Paint Paper

So loads of stuff for you to have a look at – enjoy!

Have a fab weekend and see you next week – oh, and don’t forget, for a chance to win a set of Christmas Cards, check out my blog post from Monday.

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Christmas Cards

I am so pleased to finally be able to write this post about Christmas Cards as it means  have done it – designed, printed, packed, ready to ship!

I started work on these cards back in July – yes, ages ago! Whilst you were enjoying the summer sunshine (well, those of you who went abroad!) I was getting my Christmas groove on….or not as it happens – I found it really hard work thinking about Christmas in the middle of the summer. But I got there in the end. I came up with way more designs than I had planned, and as my two favourite retailers both liked different designs, the range has actually got 9 cards in instead of my usual 6.

Now, the other exciting thing to tell you is that because I am just such a lovely and amazing person, I thought I would run a little competition – you can win yourselves a set of cards (so 9 cards, one of each design, full rrp £22.50)! All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me which is your favourite card and if you like glitter or no glitter, and I will put all the names in a hat at the end of the week and let you know who the lucky winner is! What do you think? Sound like a good idea?

Well, you will of course need to see the cards – here they are….

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So, all you need to do to enter is leave me a comment with your favourite card and if you like glitter or not, and check in again this time next week to find out if you have won!

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Thursday Showcase No. 13 Leaff Design Ltd.

Hi there, and welcome to the 13th Thursday showcase! Unlucky for some, but I have always loved the number thirteen.Today is a funny one as it is a company based less than a mile away from my front door! But I did actually find them on the internet, not in person – but who knows, maybe I will actually get to meet the real world version one day! Also, before you start reading, please accept my apologies for the terrible formating/layout of this post – for some reason it has all gone nuts and is refusing to do what I want it to (definitely not operator error, I assure you…ahem….). Anyway, enough of the waffling and on with the show(case)!

1. Whats yer name and where d’ya come from?!

My name is Kate, and I’m originally from hilly south Wales, having moved to Worcester around 5 years ago. I am the co-owner of Leaff Design, along with my amazing husband, Jay.

2. How long have you been doing what you do, and how did you get into it?
I have been practising Graphic Design since school, when I chose it as one of my options for my final years. I then went onto college and eventually University, where I gained my degree. Since then, I have worked in the field through a small number of jobs, a spot of freelancing, and eventually Leaff was launched! Leaff is just over 2 years old.
3. What is the hardest part of your work?
This is actually quite easy to answer. When a client has a great appreciation of quality and design, their projects have heaps of potential, but their budget cannot support the full potential of what the project could reach. We always bend over backwards to accommodate client’s budgets as much as we can, but sometimes it is painful to see how big things could get, if only there was the budget to make that a reality.
4. And what is the most rewarding?
That is easily the client’s reaction to a finished project. There is nothing that compares to that. It is particularly satisfying to get the very best out of a budget, and exceeding expectations of what can be achieved within that budget.

5. What do you class yourself as – artist, designer/maker, crafter, creative?

A designer, since that is my job title, though both myself and Jay are very creative people in so many other ways too – it doesn’t stop at design.
6. Who from the creative world do you admire?
So many people! First and foremost I would say the array of people and businesses that we meet on a daily basis, but to be more specific, there are a few really great creatives that I draw so much inspiration from.
I find American designer Joy (Oh Joy!) very inspirational, as a female designer, and as a new mum now successfully juggling her business. Then there are people like the Australian artist Rilla Alexander, for her amazing craft, and creative Katie Sokoler (Color me Katie) for her huge amounts of creative energy.

7. Where does your inspiration come from?

Everywhere! I’m a very visual person, and so it is the simple things really. The weather and seasons have a massive effect on me, as does all forms of nature. I love my books, paper and texture, music, and fantasy films such as those by Tim Burton. These things inspire me massively, even if they are completely unrelated to a project.
8. Do you listen to music/watch TV whilst you are working, and if so, what?
I listen to music, yes. When Jay isn’t in the studio with me I tend to listen to 6 music for company, but when he is with me or if I just get fed up with the music on 6 then we listen to our playlists on iTunes. These include groups such as Minus The Bear, Thrice, Arcade Fire, Agnes Obel, Bloc Party, City and Colour, Fleet Foxes and Menomena to name but a few.
9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
In our new studio in our dream location – where Leaff is thriving of course! We have huge dreams for our next studio.
10. What sacrifices have you made for your art?!
That is a tough one. All of our savings have gone into Leaff, and our lives have been somewhat restrained since Leaff begun because of that. We’ve had to be very frugal with our money, though I find it hard not to see the positives in this too. Controlling and managing your money in itself is a huge lesson, and learning how to make it go further and further for your needs is an even bigger lesson. I wouldn’t say it has changed how we feel about our lives, even though it has been hard at times, so I’m not sure it feels such a sacrifice. On the contrary, we appreciate every single thing that we have, and how lucky we are to be working for ourselves and together, so in that sense it is a blessing.

And so now you will be keen to find out more….. well for starters, check out the blog – well worth a read for a great insight on how they work with clients, but also more about the team and the company plus local news, other artists, visits and photography. You should also check out the following….

follow them on Twitter

like them on Facebook

check out their awesome website

and of course Shop!

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Thursday Showcase No.12 Lottie of London

On this crisp (OK, cold) autumn morning let me throw a little colour your way with and introduction to Lottie of London and her amazing handcrafted jewellery. I met Lottie on Twitter and just love the colours and detail in pieces such as this….

Lottie Of London Pendant

What do you think? Lovely, isn’t it?! Have a read and find out more…

1. Whats yer name and where d’ya come from?!
My name is Clare Lewis and I am a jewellery designer from south London.  I craft handmade bespoke jewellery using my favourite medium polymer clay.

2. How long have you been doing what you do, and how did you get into it?
I have always been crafty and had a love for beads which is how I got into polymer clay.  Originally I wanted to learn the art of glass lampworking but living a flat in London it just wasn’t to be.  I then discovered some polymer clay posts on the UK Beaders board http://ukbeaders.forumup.org/ and couldn’t believe that such gorgeous work could be created from what I initially regarded as children’s clay such as Fimo.  Polymer clay in UK is still considered as something for the kids to make little models out of over here and is not always readily available, but in the USA it’s quite huge with some fantastic artists.

3. What is the hardest part of your work?
The sanding takes it toll on my poor fingers and nails, but the time and effort put in to finish your pieces does make it worthwhile.

4. And what is the most rewarding?
To see a polymer cane come together after you’ve spent time building it out of clay and the finished results of my jewellery are always rewarding, even more so when I receive such lovely comments for my work

5. What do you class yourself as – artist, designer/maker, crafter, creative?
I guess I class myself as a designer/maker, as I get ideas popping in my head all the time for new designs and beads which I then try to make a reality.

6. Who from the creative world do you admire?
In the polymer clay world I really admire Donna Kato  she has produced some wonderful vibrant work with polymer clay and is one of the first books i ever brought on the subject.  Also Sandra Mccaws  caning techniques are mind blowing and look very complex.

7. Where does your inspiration come from?
I get my inspiration from many places such as nature in its bold colours but also its form and shapes.  I also use fashion as an inspiration, colour trends and prints which I like to try to turn into useable canes, they don’t always work but I have fun trying.

8. Do you listen to music/watch TV whilst you are working, and if so, what?
When I am working I love to listen to classic fm as it helps me to concentrate, I find it really hard to work with the tv on as it distracts me and I end up watching and not getting very much done.

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I really want to make a go of designing and selling my jewellery and at the moment I am focusing all my efforts on doing this, so that hopefully in five years time I will be able to make a comfortable living and continue to do what I love.

10. What sacrifices have you made for your art?!
I don’t think i have made any real sacrifices, I’m also a housewife so I haven’t had to give up a paid job so i can do what I do now.  As I focus my attention more on my work and public profile time is becoming a bit of a sacrifice but like life I guess it’s a balancing act.

Lottie of London Jewellery
So now you will want to be knowing where you can lay your paws of some of this stuff….. well check out the Lottie of London website for a start! And why not show your support by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook?

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Inspirational Trip to St Swithun’s

It is not often I set out with the intention of looking for inspiration, but last week I made an exception. I was invited by renowned architectural photographer Andy Marshall to join him on his visit to St Swithun’s Church in Worcester. St Swithun’s as it stands today was built in the 1730’s, and has not been much altered since, making it of great historical and architectural interest. Andy was visiting as part of an ongoing project with the Churches Conservation Trust. Click here to find out more.

It was an amazing opportunity to have a look around one of Worcester’s historic buildings with someone in the know at my side to answer any daft questions and teach me a little more about the things I find inspiring. We both found lots to take photos of and inspiration from.

One of the interesting things I learnt was that Pelicans will tear out their own flesh to feed their young babies if there is no other food around!!! Well, actually, this is all tied up in legend from medieval Europe where the symbol of a Pelican was used to represent the Eucharist – they don;t actually do it. Check out the Wikipedia entry for Pelicans if you want to find out more. What led to this discovery was an examination of the amazing triple-decker pulpit – check out Andy’s photo

I hope you enjoy looking at the photos below – I am afraid they are a bit rubbish, but you might find something to inspire you! For much better photos taken by Andy Marshall click here

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